What happens when twinkling crystals meet shimmering Kancheepuram silks? In a show put together to celebrate the happy marriage of West-inspired contemporary cut crystals and traditional silk weaves of the South, Swarovski Elements displayed how a seemingly incongruous union could work!

“Weaves of South India” at Taj Coromandel was an elaborate affair in true Swarovski style. Elegant mannequins draped in deep-toned silks seem to play peek-a-boo from behind cascading crystal curtains that picked up light and gleamed to welcome guests outside the Ballroom.

Inside, style guru and emcee-choreographer for the evening Prasad Bidappa, made a passionate plea to patronise the woven silk traditions of the South. Naturally, the spotlight was turned on silk majors from the Southern states — Nalli, Pothys, Deepam and Seematti. And what exactly was the world leader in cut crystals doing with the well-known names in silk sari retail? Looked like Swarovski Elements had brought a truck-load of iridescent stones of varied sizes, shapes and colours to add more sheen to the already-gorgeous saris! Crystals outlined traditional motifs, crystals filled in abstract patterns, crystals perked up jacquard pallus and crystals made beautiful borders stand out… Whether used on silk's signature motif, the gopuram or in an inspired colour story — think orange-fuchsia combo, crystals gave silk weavers and designers a fresh avenue to experiment and express their creative skill.

With silk in focus, the theme swerved towards weddings. There were models in palanquins; some sauntered in from behind crystal curtains, while actor-showstopper Sneha even exchanged garlands with a male model!

In a meaningful interlude, master weavers were invited to the stage and honoured with sparkling crystal awards. While Deepam felicitated E. Selvan from Aarni, Seematti had nominated Raj Kumar from KV Kumar Silks and Sarees, Aarni. Nalli honoured N. Srinivasan and Pothys' nominated MGR Keshavan from Kancheepuram for the award.

Besides crystals' riveting romance with traditional silks, the evening also saw happening designers from Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad give their creations an all-new spin using Swarovski Elements (Rehane, Chaitanya Rao, Vivek Karunakaran, Manoviraj Khosla, Deepika Govind and Suhani Pittie). Rehane's cocktail numbers with beautiful trims, Rao's monotones that helped the crystals stand out, Karunakaran's easy silhouettes touched with shimmer, Khosla's jackets with interesting accents, Govind's fusion of ethnic fabrics and notice-me stones and Pittie's statement-making jewellery encrusted with crystals of different shapes and sizes…it was indeed a sparkling collaboration.

According to Sanjay Sharma, director, Swarovski Elements India, “The show was an effort to help weavers and fashion designers use crystals in new ways. There are plans to put together such shows annually to honour master weavers.”

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MetroplusJune 28, 2012