It all started with a TV airing of Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee and Sushma Swaraj adorning saris with prints of their political party’s symbols, designed by Kolkata-based designer duo Monapali. Since then, the duo has been inundated with calls to design saris for other political parties.
“These (political) symbols are all across the city roads, hoardings, television and newspapers. If you are seeing these symbols on a daily basis, it’s only natural to be inspired. Thus we thought of putting this line of saris together,” says Mona Lamba, who after gauging the popularity of these saris, has designed another set for Jayalalitha, Brinda Karat and Mayawati with symbols of AIADMK (two leaves), CPM (the hammer) and BSP (elephant symbol) respectively.
Each sari has been personally created by the designer duo. For the hand imprints of the Congress sari, Mona dipped her hands in paint and placed it on the sari. While handloom cotton is the chosen fabric, they’ve stuck to light beige as the colour. “For Soniaji, besides the hand imprints, we also made polka dots in the form of gold asharfi motifs as she likes to wear such saris.” The designers gave BJP candidate Sushma Swaraj a sari that has lotus motifs on the pallu.
Not all are game for the trend though. Designer Raghavendra Rathore says, “It’s the choreography of the whole political show or rally that is more important than designing for leaders. Politicians already have distinct personalities that people identify with and giving them a new look, irrespective of the content, is like asking for the Taj Mahal to be redesigned.”
Designer Pankaj Ahuja of Pankaj and Nidhi, however, gives it a thumbs up and wants to design a bandhgala for Rahul Gandhi, if given an opportunity. “Perhaps a not-so-stiff linen bandhgala with a low neck will look good on him.” He’d also want to design a colourful kurta for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.