rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Getahead » IMAGES: From sober to super-sexy, the sari story

IMAGES: From sober to super-sexy, the sari story

Last updated on: October 4, 2011 17:30 IST

IMAGES: From sober to super-sexy, the sari story

     Next

Next

From traditional, conservative drapes to kitschy colours, slits and zippers, the sari has come a long way!

Ten years ago, if someone had brought up the very idea of wearing a sari over leggings, you'd have laughed.

But today, they're very much a reality and haute couture to boot -- the new drapes seen on the runway these past few seasons could well have your head spinning. And the best part is that they are not included in designers' collections merely to add a touch of drama, but are seen on young, hep fashionistas everywhere.

The sari is no longer reserved for formal occasions -- you can team a dip-dye cotton with a tee-shirt to wear to a movie, or use a semi in a colourful print to drape halfway over your jeans if you're going clubbing.

Bold, beautiful, glamorous and with a hint of Western sophistication, it certainly looks like the new-age sari is set to take on the historic classic.

Here, we bring you a look at the various new sari styles that have become immensely popular, along with inputs from designers who cater to these emerging trends.

Seen here is a Suneet Verma design, which shows a hint of leg and has something very Western indeed about its overall appeal. Says designer Sougat Paul, "The thing is that with the Internet and the world at large opening up to new possibilities, Indian clothes are taking on more and more Western looks. And so the sari too is undergoing changes to incorporate Westernised silhouettes, it's been influenced by international trends and cultures from across the globe. It now has a very glamorous cocktail appeal that attracts younger clientele."


Image: A Suneet Verma sari
Photographs: Courtesy R&P: Edelman
     Next

'Western silhouettes are very in and so designers are catering to that'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Designer Vaishali S echoes Sougat's opinion. "The sari is a strong Indian look and it will never go out of fashion -- everyone wants to wear it," she explains. "But of late, Western silhouettes are very in and so designers are catering to that, introducing various new elements to keep it trendy."

It's hardly surprising, then, that the drape is an object of experimentation and has been spotted in some truly unusual forms like this Anupamaa Dayal number that ends below the knee.


Image: An Anupama Dayal sari
Photographs: Dominic Xavier
Prev     Next

Why half a sari is still a sari

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Hardly any young fashionista worth her salt is willing to go the whole nine yards when there are so many 'in' options available.

And it's not just young couturiers who are providing these options. Big names like Satya Paul and Ashima-Leena who have impeccable reputations for their gorgeous drapes are also on the bandwagon -- seen here is a recent ramp ensemble from Puneet Nanda of Satya Paul.


Image: A Satya Paul sari
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh
Prev     Next

'Today's girls don't want pleating etc, even when it comes to formal looks for their weddings'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Says Leena Singh of duo Ashima-Leena, "Being a senior brand with more than two decades of experience in the business, we have seen that the sari as a fashion staple is permanent, but the form keeps changing."

"Today's youngsters want a touch of the modern, so designers are giving them what they want. We have created a lehenga sari, for instance, which has all the beauty of a drape without the pleats. This is mainly because today's girls don't want pleating etc, even when it comes to formal looks for their weddings."

So it would seem that the most traditional drapes are being tweaked too -- check out this modern take on the Maharashtrian sari from Vaishali S.


Image: A Vaishali S sari
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
Prev     Next

'Whatever is easy to wear works'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

And clients are definitely not shying away from unusual styles, like this sari by Wendell Rodricks. It has a built-in choli and the pallav is split in one section, which gathers to a halterneck. The other half loops into a 'kimono sleeve pallav'.

Whatever is very easy to wear works," explains Vaishali. "We carry slit saris, pant saris, ready-to-wear slip-on saris, young people prefer these kinds of drapes. In fact, in my own collection I have saris that resemble long dresses, which can be worn like gowns to formal occasions and even some that are like kurtas -- they can be teamed with leggings or churidaars."


Image: A Wendell Rodricks sari
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant
Prev     Next

Less is more

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Another remarkable feature about sari perception is that they are no longer judged by how intricate and sparkly their embellishments are.

Bling, which was once equated with beauty and opulence, seems to have no place in this new crop of drapes. To drive the point home we see another of Wendell's creations in subtle beige, with no trace of embroidery or threadwork -- just a ruffled edge.


