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HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014

Reviving forgotten traditions

Petrina D’Souza, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, August 30, 2012
First Published: 17:21 IST(30/8/2012) | Last Updated: 18:02 IST(30/8/2012)

Fashion trends follow a cyclical pattern, so the revival of an old mode is always just a season away. That is exactly what the Taj Khazana, the in-house lifestyle stores from the Taj Group of Hotels, is hoping as it showcases one of its initiatives.

The store recently showcased their new collection of traditional Benarasi saris made by the weavers of Varanasi. The main aim behind this new collection is to ensure that the weavers continue their traditional art, a legacy passed down from generation to generation.

“Taj Khazana endeavours to create collections that present the weave in a manner which is appealing to a contemporary audience, retaining the traditional form and technique,” says Sarita Hegde Roy, CEO, Taj Khazana.

The weavers project began with 25 master weavers from three villages near Varanasi. “Young weavers were leaving town for better prospects. But when they saw that their fathers were getting a steady income, they stayed back,” says Sarita. The collection is not only limited to revival, but also tries to reinvent tradition for the chic consumer. Sarita explains, “We have also included gowns made from the traditional weave to suit modern looks and added new motifs to the traditional themes, thus reinventing tradition.”

So are traditional weaves making a comeback? Sarita says, “Traditional weaves are coming back into fashion. We see so many designers today using traditional textiles and making a fashion statement out of them.” She adds, “Also if young girls wear saris and not only at their weddings or family functions, it would make a difference. A sari makes you appear far more elegant than other outfits.”

Ikat: This weave is preferred because it can be worn both in summer and winter. Last year, Taj Khazana in Hyderabad held a fashion show on the famous Pochampally weaves of Andhra Pradesh, popularly known as ikat. The collection sought to recreate the richness and feel of the ancient Han-Atlas fabric, a multi-hued hand-woven and hand-dyed ikat fabric from the early 19th century in Central Asia.

Khadi: It is a versatile fabric, cool in the summer and warm in the winter. At actors Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D’Souza’s wedding, Kangana Ranaut wore a long skirt made of block-printed khadi. Sabyasachi Mukherjee, who designed the outfit, is part of a growing number of fashion designers who are helping revive this handspun fabric. At the spring/summer 2012 Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, designer James Ferreira’s collection was made from khadi, woven in bright hues, with modern cuts.

Kanjeevaram: Kanjeevaram is one of the finest and most popular silks in Tamil Nadu. Actor Rekha and kanjeevaram saris go hand-in-hand, as you always see the actor dressed in them at all occasions. Recently, Hollywood celebrity Oprah Winfrey wore designer Tarun Tahiliani’s orange and golden kanjeevaram sari on her maiden visit to India.


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