Of late, we've been treated to a number of expos that have pampered us with some of the best silks and cottons from all over the country. How different can Akruti Vastra be? The expo has the backing of the Crafts Council of Andhra Pradesh, which ensures a line up of established designers working on ethnic weaves, NGOs that make out-of-the-box accessories, and weavers who proudly display garments and fabrics dipped in glorious natural dyes. Think Bengal and you'd think of Bengal cottons and silk saris with intricate kantha work. New Delhi-based designer Anuradha Ramam keeps the essence of kantha work and gives it a Kutch feel with some clever but minimal mirror work, contrasting the intricate black kantha work on a white sari. Contrast this with her vibrant range of raw silk dupattas and saris in vibrant colours made for the younger generation.
Bengal also makes its presence felt through shibori saris from Kolkata's famous Weavers Studio and batik prints on Chanderi saris in colours ranging from pinks to ochre to deep maroons by Studio Rare.
If paisleys are signature motifs to Kanchivarams, so are lotuses to Chanderis. Mahendra Koli from Madhya Pradesh has a range of Chanderi silks and cottons in time-tested designs on solids blacks and off-whites, as well as olive greens and magentas. Designer Anuradha Pegu from Assam stuns with her collection of woven saris from Assam and Malavika Chatterjee from New Delhi intersperses a range of embroidered chikan work saris with saris in natural dyes.
Any exhibition of silks is incomplete without a representation from Chennai.
Nirmala Raman's range of soft silk saris with prints is affordable with most saris ranging from Rs. 1500 to 5000. Chennai-based Azure caters to women who prefer affordable Indo-western separates in cottons. Shirts, tunics with cowl necks and kurtas are ideal to stock up for summer months.
The accessory department is taken care of by Mahua Sarkar Sen's range of silver jewellery and metal bangles, book marks and paper bags by the Hyderabad NGO Nachiketa Tapovan.
Don't give this exhibition a miss if you like your wardrobe to have some of the finest experiments with raw silks. The exhibition is at the Jubilee Hills International Centre, Jubilee Hills, today, from 10.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.