Why you should add Neel Sutra and its Sari Room to your itinerary if visiting the capital this season
FROM putting planes and cars on a sari to her experiments with fabrics like muga silk (as handpainted aroma saris, no less), Deepika Govind is one person who makes tradition relevant to today’s fashion. So it is only fitting that the designer from the South is one of the two persons behind Neel Sutra, a new retail concept at The Oberoi, Gurgaon. The expansive store at the hotel features lines of colour-coded Indian and western wear for men and women, from about 10 designers who take our textile heritage seriously. So along with revivalists like Rohit Bal and Abraham & Thakore, are younger names like Aneeth Arora (of the hugely popular Pero), Urvashi Kaur, Rahul Mishra and Arjun Saluja. It is a memorable space, almost museum-like, featuring wood accents and a thread installation by two artists. And given its location, it’s not unusual to find hotel guests, including those from Gucci and Prada, walking in to take pictures.
Neel Sutra (meaning ‘blue thread’) was a year and a half in the making, and has been jointly curated by Govind and Sunil Sethi, president of the Fashion Design Council of India. Sethi, also known as the bandhgala specialist to the fashion cognoscenti, has sourced the menswear in the store, while Govind is responsible for another feature here — the Sari Room. You will find limited edition saris in Kanjeevaram, Patola, Chanderi, Ikkat, Jamdani, Uppada and Paithani weaves, all selected by Govind, who has identified master weavers across the country. Having walked the talk with her ‘Woman in Blue Checks’ at the Lakme Fashion Week back in 2012 (where the trademark checks of Ilkal in Karnataka were showcased), Govind knows how to be innovative and yet steer clear of anything “crazy and garish.” Polyester and lurex are not welcome here, and the zari used is “soft and subtle”. Her background with Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation (KSIC) ensures she knows what she is working with. And while being at the top of the game in our competitive sari industry is a challenge, the unassuming Govind seems up to the task. You will find her muga silks here and a khadi line. Plus, there are hand-textured bags that highlight India Modern. As Govind puts it, ‘‘The Indian fashion identity has never really happened and that is our vision.’’
Saris from Rs. 3,500 (mangalgiris) to Rs. 1,40,000 and fashion separates are Rs.5,500-Rs. 12,000. Details: 0124-2451234