Image: A Wendell Rodricks sari
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
Prev     Next

'There is now a crowd that wants to pick up offbeat saris with funky elements'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

"In terms of the Indian market, the conventional sari will always be the favourite of the major population, but fashionistas do want to keep up with its evolving look, so for them at present, a sari cannot be too ethnic or overly dressy," states Sougat Paul. "There is now a crowd that wants to pick up offbeat saris with funky elements so that they stand apart from the rest."

Making a statement is of paramount importance -- which is why innovative designs like this Gaurav Gupta sari, which fuses pallav and choli, are much-appreciated.


Image: A Gaurav Gupta sari
Photographs: Manish Sharma
Prev     Next

No formalities

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Things are definitely taking a casual turn too -- check out this edgy Nida Mahmood outfit.

"For cocktail outfits, we're using churidaars instead of petticoats," exlains Leena. "And yes, it's fair to use jeans or leggings if you like too. The face of Indian fashion is changing -- there was a time when girls couldn't think of wearing spaghetti straps at their weddings, but today it's the norm, so why not?"


Image: A Nida Mahmood Sari
Photographs: Manish Sharma
Prev     Next

Be unique

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

In fact, some designers like Masaba Gupta are only going the kicky and kitschy route. This colourful creation of hers is little more than a skirt and bikini top with dupatta wrapped around, but even celebrities like Sonam Kapoor can't seem to get enough of her young, vibrant inspirations.


Image: A Masaba Gupta sari
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
Prev     Next

Zipping it up

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Young talent is certainly on the rise. This zippered number by Sulakshana Monga also garnered quite a few eyeballs at a fashion week last year.

And it's not a sari in the strictest sense of the world -- it's actually a gown, with just the right cut and draping to carry off the illusion! Innovative and easy-to-wear makes for a winner.


Image: A Sulakshana Monga creation
Photographs: Dominic Xavier
Prev     Next

'Even blouses have come a long way'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

"Fashion is always evolving, but it's not something that happens overnight," muses Paul. "For example, in the last few years, if you've noticed, sari blouses have come a long way."

He has a point -- nevermind that this wine-hued Rina Dhaka drape has no pleats, can you imagine seeing this choli on someone a decade ago?

"And when Manish Malhotra dressed Karisma Kapur for Raja Hindustani in the nineties, it created a trend in womenswear which lasted for a long time after," he continues. "So through movies and fashion shows etc, fashion grows slowly and continues to change."


Image: A Rina Dhaka sari
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
Prev     Next

'The evolution of the sari will continue and it is inevitable'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

"In my opinion, the evolution of the sari will continue and it is inevitable, but the classic style will always remain. While contemporary is an option, the traditional look will always be around," says Vaishali.

And designers like Abhishek Dutta are bringing out their own 'traditional' togs like this Bengali sari worn with a shirt to cash in on this fact.


Image: An Abhishek Dutta sari
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant
Prev     Next

'Maybe there will be a cycle when the classic sari will be back with a bang'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Chimes in Sougat, "Maybe there will be a cycle when the classic sari will be back with a bang, but that does not mean that the garment won't keep evolving. You see, it's a drape that can be worn across ages ranging from the late teens to the fifties and beyond. And since it is so versatile, it is only natural that it will keep changing to suit all sensibilities when it comes to age, demographic location and other factors affecting it."


Image: A Tarun Tahiliani sari
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
Prev     Next

'What is so in demand today is temporary'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

"In terms of the contemporary sari trends, it's important to keep in mind that they fade with time," adds Leena. "The traditional South Indian sari, for instance, is a classic. It's eternal. But what is so in demand today -- pre-pleated drapes, slit saris, sari lehengas -- is temporary. They will fade with time, even if the form does continue to change and evolve into newer silhouettes."


Image: An Ashima-Leena sari
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
Prev     Next

'The price points for classics and contemporary remain much the same'

Prev     More
Prev

More

Asked about the pricing of these new-fangled drapes and how they compare to classics, Leena is dismissive. "The price points for classics and contemporary remain much the same -- you get super-expensive versions of both and then there are also reasonable options for both. People spend keeping in mind their budget and what they want, irrespective of whether it's traditional or trendy."


Image: A Sougat Paul sari
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant
Prev     More