While most Indian fashion designers would maintain that our traditional garment, the sari, is one of the best known Indian outfits on the international fashion scene, when a UK tabloid called an anarkali suit a sari recently, the readers took no time to show their umbrage online.
On Friday, Daily Mail carried an article on Bollywood actor and ex Big Brother winner, Shilpa Shetty, making her first post pregnancy appearance. While the actor wore an off white and red anarkali suit with a duppatta, the report called the garment a sari; apparently failing to recognise the Indian outfit. ‘Shilpa Shetty’s sari shows off her baby bump’, read the headline. Soon enough, people started posting comments on the tabloid website about the faux pas.
“That’s not a sari. It’s called an Anarkali,” posted ZB from India. Another comment, posted by Zak, read, “Its Not a sari it’s a freakin anarkali dress (sic).” Indian designers feel that at a time when a global fashion giant like Hermes has come up with an exclusive sari collection and designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier have done their interpretation of the sari, such ignorance is amusing.
“While sari is a garment that fascinates the west, it’s sad that not many know about it still,” says designer Ritu Kumar.
Chavi Taneja, a design student in Delhi says, “Westerners may get confused between an anarkali and a churidaar, but a sari has been worn by many global celebs.”
However, designer Anand Bhushan says, “Even we may not be able to tell an abaya from a burqa. So, we shouldn’t feel hurt. After all, Hermes did a whole sari collection. What bigger compliment do we need?"