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Maheshwari mystique

Rehwa Society of Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, has spread out Maheshwari saris, dress materials and dupattas for sale at Contemporary Arts and Crafts today.

WARP & WEFT: Richard Shivaji Rao Holkar

THE SHEER gossamer look captivates your eye... The attractive colours draw you towards them... These are the saris and dupattas from Rehwa Society, Maheshwar (Madhya Pradesh) right now on display only today at Contemporary Arts and Crafts, Punjagutta (tel: 3402803, 3403607).

The age-old weaving tradition has been revived with the establishment of the Rehwa Society by Richard Shivaji Rao Holkar and his ex-wife Sally.

Originally set up to provide employment to women handloom weavers, this society has now about 120 society weavers and is sustaining their families.

Central India is home to cotton. Therefore, the fabric of the saris is mainly cotton which is now mixed with silk. Zari borders lend elegance to an otherwise plain or thinly-striped sari.

The percentage of cotton and silk yarn used varies. Market demands have necessitated modifications - in terms of colours and designs.

Tissue (woven with silk and zari on the warp and cotton on the weft) is also in vogue now. Maheshwari saris have a rich colour palette now. The pastel shades seen earlier coexist with bright hues.

GO FOR GOSSAMER: Delicate tissue is perfect for evening wear

Proceeds from the sale of saris, yardage and dupattas are channelised into socio-economic causes - housing, health and education besides continued research in the development of the fabric.

Walk into the Store and you find saris and dupattas hung in a row just to catch your eye.

The traditional `seren' (a wide band of zari with v-shaped on either side of the band) design border sari is juxtaposed with the `latest' tissue one.

The tissue is certainly delicate, - perfect for an evening wear or a wedding. The cotton-silk mix saris are cool, crisp and summery. A new innovation being tried out is prints on the sari and the dress materials.

The block printing is done at Bagh. Take your pick of saris from a range priced between Rs. 1300 to Rs. 3500 (for tissue).

However, there are just a few pieces on display. The salwar-kameez materials are in pure cotton, while the dupattas are in cotton-silk mix. The dupattas have an interesting blend of gold and silver zari.

These sets are slightly expensive work out to above Rs. 1000 per set. The Rehwa Society is popularising Maheshwari saris and dress materials through periodic exhibitions in major cities. There are very few outlets selling them. The Maheshwari textiles fit in perfectly with the current ethnic look.


Photos: K. Ramesh Babu

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