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    Tulsi Silks set to make its Lakme Fashion Week debut, with five collections and some support from designer Vivek Karunakaran.

    For the last two decades, city-based Tulsi Silks has been the go-to brand for sari-loving Chen­naiites looking for exquisite traditional weaves ranging from kanjeevaram and tussars to Benarsis and fine raw silks. Now the brand gets a national platform for the first time, at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter Festive 2016, on August 28 in Mumbai. The credit goes to city-based designer, Vivek Karunakaran, says Santosh Parekh, the man behind the designs and the collections. “It so happened that Karunakaran dropped by our place and, after seeing our saris, he said we should be showcasing them nationally. He informed Lakme, who sent a team down. It happened just like that,” shares an equanimous Parekh, who adds that the city-based designer is also creating the blouses for their saris, at the show.

    Show time
    The Lakme team was impre-ssed that Tulsi Silks has been keeping alive handlooms and weaves, shares Parekh, telling us about their collection of around 2,000 heritage saris that are between 40-80 years old. With over 20 shows and designers showcasing their collections at LFW, he is confident of holding his own as unlike “90 per cent of the designers there, who have garments with embellishments, we are showing weaves in their purest form,” he says. Tulsi Silks will be showcasing five collections or, as Parekh puts it, five unique stories. Actress Dia Mirza will also be walking the ramp for them.

    Stories in weaves
    While The Pastel Story is a collection of kanjeevaram saris in soft pastels with silver zari border, The Musical Story is inspired by Carnatic musical instruments as motifs—from the veena to the tabla and sitar—in hues like black, silver and pink. This series also features, for the first time, kanjeevaram lehengas. “Earlier it was either a pavadai or a sari converted into a pavadai. But this is a proper lehenga, with kalis, made in a contrast three-shuttle loom like all our other saris,” says Parekh, who has been designing for Tulsi Silks for 15-16 years. The highlight is The Bright Collection, a series of silk saris that replicate the heritage saris and have revived weaves like korvai. It has also revived the ettu kol technique where the zari is woven into the fabric. The Animal Story features animal motifs like elephants and horses, in rich hues of royal blues, reds and golds. Their Gold Story is a bridal collection of heavy gold kanjeevaram saris.

    Will be in stores (Mylapore) from first week of September. Rs 25,000 onwards. Details: 24991086

    — Saloni Sinha

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