Now who said saris are not perfect for summer? Designers and clothes destinations add fresh touches to make the desi attire a preferred choice when the mercury soars
Myth: Saris are an uncomfortable alternative for a function in the summer.
Fact: There are new age, soft, lightweight saris for summer.
The heavy weight champion emerges. She’s wilting thanks to the sweltering heat. Her feet and back ache but her face doesn’t tell. She lifts up a barbell that’s unique to her. Oh wait! I’m not describing the scene at a weightlifting tournament. Now picture as the barbell that heavy silk sari with heavier embroidery work you bought. And although you find yourself ogling at how stunning it is, you can’t seem to coax yourself into wearing it because “it’s too heavy, and its hot... and its stuffy” (sound exactly like you doesn’t it?). This summer, explore lightweight, comfy saris without compromising on any of that gorgeousness.
Feel of the fabric
Being a lover of saris and a hater of the stuffiness and weightiness that often tags along, I decided to visit a few boutiques to comprehend sari fabrics better and identify which ones really work for the Chennai summer. I run my fingers through some fabrics that feel so soft and light, almost feathery yet possess a grand facade. A few of them include Kota silk, satin silk and Benaras kora silk apart from others. According to Niranth Nalli, vice-chairman, Nalli Group, “Silk cottons are the best. There are very trendy designs that have made their entry into the market recently. They look good as well feel comfortable. For a classy look organza, chiffon or georgette with or without embellishment does the work. Also, Chanderi saris are coming to the South in a big way. They are lightweight, very different in terms of design and affordable.”
Arundhati Menon, co-founder and ex-owner, Shilpi, educates me with an obvious but lesser practiced fact, “we ought to check for the purity of the fabric. A 100 per cent pure fabric, whether cotton or silk or any other, is much cooler than polyester mixed. Apart from being hot and uncomfortable, polyester is disastrous for the skin.” While emphasising the need to ensure the purity of the fabric, she suggests a few of them which include pure silk, pure cotton, Tussar, Mangalgiri cotton, pure Gadwal and Dhaka saris. These saris come in bold and pastel hues, block and asymmetrical prints, interesting intricate work and more, all of which work well to form the perfect attire for a party or wedding, minus the discomfort.
Anju Shankar, designer of Zari, a fast growing customised sari unit in the city, delights me with the new-age sari trends that are void of all the uneasiness. “Chiffons are one of my personal favourites. It feels like a feather and is easy to drape. It’s available in beautiful summer hues like pastels and neons and shaded tones. These shades can be made available in any fabric. This, combined with attractive work like wirework, kundan work and brocade apart from a world of others, on the body of the sari and/or the border creates the perfect look for any function. The fabric is light but you’ve got some grand work on it making it an exquisite piece.” Arundathi Menon concurs, “Kota, pure cotton, Kanjeevaram cotton or any of the fabrics can be paired with a zari border or have work embellished on it to give it a grand appearance.”
Half and half sarees are the best bet this summer. “They are available in a combination of any two different fabrics, light and heavy, contrasting colours. Printed cotton mixed with Chanderi silk is a beautiful combo,” says Anju. According to Aarti Baid of Rair, “Half net half georgette/Benares is a popular combination” apart from others like Benaras, Chanderi and tissue Kota and net and brocade. These half and half sarees lessen the weight of one heavy fabric as well as give the best look of two different fabrics and designs. Another emerging trend is “a plain sari paired with a funky blouse” advices Anju as do other designers in the city. “What is in fashion today is a heavily embroidered blouse that goes well with a plain and simple chiffon or georgette sari” consents Niranth. ‘Funky’ can be defined as a bold blouse achieved using loud colours, brocade, heavy work, or just about anything that harmonises with your sari yet gives the ensemble the elaborate look.
“When you wear a good looking, comfortable sari, even onlookers feel cool, fresh and happy” opines Arundathi Menon. Whoever thought saris were uncomfortable? With sari shops and boutiques in the city offering an array of customised, lightweight, soft, yet striking saris to choose from, you’re certain to reconsider that!