The ravikkai that once played second fiddle to the sari is having the last laugh. Patched, printed, embellished, tasselled, cut, primped and shaped, the blouse is in the limelight now, much more than its six-yard companion ever was.

Jayanthi Ramachandra

Seshraj

Is the blouse an accent or the talking point? That will decide the design and cut, says Jayanthi. Blouses must be designed based on the body shape, not on what is the current fashion. They must also complement the sari. Lace blouses are in, but it will get lost when teamed with a Kanjeevaram sari.

Blouses in basic shades, embellished with a few stitches, hand embroidery or appliqué always work. You don’t have to fill a blouse with aari or zardosi work. The idea is to look different, yet classy.

The centrepiece is the sari. But, when the sari is plain and light, go in for an embellished blouse.

Play around with colours and motifs. Like a blouse with swatches of green, black and red for an off-white sari with a multi-colour border. Or, a blouse with a plain body and same-colour cotton jacquard sleeves. Mix and match hand and machine embroidery to look beautiful.

If a sari has huge paisleys on the pallu interspersed with triangles, use the triangles as motifs on the blouse. Sometimes, two layers of fabric give the desired effect. A green brocade fabric with a sheer kota silk fabric with red motifs looks ethereal.

The neckline and sleeve depends on the body structure. If you cut the sleeve where the arm bulges or opt for a low back when you have a flabby back, the blouse is not going to complement you.

Our blouses cost up to Rs. 5,000.

Telephone 98949-49237 or e-mail info@seshraj.co.in.

M. Pankajam

Anya, R.S. Puram

The blouses range from Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 15,000. That is because the latter incorporates kundan work. Anya has dedicated an entire room for blouse orders only. The pot neck blouse seems to be winning the popularity race with more than 500 blouses sold. Cut work and net sleeves are as popular as stone work and embroidery. In the festive season, we handle nearly 800 blouses a month.

To make it easy for the customer who cannot decide, a television screen in the blouse room shows different patterns — varied neck shapes, colour combinations, embroidery and patchwork appear on screen — and one has to just point out to the sleeve, neck or design one likes. The specifications are noted down and the blouse is tailored by in-house tailors. We stock cottons, silks, tussars, georgettes and crepe, in every conceivable colour. And, there are embellishments as well. Laces, edgings, sequins, tassels, stones…

Telephone: 96298-36666

Aparna Sunku

Studio A, Race Course

Coimbatore is getting bolder with blouses. The youngsters love low necks and deep backs. The ties at the back complete the job. These look gorgeous and also provide better support.

Chinese collars and boat necks are in. So are full and three-fourth sleeves. Retro is back, thanks to Sabyasachi.

No more matching-matching. Contrast is in. Sleeves are the most visible areas of the blouse and I love to highlight them by bordering them with two or three colours.

Brocades and velvets are most sought after for weddings and festivals. Sheers are in and are increasingly used for long sleeves. Sheer sleeves are not just pretty, they also keep your arms cool.

Studio A stocks readymade blouses too and takes orders by appointment. The price range is from Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 11,000.

Telephone 99449-94165

Sathya Karthi

Mantra, R. S. Puram

A peach blouse with just a touch of orange. Not much to it in terms of embellishment but it screams style. It will be worn with a plain linen jute sari. A lot of older women, prefer subtlety. Sometimes, understated speaks louder than all the bling. Still, heavy embroidery is in, especially with the young. Often, detailing from the blouse is incorporated into the sari.

For occasional wear, grand Benarsi blouses are great. These are usually tailored in such a way that they can be worn bra-less. They sport deep necks.

The plainer the sari, the heavier the blouse. Heavy tassels and ties on the blouse are repeated on the sari too. Usually, those going in for blouses with heavy embellishments ask for another simpler blouse to go with the same sari. Pin tucks, floral motifs, scalloping and cut work are a big hit.

The trick is to strike a balance between tradition and trendy. It is difficult to improve upon the traditional Kanjeevaram. Sometimes, nothing more than a simple velvet edging or a few tassels are required. One has to decide what the focus is — the sari or the blouse.

Telephone 0422-4200009

Trends

Instead of attached blouse pieces, people opt for blouses in contrasting colours

Use of velvet adds a regal look

Long sleeves are in as are pot necks and bucket necks

Incorporate details of the blouse into the sari

Lining is important. It offers stability and structure to the blouse

Use under arm pads to avoid sweat patches

Blouse icons

Vidya Balan Brought back traditional long sleeves into the limelight

Kareena Kapoor The sheer sleeves of the red blouse she sports in Chammak Challo are a trendsetter

Deepika Padukone The deep backs of Chennai Express and the haute blouses of Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani are a rage among youngsters

Rani Mukherjee She was all oomph and elegance in Bombay Talkies. Sleeveless blouses with deep necks are in

Sonam Kapoor She experiments with unconventional boat necks and quirky prints