Fashion focus: 21 reasons why silk is not just for saris
When one thinks of silk, the first thought is ethnic. Structured, elegant, formal. But over the years, the fabric has been used for some of the most contemporary ensembles ever. Here’s how you can wear silk to suit your tastes, tradition and personal style.
1. Flaunt the two-in-one tunic as a silk kurta-turned-dress
Add a modern twist to tradition by styling this silk ikat kurta that doesn’t make you look like you forgot the pants!
Celebrity stylist Rishi Raj believes the strongest point about this outfit is the graphic weave. “The colours make this look contemporary,” he adds.
Fashion designer Jenjum Gadi adds that in ikat, a heavier body type should avoid a bigger ikat pattern. “A darker colour pattern will work more for someone on the heavier side,” Jenjum says.
Wear this to: “A corporate event or a casual date by accessorising it accordingly,” says Rishi.
Avoid: “Experimenting with innerwear,as silk kurtas like this can be ultra sheen. It needs appropriate innerwear,” he suggests.
Pair it with: “A belt to cinch your waist if you have an hourglass figure,” Rishi advises.
2. Don an all-silk boy brigade in an anti-fit mulberry silk kurta
Feel at ease in a loosely-fitted drape of mulberry silk with cotton silk pants
Fashion designer Samant Chauhan believes mixing fabrics is more fun, but advocates for an easy drape over everything. “The best part about this outfit is that it doesn’t hug the body, as silk can be quite clingy. So it’s best for someone who wants an easy yet stylish outfit,” he says.
Celebrity stylist Devanshi Tuli adds,“You can wear the kurta with denims or cigarette pants if you want to make it less festive but keep it formal,” she suggests.
Wear this to: “A mehendi or a sangeet function would be ideal,” she says.
Avoid: “Going overboard. The outfit should be standing out,” she adds.
Pair it with: “Loafers or Oxfords for shoes and some rings,” Devanshi says.
3. Bring on the desi groove in a tie-and-dye silk dress
Stand tall and textile-friendly in bandhani silk with contrast pants for a formal yet stylish appeal
Jenjum Gadi feels this ensemble brings a modern approach to our textile heritage. “The strong point about this look is despite being very Indian, it can be worn anywhere globally and will fit right in,” he says.
“Because the cuts of the outfit are simple and the colour is relatively dark, it will go on most people irrespective of their built,” he says.
Samant adds, “The dress has the perfect asymmetrical cut and the churidar contrast blocks the colour perfectly. Wear a gather dress on top of this to give it more volume,” he suggests.
Wear this to: “Evening events like a book launch or an art opening,” Jenjum says.
Avoid: “Traditional accessories. Go for contemporary accessories,” he suggests.
Pair it with: “Denims or a skirt with embroidery or motifs,” Jenjum advises.
4. Wear silk to the boardroom as the ikat kedia silk structured top
Look empowered to go to your conferences in an ikat Kedia silk top with cotton silk pants and a scarf that steals the show!
The strongest point about this look, according to Jenjum Gadi, is its versatility to be a daytime outfit as well as an evening one. Devanshi adds, “I think the relaxed silhouettes make this outfit an easy wear.”
Wear this to: “Work, or even a girls day out,” suggests Devanshi.
Avoid: “Choosing pants that don’t have pockets. Pockets add a good cut to this look,” she says.
Pair it with: “The top can be paired with a black skirt and the pants with a white shirt,” says Jenjum. “Accessorise with a pair of sunglasses,” advises Devanshi.
5. Style tradition with the twist of a jacket in a silk sari that isn’t raw
Experiment with the drape in an organza silk sari instead of sticking to the raw silk structure
Fashion designer Sonam Dubal explains the difference between a raw silk sari and an organza silk one. “Organza silk can layer beautifully if worn correctly with a silk blouse. It has a gentle flounce about it and works better for a day function, whereas raw silk is more for the evening and has a more structured drape,” he says.
Celebrity stylist Eshaa Amiin adds, “Usually, the jackets complement the outfit but in this case, the black jacket enhances the look of the saree. It plays as a colour blocking phenomenon,” she says.
Wear this to: “A casual evening event since it’s chic, bold and confident,” Eshaa suggests.
Avoid: “Accessorising it too much. The sari’s colour is strong on its own,” she says.
Pair it with: “Boots for an edgier look, or heels without the jacket. You can also wear a waist belt to accentuate your waist or big bold earrings with hand cuffs,” she says.
6. Sport the indie-dandy vibe with the fit of a raw silk layer
Pull off an urban nomad look with a mix of bandhani-dyed raw silk and cotton silk
Sonam Dubal says, “Raw silk moulds to the body. Most body types look great in waistcoats or Nehru jackets as they give a sharp fit to the body.”
Celebrity stylist Rishi Raj believes layering always enhances the overall look. However, he adds, “The voluminous silhouette and the layering makes this look more appropriate for taller men.”
Wear this to: “A festive occasion since it’s a dressy ensemble,” he says.
Avoid: “Too many colour blocks. Keep the layering tonal,” Rishi says.
Pair it with: “The layering on the top can totally go with denims,” he suggests.
7. Look festive in a contemporary matka silk party outfit (left)
Dress up or down in a woven tunic with a contemporary drape
Matka silk, a rough handloom silk fabric made from the waste mulberry silk, is used for more than just traditional outfits. Fashion designer Resham Karmchandani thinks this ensemble is crisp and contemporary, with the strongest point being the drape tunic.
“The drape tunic in the dark colour is versatile and can be dressed up or accessorised well,” she says.
Wear this to: “A festive party or a cocktail,” she suggests.
Avoid: “Wearing jewellery that takes away from your outfit,” she says.
Pair it with: “Contemporary jewellery with chunky shoes,” she says.
8. Experiment with a mix of trends: Bangalore silk special (right)
Gender-fluid alert! Layer a silk shirt with a scarf made out of a sari
Fashion designer Sanya Suri says the anti-fit Bangalore silk shirt breaks the monotony of the kurta. “The dhoti is a staple separate, but pairing it with a silk shirt has elevated the ensemble,” she says.
Wear this to: “A traditional event because of the dhoti,” she says.
Avoid: “Overdoing the accessories,” she says.
Pair it with: “Traditional juttis,” says Sanya.
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From HT Brunch, April 7, 2019
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