They have all worn sarees with grace and aplomb at various points in their life – Cherie Blair, Naomi Campbell, Victoria Beckham and even Madonna. International designers like Zandra Rhodes, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood have also experimented with sarees and saree-drapes quite often in the past.
At the recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai, the saree and saree-drape made its presence felt in all its glory – on the ramp and off it. Ranjit Rodricks does a round-up of the six-yard wonder.
With so many designers doing their own saree innovations, in particular, we loved the saree styles by Kolkatta’s Dabarun Mukherjee. Using appliqué as the primary form of embellishment for the collection which had as its base net, chanderi, raw silk and silk, Debarun wove them together for a great fusion of just black and white for eye catching creations. His black and white sarees in net with puffed long sleeve blouses were clear winners.
Delhi’s Shymal and Bhumika – known for their ornately embroidered creations – had Dream Girl Hema Malini glide down the ramp as their show-stopper in a rich velvet saree. This two-tone sari in brocade and red velvet had golden floral motifs embroidered on the pallu.
Mumbai’s Babita Malkani didn’t do too many sarees but her dresses that had saree-drape detailing deserve a special mention for being inventive. This look was made possible by having extended hemlines that looped up to the waist, neck or the shoulders in the front or back, thus giving the look of a saree drape. An added feature to her look were the scrap-metal accessories inspired by sculptor Arzan Khambatta. Fashioned from nuts, bolts, door-hinges and the like, they added a touch of drama to her draped silhouettes.
JJ Valaya – the grand couturier from Delhi – obviously had many sarees in his line. Here we were treated to his popular Alika jacket worn over sarees and also digitally printed saris in royal blue and black which were studded with rich crystals, stones and sequins. In the past, JJ has often belted his sarees at the waist but this time, he added a small detail – a purse attached to the belt – that had everybody wanting one for the wardrobe. This was clearly one of the cleverer innovations we have seen in a while.
Preeti Kapoor’s line of clothes was inspired by the romance of the early 19th Century and hence, the designer used French Chantilly lace and satin trims in shades of cream and ivory for a glittering bridal collection of sarees. Crystal and zari-work was seen on yokes, sleeves and sexy cholis. These were further embellished with sprays of multi-coloured flowers. What we liked most were the thin jeweled waist-belts worn over the saris.
Of course, many raved about the simplicity and elegance of Sabyasachi’s sarees as well. Presenting the look of the North West Frontier Province and the styles favoured by the girls in Patiala, Sabyasachi added touches of Kathak and Kathakali to his garments. The saris with ornate borders – which were at times split into velvet and net with shimmering edges – were teamed with long sleeved embroidered cholis. They were accessorized with matching embroidered headbands and purses.
And finally, from the line-up of designer’s we liked the saree-draped by young Vaishali Shadangule. Using sheer chanderi with a strong touch of lush Maharashtrian Paithani, Vaishali proved contradictions can make a strong fashion statement. Her silhouettes had inspirations from the traditional sari, dhoti and the Maharashtrian nauvari kashthaa saree, which were blended into western and fusion wear. A very clever mix of the orient and occident by this creative designer!
Off the ramp too, numerous celebrities chose to wear sarees to compliment their favourite designers. Singer Sona Mohapatra was spotted in a black and white polka-dot saree by Kallo Dutta. It had a red border and she threw a voluminous jacket over it. The white polka-dots had morbid stick-figures of a man hanging himself. Typically dark and Dutta!
Actress Bhagyashree came to support designer Archana Kochhar and wore one of the latter’s sarees from her current line. The border had Hindi alphabets running along it in orange while the base was in shades of black and grey.
Young actress Shraddha Kapoor was all peaches and cream in a saree by Sabyasachi Mukherjee when she came to watch his show. It was cream with lots of peachy floral blooms which further enhanced her lovely complexion.
Eighties Superstar, Sridevi, also came for Sabyasachi’s show in a saree. In dark hues bottle green and black, it had a matte gold border which she teamed with a red brocade blouse.
Clearly, with all these different avatars the saree is here to stay as a big trend for the Winter-Festive season. Now if only Lady Gaga would wear one!!!