Acknowledge the queen of textiles

The minute the announcement of a ceremonial occasion is made in the family, the first question that crosses every woman’s mind is ‘What should I wear?’

Then begin the innumerable rounds of markets, malls and shopping plazas for a perfect ready-made ensemble to look for the right cut, colour, shape, style, fall and fit. But all these parameters often fail to coexist in one single piece and the search for a tailored garment hence begins!

On entering a cloth store, the scene of the shop appears similar to a vegetable market where varieties of fabrics are laid out- some lying flat on floor, other piled up in ascending shades of one colour and the rest of the lighter ones are hung from a rope. Most exotic among these is silk, which is available in a vast variety and is perfect for almost any occasion. But clueless as to which type of silk to finalise, hours are wasted in the practice that yields no fruitful results.

Silk is known as paat in Eastern India, pattu in southern parts of India and resham in Hindi and Urdu and has a long history that dates back to the Chinese Silk Route. The shimmer of this fabric is due to its triangular prism-like structured fibre which refracts incoming light at different angles and produces different colours. Silk spells luxury, elegance, class and comfort, be it in any form.

There are four major types of silk of commercial importance which are obtained from different species of silkworms which feed on a number of food plants. These varieties are – Mulberry (shiny, smooth and fluid), Tussar (copperish colour, coarse silk), Eri (used by tribals in North-Eastern India) and Moonga (golden yellow colour silk from Assam).

So if you are finalising an evening gown, mulberry silk will add elegance to your look and if earthen sarees are your choice then tussar is the best option. “Tussar is a very good drape for sarees and jackets. Even when dyed, it gives a very dull, soft and sophisticated look,” says designer Anuradha Ramam.

But if carrying a saree seems a herculean task then one can try kurtas in maldah silk teamed with either churidars or even trousers. “Maldah silk is finer and thinner and can be used to create kurtas and dupattas as it has a nice fall and doesn’t need to be lined. Matka silk can also be used for making kurtis as
it is a little coarse,” adds Anuradha.

There is also Bangalore silk, which is a good option for a lot of garments. Anuradha says, “Bangalore silk is more flexible, triable and malleable. One can use it in contrast colours to line a jacket as it is soft and smooth. It works well for making dresses too. Just like raw silk which makes beautiful sarees and anarkalis along with dresses as it has rich and bright colours which look good as evening wear. But make sure that you line up your garments made of raw silk.”

If your concern is the upcoming spring-summer, then you must try short and long skirts and tunics in mixed silk. Fashion designer Samant Chaihan, who is known for his work in Bhagalpuri silk, suggests, “Wearing pure silk might not be conducive in summer so one can try silk which is blended with soft cotton and even linen. Dyed through natural process such in tea leaf and iron rust colour, the cotton and linen silk makes exquisite tunics that can be paired with churidars and a scarf length dupatta. Long skirts made with tie and dye and hand-printed technique in natural tone of gold will make a stunning look for summer!

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