Designer saris, dupattas and fabrics vie for attention at Silk Fab

The colours. Oh, the colours. Reds, pinks, blues, greens, yellows, and what have you! And, all this in tussar and a range of super-soft, textured silks. There’s glimmering Banarasi too, in a riot of shades — shocking pink, canary yellow, royal blue and a lovely bottle green.

These are some of the offerings at Silk Fab, on at Padmavathi Ammal Cultural Centre, Avanashi Road. The 68 stalls feature silks from Assam, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa and West Bengal, among others. But, Bhagalpur and Banaras rule.

Tussar magic

Looks like a great decision, because tussar has been the flavour of the past many seasons. From kantha-embroidered tussars, to hand-painted ones and those with appliqué, it is one fabric you see everywhere.

Banaras saris heavy with zari, intricate jacquard saris, silk-cotton saris in delectable pastels… there’s so much to take in.

There are colourful hand-worked dupattas, each one a stunner in its right. Roses, leaves, buds… all come to live in these creations in stall number eight.

From Santiniketan comes a lovely sari in shades of white, with a bright red appliqué-painting border and polka dots across the body. This is stall number 66. In the stall right opposite that (68) is the half-half sari — a combination of fine silk and the coarser matka silk, with elaborate designs on them.

Off-white silk-cotton fabrics with bright-coloured paisleys — pink, blue, green, maroon and mustard — are stacked in stall number 16. These are priced at Rs. 200 a metre.

Many stalls stock salwar sets with a tussar top, silk-cotton bottom and a dupatta. These are priced anywhere between Rs. 1,050 and Rs. 1,300. There are silk-cotton Chanderi sets and saris too (stall number 38), with traditional block prints in red and black.

A world of dupattas

Team them up with the dupattas found in plenty in all the stalls. From gossamer ones in off-white to those in shocking blue and pink, there are lots of colours, prints and fabrics to choose from.

At stall number 54, M.K. Raj lords over a range of exclusive Mekhla saris, made of Assam’s famed Muga silk. The traditional ones are made in off-white and red, and certain new-age versions have a dash of black. Others come in off-white and blue. The designs are elaborate and the saris gorgeous. The price: Rs. 25,000. If that’s too steep, check out their fabrics that cost Rs. 1,800 a metre.

In stall 57 is Mukhtar Ahmad from Jammu and Kashmir. His stall is home to dainty silks with intricate crewel embroidery. Off-white silks bear flowers and creepers in mauve and pink, mustard and orange. They are priced at Rs. 15,000. You can find silk stoles with similar work too, costing Rs. 1800. Regular stoles are priced upwards of Rs. 250.

Many walk out with bulging shopping bags. One lady looks fondly at a delicate dupatta, willing it to be hers. She heads out only to return and sheepishly make the payment. That’s me.

The exhibition, organised by the National Handloom Development Corporation Limited, is on till December 30. It is open from 10.30 a.m. to 8 p.m.