With Pongal round the corner, you have the perfect reason to visit The Wardrobe for a sari treat

“If you don’t open them out, you won’t know,” says Hisham, from Silkworm Boutique, Chennai, instantly winning brownie points from the ladies present. He has brought with him a treasure trove of tussars for an exhibition at The Wardrobe. As the saris unfold, ooohs and aaaahs fill the room. The colours spill over, in parrot greens, royal blues, dusky pinks, midnight blacks and pearly whites...

“Back in Chennai I have some 20 different varieties of tussars,” says Hisham. But, for the exhibition, he has carefully chosen eight to 10 types. They are saris he has sourced from across the country and even Bangladesh (gorgeous Dhakais).

So, you could pick a sari woven by a weaver in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa or West Bengal.

The subtleties

Hisham explains the subtle differences among each of the varieties. From smoothly finished silks to loosely woven ones, each one feels like a must-have. He says he works with the weavers, advising them on colours, designs and weaves.

“Sometimes, the saris come out absolute winners while there have also been times when they have turned out to be disasters,” he says, wryly. Luckily, designing saris is not a life-threatening business, he jokes. Ah, little does he know! We would kill for some of the saris there!

Hisham points out the light-weight saris that are a big hit with working women. They are brigh yet subtle enough to make an elegant statement. Some of them are woven in a mix of silk and cotton.

There are saris that are perfect for both day and evening wear. There are Banarsiones, old world and beautiful and there are salwar kameez materials too. The prices of the saris are upward of Rs. 4,000.

The borders, the pallu, the motifs on the sari, the textures and finish, Hisham is perfectly happy to explain them to you.

And that is what makes it a great experience. Everyone knows buying a sari is not about choosing, paying and leaving. It is the lingering, the glorious indecision, the savouring and the delicious sense of anticipation that makes it memorable. And Hisham, along with Anjana Srinivasan who runs the store, encourage you to do all of that.

The exhibition is on till January 12 at Wardrobe Boutique,117, West Bashyakarlu Road, R.S. Puram.

To know more, call 0422-4365005.