Time-tested and exquisite

Getting a feel of `chikankari'

Getting a feel of `chikankari'  

The days of the Nawabs and Begums are bygone. But the rich heritage of the "nawabi" city of Lucknow still lingers on.

And one tradition that has persisted long enough and sees itself blending into the contemporary world of fashion is "chikankari". Lucknow is known for this intricate and highly skilful craft that has withstood the ravages of time.

Bangaloreans recently had a chance to get a peek into this exquisite craft at the Safina Plaza, courtesy designer Pallavi Chawla. Called "Seja", her collection showcases "kurtis" in well coordinated colours, short kurtas, salwar suits, lehengas and sarees, all adored with the delicate chikankari work.

Though Pallavi has made Bangalore her home, she keeps travelling to Lucknow (where she hails from) to interact with and give design inputs to the 70 karigars she works with, most of whom are women. A marketing and merchandising degree holder from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Pallavi was always passionate about handicrafts. "I wanted to do something creative. So I decided to blend the two (marketing and designing) and come out with my line of clothing.'' Pallavi's clothes are mostly made to order and she supplies to some established retail outlets. ``Otherwise, I showcase my collection through exhibitions. Since chikankari requires a lot of work, we have to prepare much in advance. For this particular exhibition, we have been preparing for almost a year-and-a- half,'' she said about the recent event.

That is understandable, as a saree with elaborate "chikankari" takes as much as nine to 14 months to make.

Of course, what comes out of this toil is worth the effort. Bright blues and vibrant yellows, virgin whites and shimmering reds, with intricate zardosi, piping, chikankari and brocade, in varied combinations — on linen, georgette, tussar, and chiffon.

The richly ornamented bridal and trousseau collection and the array crafted specifically for the festive season are eye-catching.

Working from home at present, Pallavi plans to "set up a studio to showcase my line of garments soon''.

Those who want to indulge themselves may contact her on 98861 20217.

By Sahana Charan

Recommended for you