melange Fashion

Kanjivaram couture

Bollywood has inspired Indian ethnic wear. Starting from the flowy anarkalis that Meena Kumari wore in Pakeezah to Kajol’s green lehenga in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, the clothes that our heroines sport on the screen were also seen on the ramp.

Lately, a southern sensibility seems to have crept into fashions. For instance, Deepika Padukone in Chennai Express and Alia Bhatt in 2States. You can’t but notice a striking similarity in their styling. The dark blue-and-vermillion Kanjivaram, the pearl-studded jhumkas, the bindi and of course the gajra were the common factors. Design houses and ethnic-wear boutiques are hopping on. “The yellow Kanjivaram that Alia sported in ‘ iski uski’ song has become a hit,” says Shraddha Kalra, owner of Darzi-Ki-Marzi boutique in Delhi. She is currently working on an exclusive line of south-inspired saris and skirts.

While keeping the traditional look and feel intact, designers are experimenting with the fabric and embellishments to make it look contemporary. Contrasting colours, gold-zari borders and silk-blend fabrics are the elements that add to the southern look. “The dual-tone silk is typically south Indian. And, we have used silk-chiffon blends, georgettes and crepe silk to it,” says Shraddha. “The demand for half-saris has gone up. The skirts come with silk tassels at the side. Blouses come with a contrasting brocade border that matches the skirt zari.”

“Even motifs are showing a distinct south Indian flavour,” says Mumbai-based designer Khyati Sahni. “Apart from the usual paisleys the swans and chakras from the south are becoming more prominent.” She is currently working on bringing back the popular temple tower border of the old Kanjiwaram saris. “Nowadays, you see the temple motifs only in the Ikats. I am trying to incorporate those in the genre of ethnic chic.”

According to Designer Sujatha of Uttara boutique on Bypass Road in Madurai, it is possible to retain the South-Indian touch even with zardosi or kundan work. “The colours need to be dark and contrasting,” she says.

The ethnic collections she has come up with for the season include motif-based embroidery on semi-Mysore silk and Aarani silk saris and appliqué-work on semi-Bhagalpuri light-weight saris in catchy colour combinations.

Another trend is the Lehanga-Paavadai crossover, with a dupatta designed to be worn as a half-sari.

A southern touch is never complete without gold zari, says Shweta Sharma, Mumbai-based fashion stylist. “The zaris are turning gold from silver.”

To complete the southern belle look, kohl-lined eyes, a round bindi and gold bangles will do the trick, suggests Shweta and adds, “Braided hair and a strand of jasmine will lend the traditional South-Indian look.

But not everyone can carry it off. Instead, blow-dried hair worn loose can give a little casual slant to the style.”


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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 3:36:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fashion/kanjivaram-couture/article6016413.ece

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