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Traditional triumphs

Models displaying Nazneen latest collections.

A REVOLUTION may have taken place in your wardrobe in the past decade but when it comes to festivals and weddings you still search for that sari or lehenga choli and invariably succeed in striking the affable attention.

Launching its fall-winter collection 2003 this Thursday, Pitambari presents an array of saris in divergent hues, as the winds of minimalism have yet to touch the 40-year old label.

Originally started by Sushila Tikamany in Kolkata with a couple of Bangladeshi refugees to support, Pitambari now has thousands of artisans and outlets In NewDelhi Hyderabad and Mumbai as well.

According to Manju Patodia, who heads the Delhi operations, Pitambari stands out because they don't replicate themselves. "Be it crepe saris with multi coloured sequence work or a brocade sari with a tissue palla we make sure that the patterns don't get repeated." This year Manju is introducing a range of semi- formal saris combining resham work with zardosi.

Models displaying Pitambari's latest collections.

Lehenga cholis are primed with heavy embroidery on tissues, brocades and nets and embellished with jewels. Manju recommends, "A Banarasi silk brocade, 12 kali lehenga in red and antique gold bejewelled with multi-coloured semi precious stones is ideal for the wedding. While for engagement or mehndi, a green brocade sari with a sequenced tissue palla and coloured resham, tara and antique work is ideal."

The collection starts from Rs.4000 onwards.

NAZNEEN IS doing something similar with social work topping fashion and tradition. Mukhtar Khan has caressed his passion to revive the dying craft of patti-ka-kaam or appliqué work to the extent that the skill, which originated from the by-lanes of Rampur and Aligarh, now, finds a following across the country. "When I started ten years back, the work was limited to the Rampur royalty only and the craftsmen were in a state of abject poverty. After doing a survey I realised that it is the limitation of using patti on organdie only that is preventing its growth. So I decided to give the customers, the choice of fabrics and designs and the idea clicked. Though in the beginning the craftsmen were not ready to put in labour on say khadi and silk, but when I promised them suitable rewards for their labour, they consented. Now they have pucca houses and two wheelers and I support them during thick and thin," says Mukhtar

Supported by a creative wife, Farha Khan and a host of designers, Mukhtar has experimented with patti ka kaam on georgette, chiffon, maheshwari and even net. "Besides salwar kameez we are making gararas, shararas, short kurtis and kurta pyjamas for male clientele. Earlier marketing was a problem, but now with clients like Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar and Rani Mukherjee, even Ernakulum knows the craft." The range costs between Rs.250 and Rs.2500.

Completing a decade this year, Nazneen is organising an exhibition of its work at its outlet at H-68 South Extension Part I. The exhibition will last till October 17.


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