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Sari gets a saucy turn

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In vogue Reha Sukheja in a half-and-half hand-painted kalamkari sari with threadwork and Kutch embroidery designed by Sashikant Naidu and Mamata Reddy
In vogue Reha Sukheja in a half-and-half hand-painted kalamkari sari with threadwork and Kutch embroidery designed by Sashikant Naidu and Mamata Reddy

The traditional Indian drape gets a new spin with tailored saris and half-and-half saris, discovers SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO

The charm of the whole six yards lies in its unstructured, drape-friendly nature. What if you just don’t know how to drape a sari and yet want to flaunt one? Time is a constraint here and your ever-dependable mom is not going to be around to help you in a crisis. The readymade sari or tailored sari comes to the rescue.

This innovation lets you ‘wear’ a sari within seconds. The sari is stitched with the skirt (taking your waist measurements into consideration); the pleats are neatly structured and the pallu too comes with stitched pleats. Wearing (not draping) a sari cannot be more simple! Designers and stores in the city are now catering to requests for tailored saris from expatriates and youngsters who haven’t yet mastered the art of draping.

The tailored sari has been doing the rounds abroad and in select pockets in cities like Chennai and Mumbai for sometime now. “Young women in the age group of 18 to 22, making their transition from half-saris to saris request such tailored saris,” says Mamata Reddy, who specialises in kalamkari saris. “Some of them want tailored saris for weddings. The tailored saris are done in two styles — one that gives the look of a traditional sari and the other is called a ghagra sari. There are no pleats here and the skirt, styled like a ghagra, is fastened to the pallu,” she adds.

Boutiques and sari stores too have begun tailoring saris to keep young customers trickling in. An upscale boutique has expatriates and NRIs requesting for tailored saris. “They select the sari and we tailor it for them at an additional cost of Rs. 1,150. Young working women prefer such saris since they don’t have time to drape a regular sari,” says Renuka, the store manager.

While youngsters are eyeing stitched variations of the Indian drape, the 25-plus age group is scouting for half-and-half saris. You read it right. The half-and-half sari is a different take on the traditional half-sari. “The pleats either have a contrasting colour or have different print from the rest of the sari. The contrasting designs and colour make you look slimmer,” says Kolkata-based designer Bhaaswati, who has been specialising in half-and-half saris. At a recently-concluded Cotton and Silk Expo saw her half-and-half saris in Bengal silks and Kutch work being picked up like hot cakes.

The half-and-halfs aren’t really new. They were in vogue in the 50s! Designer Shashikant Naidu, whose new collection includes half-and-halfs, says, “It’s a vicious cycle with fashion of the yore coming back in vogue. The concept stems from half saris worn by South Indian women and ghagras by women in the North. The half-and-half, when done in traditional silks and kalamkaris, spell taste. They make you stand apart in a crowd of bling saris in chiffons and georgettes.” The half-and-halfs get a new spin here with a transparent net sari and Benaras silk/cotton or kalamkari pleat work.

Fashion forecast has it that the half-and-halfs will rule at least for another year.

Tailored or stitched saris cater to expatriates, NRIs and young working women. Contestants of Miss IPL Bollywood were seen in tailored saris.

Saris are tailored in the traditional South Indian style or as ghagra-saris.

The half-and-half, which ruled the roost in 1950s, is back in vogue.

The contrasting colours and prints of half-and-half saris stem from the concept of ghagras and half-saris.

It's a wrap

Tailored or stitched saris cater to expatriates, NRIs and young working women. Contestants of Miss IPL Bollywood were seen in tailored saris.

Saris are tailored in the traditional South Indian style or as ghagra-saris.

The half-and-half, which ruled the roost in 1950s, is back in vogue.

The contrasting colours and prints of half-and-half saris stem from the concept of ghagras and half-saris.

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