Drape it like Dolly Jain

One of the most common responses when asked why women don’t wear saris regularly is that they find it cumbersome to drape. Many of them will also tell you that it limits their mobility. Both statements make Dolly Jain cringe. “It’s the quickest way to get dressed and when draped correctly, it can never hinder mobility,” says the celebrity drape artist. Incidentally, Kolkata-based Jain holds the world record for draping a sari in 18.5 seconds. What’s more, she can drape one in 325 different ways, and holds a world record for that as well. With over 15 years of experience, she has an enviable client list — Nita Ambani, Isha Ambani, Sonam Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and many more.

Creating her niche

A professional sari draper is as unique a profession as the services it offers. And Jain has come a long way. “Born and raised in Bengaluru, I grew up wearing jeans and T-shirts. I detested wearing a sari, but I got married into a family where that was the only outfit allowed,” says Jain, who decided to use this to her advantage. “I began to drape my saris in different ways and was appreciated for it,” she reminisces. Soon, young girls began to approach her to teach them how to drape a sari perfectly. “I held my first workshop for a finishing school in Raipur with 86 participants. That’s when I decided to give my talent a professional platform.”

Dolly Jain

Dolly Jain  

Her family was initially apprehensive, but she credits her father for believing in her. “He told me I had six months to prove myself,” says Jain, who invested in a mannequin and began documenting every sari drape.

“Initially, I did 50 styles. I then progressed to 80 styles, then 125, 225 and now my count is 325.” These varied styles have found an online following that numbers over a lakh on Instagram and close to 67,000 on YouTube, where she shares her tips and tricks regularly. She has taken this mission offline as well, with workshops across India as well as in London, New York, Paris, Canada, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Qatar and Bangladesh.

Style it your way

Next year, the professional drapist will be launching a unique coffee-table book on 365 styles of draping a sari. “It will present a new drape for each day, creating your own new outfit with your saris, your mother’s and even your grandmother’s,” quips Jain.

Drape it like Dolly Jain

She credits designer duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla for spotting her talent. “I had draped a very heavy sari for a client, which they mentioned to Sandeep (Khosla). He was impressed, and then referred me to others,” she says.

So what makes for the perfect drape? The art of using safety pins is not the only answer. “My secret tool is also a needle and thread,” shares Jain, who neatly stitches the dupatta or pallu from the shoulder to the bust to avoid tacky gaps or any discomfort for the bride. “Today, cameras are everywhere documenting the occasion. You can’t go wrong with even a single pleat, and the pins should never show,” she explains, adding that the comfort of the client is paramount.

Ask her about her dream client, and she says, “I would love to drape Rekhaji. She is the true brand ambassador for Indian saris. I want to try a different drape on her that would go with her personality, yet be very different.”

Jain is now working on a photo shoot of five different ways to drape a Bengali sari for Durga Puja. She would also be showcasing how to do different drapes for Dandiya ensembles.

Dolly Jain’s draping charges start at ₹25,000. Details:, and @dolly.jain on Instagram

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 4:53:40 PM |

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