Vani Polavaram celebrates the beauty of ethnic textiles with ‘Lakshmi’
After years of freelancing as textile and embroidery consultant, Chennai-based Vani Polavaram launches “Lakshmi”, a design label through which she hopes to revive the romance associated with ancient crafts.
“Tradition can never go out of style,” she says displaying a sari with intricately done Kalamkari in eye-pleasing earthy tones. “Having done several textile and embroidery assignments in the past, I thought it was right to focus on a label that retains the essence of indigenous weaves and crafts. ‘Lakshmi’ spans different traditions — from the painstakingly-woven Uppadas to the bejewelled Benarasis.”
Traversing different textile terrains — from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to Rajasthan and West Bengal, Polavaram interacts closely with weavers and artisans, providing them with design inputs and tweaking their tastes to suit today’s clientele. “When you are talking design, you have to be a hands-on person. So much can be achieved by interacting with the artisans and reassuring them about their crafts,” she adds, displaying a range of Kota, Kancheepuram and Khadi saris — all delicately touched with traditional elements.
Her subtle design sensibility comes through in the Kalamkari collection which she holds close to her heart. “Seeing how the patterns come about in this traditional art form is magical. There’s a rich reservoir of designs and colours to choose from. But I try to work out different combinations in terms of motifs and hues to come up with something new. Small design tweaks and add-ons make a big difference.”
Besides her own creations, Polavaram has also stocked up some hand-picked saris from across the country. “I want my store to be a complete showcase of tradition. It’s not possible for me to create so much because Indian textile traditions are so vast. So I collect stuff to display in this space. I want people to come, feel and appreciate them.”
“Lakshmi” was launched recently at a tastefully renovated old bungalow at 18, Seethammal Road, by actor Jyothika. “The ambience must match the creations. So we went for ‘green renovation’ and preserved most of the past elements in this space,” adds Polavaram.