India is a land of rich textiles and ancient crafts that have constantly been revived over the years. We’ve listed a few designers and brands that we think are changing the DNA of the traditional saree and bringing this drape back into the wardrobes of some of India’s trendiest people:
RAW MANGO SAREES
First on our list of must haves are the beautifully handcrafted sarees by Raw Mango. The brand employs over 250 craftspeople around India to weave modern renditions of age old textiles. Although some may believe their designs and colors are part of the latest kitsch craze, they choose to disagree. Taking inspiration from the riot of colors in Indian textiles and the celebration that is India, Raw Mango sarees has been able to create a unique space for itself in the ethnic market.
How to wear Raw Mango Sarees: The great thing about these sarees is that you can wear it to almost any occasion (or lack of) – wear it to work with a bright colored tank top or to a party or wedding with a backless choli.
Who Wears Raw Mango Sarees: Kareena Kapoor, Mini Mathur, Mandira Bedi, Nishka Lulla, Arundhati Roy, Radhika Roy
The man on every bride’s mind and in most closets, Sabyasachi has come to be known as the “Indian Saree God.” And although we’re as wrapped up in the beautiful bridal drapes as the next girl, we have to give a special mention to his ‘Sabyasachi by Sabyasachi’ line as well. This couture label was launched recently with the aim to retain the designer’s vision and create textiles with his signature eccentric twist. Sabya works with craftsmen around India and in his extensive workshop to give new life to forgotten arts, prints and weaves.
How to wear Sabyasachi Sarees: Sabya’s sarees are a package in themselves- not getting your blouse stitched by the mastermind would be a sin! Wear the designer’s sheer sarees with folded pleats to make a 6 inch thick pallu and wear his silk or cotton sarees with a loose pallu lightly draped over your shoulder.
Who wears Sabysachi: Vidya Balan (duh!), Neha Dhupia, Rani Mukerji, Aishwarya Rai
BAILOU & BYLOOM SAREES
Another Kolkata based design house, Bailou is situated in a small winding alley way in the city. Inspired by the local fruit sellers and vendors, their creations are colorful and eclectic. With a network of over 1300 artisans, Bailou was set up by designer duo Bappaditya Biswas and Rumi Biswas in 2002 and is retailed as Byloom in partnership with Malavika Banerjee & Jeet Banerjee. The duo was also responsible for reviving the dhoti-saree and have also been honored as one of the few designers keeping alive the traditional weaves of Bengal.
How to wear Bailou & Byloom Sarees: Their sarees are best paired with a matching blouse. Get a cotton or light silk blouse with three-quarter sleeves and a scoop neck to wear with these simple and elegant sarees.
Who wears Bailou & Byloom: Priyanka Gandhi, Aparna Sen, Hillary Clinton, Meira Kumar, Sunanda Tharoor
Chikankari has been a much loved craft among Indians and non-Indians alike. Whether in the form of a stole, a dupatta, a kurta or a shirt, every woman must own this perfect summer piece. Chikankari was first brought to India from Persia and is usually found as a white on white embroidery. Over the years, this embroidery has become famous on pastel colored cotton, georgette and chiffon fabrics and is now being widely worn in the form of a saree. This must-have summer staple is a great way to keep your ethnic wear subtle yet elegant.
How to wear a Chikankari Saree: Drape your chikankari saree like you would any other with an open pallu. Remember, since these sarees are usually made in light fabrics and colors, you can accessorize to make it stand out for an evening event – wear big earrings or thick bangles.
Who wears Chikankari: Aishwarya Rai, Katrina Kaif, Shabana Azmi, Deepika Padukone
KALAMKARI SAREES by Gaurang Shah
Hyderabad based designer, Gaurang Shah, may have forever changed the way we perceive Kalamkari sarees. The traditional hand painted or block printed saree that is originally created from white or cream fabrics has been given a modern twist by adding a splash of color. Gaurang showed his Kalamkari collection at Lakme Fashion Week in 2013 with sarees ranging from yellows to reds and pinks with contrast colored hand painting. Perfect for festivals and wedding functions, these sarees can be worn by the young and old alike.
How to wear Kalamkari Sarees: Gaurang Shah’s sarees are colorful, bright and very chaotic; pair these drapes with a simple, solid colored blouse and minimal accessories.
Who wears Gaurang Shah: Chitrangada Singh, Kiron Kher
The list of new and traditional sarees in India is never ending. Stay tuned for more ethnic style that you definitely shouldn’t miss out on…
Image Courtesy: www.rawmango.com, www.sandalwoodandjasmine.com, www.facebook.com/byloom, www.livemint.com, www.akbundi.blogspot.com