New Delhi: The humble sari makes a pronounced comeback in a remodelled avtaar as designers present it in creative combinations that might just run parallel to the numerous Western and Indo-Western collections that are likely to rule the ramp during the week-long fashion event.
Amidst heated debate on whether Delhi is the fashion capital of the country or Mumbai and if India does figure on the international buyer’s list, the usual regulars were to be seen hobnobbing with the designer fraternity during the shows and private parties thereafter.
“The sari is such a versatile garment,” said Gaurav Gupta, one of 87 designers who will unveil the trends for autumn-winter 2007 at the six-day clothing extravaganza.
“At times people don’t wear it because there has not been enough innovation in it,” said the designer, who will be putting his ‘semi-constructed´ sari on the catwalk as a new twist to the Indian fashion staple.
Gupta has used ruching and gathering techniques on the garment to make it easier to drape. The sari end, which usually rests on the shoulder, has been constructed like a sleeve to make it easier to handle.
“These experimental saris have a wider market. Women tell me that I have made them wear the sari again,” said the designer.
While some of India’s internationally acclaimed designers like Manish Arora and Anamika Khanna will focus on Western designs, others will try updating traditional fashions.
Designers Puneet Nanda and Chiara Nath of the Satya Paul label have gone a step further than Gupta: their sari collection, inspired by the cricket World Cup underway in the Caribbean, has prints of flags of participating countries.
Various estimates of India’s young fashion business put its size between $50-250 mn, a small fraction of the country’s $12 bn domestic textile industry.
A study released last month by industry body ASSOCHAM estimated that the fashion sector could grow tenfold in the next five years.
Also while western wear was clearly on the upswing, there were no indicators that pointed to the dying of the traditional garment. On the contrary, according to Priyadarshini Narendra, associate director, retail consultants Technopak Advisors, “women were spending nearly half their expenses on clothes on Indian ethnic wear (saris and salwar-kameezes, traditional pants and tunics).
“There is so much you can do with a sari in terms of embroideries, weaves and prints. The sari lends itself to everything so beautifully. It covers you and yet makes you look sexy,” said top fashion consultant Harmeet Bajaj.
Rina Dhaka who wanted to steer clear of the typical sari and blouse ensemble in the 1990’s was ironically the first to experiment with the modest sari. Credited with putting style and oomph back into the sari she created figure-skimming lycra petticoats and bra tops which have today become a rage.