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Sari is a staple

Pleating a new style

THE BELTED SARI The first time this sari caught my eye was in 1993, which is when I started wearing a sari. I still remember Suneet Varma's Madame De Pompadour collection and Madhu Sapre wearing an off-white sari, with a large thread embroidered belt on the waist. It is a style that both Suneet and Tarun Tahiliani show again and again. Tahiliani is the first person I remember using the word concept saris, which he describes as "silhouettes based on the concept of a sari but more structured form. " The belted sari pre-dated the concept sari and could be called its elder sister. This season Tahiliani has a range of elegant belted saris, be it a black pre-draped sari with a corset belt available on www. perniaspopupshop. com or a fully embroidered diaphanous gold sari teamed with a thin gold and Swarovski belt from his recent bridal collection - this sari has a Grecian feel, and gives it a sensual shape. The only sari to be a part of London's Victoria and Albert Museum's permanent collection is Abraham and Thakore belted charcoal and silver "rickshaw" sari from their Autumn Winter 2010 collection. For me the belted sari is now a classic. A Tarun Tahiliani silk georgette drape sari

It is that time of year when you feel like dressing up. And this year, more than most, I am having a sari moment. The sari has never had it so good, with nearly every designer working on some variation of it;most of which are as easy to step into as a dress. Purists, I know, will be appalled with these alterations to the six yards of unstitched fabric but to me these innovations should be celebrated. For a silhouette to stay alive - be it the dress, the skirt or the sari - change is necessary.

Young Bollywood, Indian designers and even international fashion houses (at the recent New York Fashion Week both Marchesa and Vera Wang had sariesque drapes) have fallen in love with this addictive style.

Designer Sabyasachi says that nearly half of his turnover comes from the sari. "For an Indian designer, a sari is like investing in gold. If you are ignoring it, you need to re-look at your business plans, " says the businesssavvy designer. And it seems more and more designers are now realising that.

Amit Aggarwal and Rajesh Pratap Singh are now also coming out with a range of what we now call 'concept saris'. Aggarwal's saris will debut at the next Wills India Fashion Week, and are already available at Ensemble. "I have debated this move for a while, as my silhouette, techniques and sensibility have always been more western. Runways in Paris show jackets, dresses, as that is what a Parisian woman's wardobe consists of. For an Indian woman, the sari is a staple. "

This realisation prompted Aggarwal's move towards this powerful drape but it had to be relevant to his buyer. "I wanted to inject a feel of ready-to-wear in my saris. Most of the women I speak to love the idea of the sari but the process of draping seems too tedious and time consuming. " Like most other designers, he believes that innovations that make the sari more approachable are what will keep it alive.
I could not agree more, as thanks to all these modern avatars of the sari, there is a whole list of saris on my wish list.

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