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Sarees will never go out of fashion. Here are some unusual weaves that the author speaks so lovingly of, for all kinds of budgets. Check NOW!
Yards and Yards of silk I see, In ever colour and shade there be
Patterns fine, Bold designs, I wonder which one is for me?
— A Karadi Rhyme
Diwali or Deepawali usually means socializing, lamps, sweets and of course, dressing up. Many families buy new clothes as part of the celebration. Ladies buy sarees not just for themselves, but also to gift sarees out to dear ones.
This Diwali, how about exploring some not-so-famous/ mainstream sarees to add to your collection or that of your mother’s or in-laws?
Just like Biryani, each state favours the saree types that are native to it. There are differences in weaving techniques and colour sensibilities, by region. As a collector/ wearer, it increases the variety we get to choose from.
If you are a saree connoisiuer, you probably have heard of all and own many of these- Kanjeevaram silks from Tamil Nadu, Benarasi silk from UP, Paithani from Maharashtra, Pathan Patola & Bandini from Gujarat, Lehariya & Bandini from Rajasthan, Mysore Crepe & Ilkal from Karnataka, Kasavu from Kerala, Pochampally Silk from Andhra, Ikkat from various states, Chanderi from MP, Muga from Assam, Tussar, Jamdani & Balucheri from Bengal, and Sambalpuri & Bomkai from Orissa.
You can buy a Kasavu saree here, and a Jamdani saree here.
Kancheepuram Nine Yards
A lot of us are rediscovering the older styles our grandmothers draped and you could be a part of the revival series-
The elusive Kunbi from Goa which was traditionally worn by a tribe there is being slowly revived and is pretty in its simplicity.
Tanchois are exquisite and festive in silk and are said to date back to the time when Chinese travellers visited Gujarat.
Arani silks are lighter on the pocket and to wear and are gaining popularity.
Thousand buttas sarees are coveted in Bangla and Tamil cottons.
You can buy a Khadi Cotton saree here.
Chettinadu/Kariakudi beauties are particulrly attractive in mubbagam (three parts & broad borders).
Ganga Jamuna sarees are an interesting option, in particular in Chinnalapatty Tie and dye Sarees. They can be worn both ways, offering versatality.
The simply elegant Kalakshetra/ Rukmini Devi sarees evoke memories of dancers and timeless beauties.
Sungudi is a kind of Bandini from Tamil Nadu which is finding young takers as well.
The stunning Telia Rumal cottons & Uppada silks & cotton from Andhra, the mesmerizing Maheshwari silks from MP are easy to drape, show stoppers.
Tangail, Taant, Kotpad, Dharmavaram, Mangalagiri, Venkatagiri, Tribhuvanam are all sarees that have their individual appeal and depending on the count and work can fit any pocket.
There are some pro-nature fabrics like Organic cotton and Ahimsa silk sarees which you could own, but cost a premium, given the process and/ or the cause they represent.
Ahimsa Silk sarees claim to be non-violent as they are made from a more humane way of silk production wherein the silk worms are allowed to hatch, break the cocoon and fly away.
Eri silk comes from Assam from castor feeding silk worms and is also a part of this.
Chinnalapatty Silk Cotton
Relatively modern materials like silk cotton & linen are available in new avatars, with hand block prints to create six yard beauties.
You can buy a hand block print silk cotton saree here.
You may have sarees with Chikankari, Phulkari, Kasuti or Gota work.
How about a Mukaish work drape or an Aligarh Phool- Patti ka kaam saree?
Aligarh Patti ka Kaam
Mukaish is traditional embroidery work from Lucknow – thin metal strips are used to create the thread for the embroidery.
The Lucknowi chikankari infact comes in a variety stitches and fabrics – so you can have a mini collection of chikankari sarees, each different from the other!
Block Print Silk Cotton
While motifs via printed sarees can be found across fabrics, saree art is at an another new level if you can indulge in hand block prints or even better a hand painted saree in Kalamkari , Mural & Madhubani.
The Dhoti and Gamcha (towel) inspired sarees are style statements found with Vimor in Bengaluru and select Bangla designers like Sanjukta Roy & Manas.
You can buy a Gamcha pattern saree here.
Byloom, Raw Mango, Queen of Hearts, UDD, Parama, Heeya, Dakshin – all bring new sensibility to the saree world, in a range of fabrics. Many offer interesting blouse options. Explore the work of these quirky saree designers, fusing unusual block prints, patchwork and embroidery types to create delightful sarees with character & charm.
If you are holidaying in countries on the sub continent, you could add a saree from Sri Lanka or Bangladesh or buy long (& wide) batik yardage in Indonesia or the authentic handloom fabrics of Thailand or Laos!
If you are on a retail cleanse/ minimalist drive/ low consumerism drive- turn creative with your local tailor’s assistance- fuse two sarees into one or marry a beautiful dupatta/ older saree motifs as a pallu onto a solid colored saree.
DIY Kalamkari on Cotton
If you feel adventurous enough, with the assistance of a youtube video/ a darling neighbour hood aunty, you should be able to drape a six yard in a Navvaari / Madisaar style and you will find it more convenient for that Diwali party dance as well.
Look out for newer types for your collection online or in state emporium branches in your city- Mrignayanee for MP, Cooptex for TN, Boyanika for Orissa and so on. And do add on to the list here, so we all can be a part of this exquisite saree tapestry.
All images source: Arthi Anand Navaneeth
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