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Updated: May 30, 2014 17:35 IST

New adventures of the age-old sari

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Tapsee in a Gaurang sari. Gaurang Shah has been instrumental in incorporating alternative styles using handloom saris.
Special Arrangement Tapsee in a Gaurang sari. Gaurang Shah has been instrumental in incorporating alternative styles using handloom saris.

Designers are pairing the ancient garment with pants and jackets. They also have stitched saris you can slip into

The recently-concluded Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2014 -2015 was swamped with experimental styling with the most coveted Indian garment — the sari. While Manish Malhotra and Anupama Dayal presented more conventional renditions of the drapery, other designers such as Dev R Nil, Masaba Gupta and Malini Ramani adapted more innovative looks and gave a contemporary spin to the traditional nine yards.

“A sari can be styled in numerous new ways without changing its form. Our history has witnessed over 150 types of draping methods. Some of the unique and alternate ways of fashioning it is by pairing the sari with contemporary blouses, weaves, colours, textures that offer a unique sari style statement,” says designer Gaurang Shah, who has been instrumental in incorporating alternative styles using handloom saris.

Even after reinventing itself in newer ways, the sari remains to be one of the oldest symbols of traditional Indian weaving techniques. Here are some of the new avatars of the ancient garment:

The stitched sari

This is one of the the most novel interpretations of the sari. A blessing of its sorts for the young and the restless admirers of this ensemble, this new form allows the wearer to drape it on without the complications of learning to wrap it. “The stitched sari is something that we’ve incorporated in our designs very often. Mainly because draping a sari is not the easiest thing to do. You don’t have to worry about keeping the pleats in line anymore. You can easily just wear the bottom portion as a skirt and position the pallu accordingly. It is especially hassle-free for young women who want to experiment with saris but are new to it,” says designer Anju Modi who has been prolific in introducing new methods of draping the sari.

The woven sari

While it’s an acknowledged fact that saris are a woven heritage of this country; the use of newer motifs, embroideries and tailoring techniques are changing the dynamics. Creative use of woven borders in gold from Varanasi and the innovative use of zardozi work are adding to the changing face of the sari. Says Shah, “One of the most significant change in recent years has been the combinations used in weaves and fabrics. It’s a blend of past with the present. The art of weaving saris has been completely revived. The use of pure zari, the new weaving techniques, and saris with heavy gold-embroidered borders are a few examples. This kind of experimentation has been instrumental in appealing to all age groups.”

The jacket sari

Move over customary sari blouses, the latest fad is tailored bandhgalas and bolero jackets layered over Patan Patolas. Breaking the bounds of conformity, designer Payal Pratap introduced this innovative styling technique at her previous show at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week. “I believe that saris can be the ideal statement makers if teamed appropriately. Shirts, peplum tops, bandhgalas and kimono jackets teamed with saris are very innovative. They can be elegant and fashionable depending on how one puts it all together. For example, one can team up an interesting sari with a detailed petticoat and a well-tailored blouse with an overstated collar and sleeves,” says Pratap.

The sari pants

A burgeoning trend in saris is teaming them with suspenders, pants and dhoti pants even. Take a cue from actress Sonam Kapoor who was famously seen in an Anamika Khanna dhoti style sari at the recently-concluded Cannes Film Festival. An example of an interesting amalgamation of tailoring sensibilities would be Masaba Gupta’s sari teamed with palazzo pants or designer duo Abraham & Thakore’s shorter version of the sari with cigarette pants. An easy trend to carry, this makes the traditional staple more comfortable.

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