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In vibrant hues

The exhibition at the `7W Boutique', Apparao Galleries, showcases elegant wear that is eco-friendly too, because the accent is on the use of vegetable dyes. On till July 28.

NATURE'S OLDEST dyes, it is believed, belong to India, their antiquity going back to the indigo cloth wrappings on Egyptian Pharaohs, to the wisp of a rose madder scrap discovered at the Indus Valley site at Mohenjadaro and even to the famous Biblical reference, likening the quality of steadfastness to the colours of Indian dyes!

Extracted from leaf, petal, root, bark, stem, fruit and seed, from arjun, goran, pomegranate, catechu, jackfruit, myrobalan, henna, and indigo, through the countless ages of man till today, India's dye makers and weavers have created a wonderful palette of Nature's colours for yarn dyeing and block printing on textiles.

Today, after a brief period of decline, the warm, glowing loveliness of vegetable dyes is again being celebrated as a metaphor for beauty in textiles, for every day and couture wear.And yes, the fascinating processes of dye extraction and yarn dyeing are still the same. Quite a few designers get up at the crack of dawn to collect indigo leaf, hibiscus and henna and bend over their great vats stirring its contents much the same way as the first dye-maker did.

The `7W Boutique' presents stunning ranges of vegetable-dyed couture wear from some of the country's leading designers, fashion houses and NGO's. Pranavi Kapoor of Delhi, Prabha Narayan, Bina Rao of Hyderabad, Chaubundi of Jaipur, Sheela Balaji of Soundarya, Brij Bhasin of Barsana, Bangalore's Dwaraka Ramiah from Kalahasti and Nitika Swaroop of Artistry, literally create a treasure house for vegetable dye and textile connoisseurs in soft mellow hues. And in the timeless block prints and skills of Bagru, Ajrakh, Dongrikaund, tie and dye, Kalamkari and in variegated tribal expressions.

The `7 W' collection has saris, dupattas, salwar kurta sets, yardage and tops in delicate weaves in cotton, premium quality silks, georgettes and tussars pulsating with rich tonal variations, bold ethnic printed designs, the ethereal delicacy of Mughal-inspired floral and vine themes, timeless amri in vibrant colours!

The obsession with creating beauty is seen in every garment — from the simple but lyrically conceived gold beige dupattas to the fantastic silk sari in muted shades of mehndi and gold. Vegetable-dyed khadi from Andhra Pradesh and Bagru printed silks, embellished with Swarovski metal components are also an attraction.

Needless to say, every vegetable-dyed sari and garment on display is an ode to impeccable taste in melding designer magic with ancient skills.

The exhibition at `7W Boutique', Apparao Galleries, 7 Wallace Garden, 3rd Street, Nungambakkam is on till July 28.


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