Move beyond kanjeevaram silks and expect saris in fabrics like tussar and chiffon at three exhibitions across the city.
Sari aficionados in the city have much to look forward to, with three brands presenting limited-edition collections over the next few weeks. And what’s more, they all subscribe to fair trade principles and sustainable fashion. While kanjeevaram silks are always popular here, these designers promise to bedazzle us with a rich array of thinner silks that herald the end of summer. Look forward to textured tussars in classic geometric prints, regal Benares and timeless chiffons straight from artisans and weavers across the country.
Mother-daughter designing duo, Arundhati Menon and Mridulika Menon Madiraju, introduces an exquisite collection of handwoven tussar silks from weavers of Chhattisgarh and West Bengal at their store. Curated by Menon, a renowned textile aficionado, this selection of limited-edition saris is presented by Madiraju (36) at the Samasta boutique. A pioneer of handloom weaves for over 35 years, Menon is known for reviving weaves from remote parts of the country. “I’ve been working on these designs for more than six months with a young weaver in Chattisgarh. I’ve interacted with several award-winning master weavers. While I hold all of them in high reverence, I am now partial to young weavers who show special talent,” she tells us. On her latest collaboration, she says she asked the weaver “to do classic geometric designs in double jacquard weaving which lends a rich texture to saris”. Look forward to an earthy colour palette of coral, jade, brick, charcoal and red. We especially loved the sunlight-hued tussar with stripes and the stunning black drape with warli-inspired motifs on the pallu. “It is the human element involved in making hand-woven saris that make them special. Needless to say the yarn is natural—pure cotton and/or pure silk,” she says. Details: 24771110
A regal affair
Fashion curator and Singapore-based founder of label Tana Bana, Vinti Goenka Arora (42) has always expressed a keen interest in Indian textiles and crafts. “Although I’ve lived abroad for over 25 years, my love for Indian fashion always travelled with me. I finally took the plunge six months ago and launched Tana Bana—even though I’ve been a fashion curator for years,” says the Ethiraj College alumnus, who is bringing a curated, collection of Benarasi saris, dupattas and fabrics to the city for a day-long exhibition. Having sourced it from weavers in Benares (Uttar Pradesh), expect an opulent colour palette with traditional colours like fuchsia, red, yellow and orange as well as a few unusual cream and pastel hues. We loved the vibrant mithai pink and saffron saris with hand-woven gold motifs; each golden flower in the garden-inspired design is edged with purple and red, and each stalk with a hint of green. Each of these collector’s pieces take months to weave and are masterpieces in silk (traditionally called katan). “We promote only pure hand-woven fabrics. The motifs are done in a style called kadhua in which each one is individually woven,” says Arora, who believes that patronising such weavers will save the Benares saris from becoming extinct. The Tana Bana label is scheduled to go to Gurgaon and Ludhiana next.
Six yards of style
Well known in the city for their rich collection of pattu saris, sisters Vijayalakshmi (32) and Soorya Krishna (30), from boutique Aavaranaa, offer options in thin silk to their discerning clientele with their new collection, Shadows and Sheers—which is all about organzas and chiffons with unique hand-block printing. The Coimbatore-born siblings who usually work with master craftsmen from Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu) and Kalahasti (Andhra Pradesh) worked with a new set of artisans from Bengaluru and Chennai this time.“We’ve drawn inspiration from nature and its irregularities, which make the motifs unique. The colour palette is bright, with lots of orange, yellow, black and red,” says Vijayalakshmi. Also expect asymmetrical borders and ombre, besides options for blouse pieces. “This lemon yellow organza sari with large chevron self-print can be worn with a contrasting brocade green blouse or with a hand-crafted bottle green kalamkari silk blouse, like I did,” says Vijayalakshmi. We loved their hot blooms on pristine white, their rust sari with a subtle banyan tree print, and more.
Text: Shibi Kumaramangalam