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Pleating a new style
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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