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Young, urban and draped in sari

The traditional sari is making a stylish comeback in the wardrobes of young women in cities, with corporate honchos, politicians and actresses inspiring Gen Y.

india Updated: Jul 18, 2009 13:26 IST
traditional sari

The traditional sari is making a stylish comeback in the wardrobes of young women in cities, with corporate honchos, politicians and actresses inspiring the new generation to drape it not only as evening wear but also to office.

"Most of the young generation wears saris to parties, evening get-togethers because you stand out and it is a most sensual attire. It looks great on every woman, irrespective of their body type," ace designer Ritu Kumar, known for her ethnic Indian saris, told IANS.

Kumar feels the sari will remain special because of its elegance.

"There is a lot of mobility in the young generation, so they prefer to wear salwar-kurtas or Western dresses at their workplace, but the sari is still worn by many urban women. It will never disappear from the fashion circuit," she said.

Puneet Nanda, the owner of well-known sari brand Satya Paul, agrees. "Young working women are not accustomed to wearing saris to the workplace. But that doesn't mean saris are not selling. You would be surprised to know that in the past few years, the sale of saris has gone up by 20 percent," he said.

Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee has earned a name for himself by experimenting with the six yards. The same goes for Anamika Khanna and Bollywood's favourite style guru Manish Malhotra.

Young girls are making sure their wedding trousseau has an impressive mix of designer and ethnic saris.

"I wear saris for special occasions like Diwali or for a formal dinner party. I wore the sari for my court marriage. Saris are elegant and make me feel feminine," said Sunaina, who got married recently.

"I love Benarsi saris and I also like Sabyasachi's collection. The great thing about saris is that you can pass them on to the next generation. On my wedding, my mom didn't buy any new sari, she wore her wedding sari that I thought was special," added 26-year-old Sunaina who is a working woman.

Canada-based Indian filmmaker Deepa Mehta wore a tissue sari that was part of her mother's trousseau for the Oscar night in 2007 when her Hindi film Water was nominated in the best foreign film category.

Many are not yet comfortable using the sari as office wear.

Akankasha Sharma, 25, a media professional, says the sari has two drawbacks - firstly it is difficult to wear and secondly it's not practical, especially if one is using public transport.

"I find it very difficult to manage the sari because I'm not used to wearing one every day. Jeans and shirts or even the salwar-kurta are fine but the sari is a big no, no for me," she says. According to Sharma, these days people find it amusing if you wear a sari to office without an occasion.

But well-known and extremely successful corporate leaders like Chanda Kochar, Naina Lal Kidwai and Kalpana Morparia are often seen in saris and are an inspiration for young officegoing women.

So there are those who are keen to bring sari culture back to office.

"Saris look beautiful. My closet is full of them. Earlier, I used to feel awkward wearing a sari at office - you get that unwanted attention and then you have to answer a hundred questions. Then I thought this is not the right attitude. So I started wearing it regularly," said Deepti Pranav, a banker.

Puneet Nanda too feels that it's high time people changed their mindset. "It is just in their minds that the sari is difficult to carry at the workplace," he said.

The youngsters can also emulate screen divas like Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif who are often seen looking sensuous and graceful in georgettes, chiffons and net saris.

In fact, Priyanka's sex appeal in the hit song Desi girl was enhanced by a Manish Malhotra-designed sari.

Among well-known faces from the older generation, actresses Kirron Kher and Sharmila Tagore, singer Shubha Mugdal, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dixit wear beautiful traditional saris with aplomb.