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The changing fac of sari

The nine-yard Indian wear is going through a sea change with designers doting on it and the iconic drape is looking for serious publicity. Read on to find if it gets it due.

fashion and trends Updated: Mar 06, 2010 14:31 IST
Rochelle Pinto
Rochelle Pinto
Hindustan Times
Satya Paul

With the sari label Satya Paul celebrating its 25th anniversary at the Lakme Fashion Week, the iconic nine-yard drape is looking for serious publicity. Only recently, Maithili Ahluwalia of Bungalow 8, hosted the sari project, an attempt to modernise the sari and lend it some eclectic appeal.

Sanchita Ajjampur breathed new life into old saris by turning them into delectable ballerina flats while Goa-based designer Miriam Strehlau converted worn-out saris into chic bomber jackets.

Little Shilpa’s Shilpa Chavan created Perspex neckpieces by taking old Benarasi sari borders and pressing them into Perspex. Ahluwalia explains, “We were hosting the event in collaboration with the uniform project, an attempt to wear the same little black dress for 365 days. We asked ourselves what the Indian equivalent of the little black dress was, and came up with the sari. Our younger clients who had lost touch with the saris were happy to wear the chic ballerinas with their jeans.”

While Ahluwalia looked at renovating saris, Puneet Nanda of Satya Paul is trying to make the same basic structure fresh for new clients. His pop art line of saris, most recently, sported by Bollywood celebs like Jacqueline Fernandes and Mugdha Godse, have sold like hot cakes. “People are bored with the traditional designs they find in stores, they want something new and exciting,” Nanda explains the reason for the success of the line. “We tread a fine line when creating pop art. An image of Ganesha or other gods might work as pop art in New York, but here it will be interpreted as misusing religious images.”

Nanda has also launched a line of pre-constructed saris to capture the workingwoman, who has no time to patiently drape nine yards of fabric. “Personally, I prefer the original structure because it’s hard to improve upon a garment that isn’t even stitched. But our pre-constructed saris are practical and meant for women on the go,” he states.
Trousers or a skirt replace the traditional ghagra (skirt) and the sari is pre-draped using various notches that can be adjusted to accommodate weight gain. “We’ve avoided the use of the zipper form because that leaves you with just one
size. By using strategically placed notches, the sari can be adjusted, because women tend to go through cycles of weight loss and gain.”

Pria Kataria Puri, who always includes a series of saris in her line, says, “The sari can become a life saver. Just add a new blouse of the latest style and it becomes a whole new outfit.”

Retail prices
Satya Paul’s pop art line Rs 10,000 onwards.
Their pre-constructed saris Rs 21,000 onwards.
Shilpa Chavan’s neckpieces Rs 7,000 onwards, and are available on request.