Sari’s off-kilter pairing
Often worn with a pair of micro shorts, a set of cigarette pants and at times artfully layered over a pair of athleisure leggings, the timeless sari, over the years, has emerged to be a sartorial catalyst, which alchemises with just about everything under the sun. Easily the purest form of couture dress- sari’s off-kilter pairing in a series of recently unveiled brand campaigns makes it a wardrobe wonder - which oscillates from being playfully preppy, to being a stiff upper lip sophisticated and other times - wildly imperfect. Today wearing your favourite handwoven sari with a pair of sneakers or over your beach wear at a destination wedding is the coolest way to approach its all-pervading charm.
A few seasons ago, designers Shivan and Narresh showcased a two-toned sari on a ramp swamped with slashed bikinis and monokinis and it’s hard to overlook Masaba’s pocket-etched version of the sari or Anupamaa Dayal’s sarini (worn over shorts).
Designer Gaurav Jai Gupta, who recently showcased a handwoven liquid molten gold metallic sari paired with a black and gold silk metallic striped jacket, says, “At Akaaro, we’re all about the future and stand for things which are more contemporary and modern. We like to keep it real as living in the past doesn’t excite me hence this of the moment pairing,” says the designer, who’s bored of the old sari narratives.
For him it’s more about the product and making it youthful to suit the audience. “Mix and match the sari but make it your own and do not let the garment overpower you,” he adds.
The Indian design space has always seen a divide between the sari purists and radicals. While the former have redefined the sari in its original humble and democratic form, the latter have recontextualised the classic silhouette and come up with its au courant variations. However, what’s always been a note-worthy study about the unstitched, untouched yardage is its global, size-neutral persona. While the skeleton of the sari is composed of three main identities- the inner drapes, pleats and the pallu, the push on layering techniques have often made it relevant, youthful and season-neutral.
Not long ago designer Nachiket Barve injected an unmistakable S&M vibe by transmogrifying his sheer studded sari skirt and draping it around a bodysuit like a post-coitus sheet. Moreover, designer Sanjay Garg at one of his shows teamed an array of shine-on jackets with his signature saris. Recently designer Anjali Patel Mehta presented an array of pre-draped resort saris which she paired with a printed shirt and Atelier Pranay Baidya lent his nine-yard wonder (a handwoven marsala silk metallic Maheshwari sari) an of-the-moment touch by teaming it with a sporty turtleneck. “The dexterity of this nine yard textile is its champion quality. Over the years, the sari has been styled in countless different ways, and it is this transformational quality that makes ‘sari style’ unfailingly contemporary, yet fiercely traditional. For 2021, we are looking at the sari styles of Indian maharanis. Pairing solid coloured, metallic sheened, handwoven saris with classic blouses, jumpers and jackets is on our mood board for the season,” says Pranay, who believes that every sari has a story to tell.
While some may like it paired with a badass biker jacket and others may still prefer its pairing with a classic blouse (with a midriff-baring, sweetheart neckline), nobody can deny sari’s unmistakable ‘make it your own’ vibe. Whether it’s teamed with a faux fur shrug or a rakish croc bomber, the sari ends up infusing the wearer with a new personality.
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