A modern makeover

Sari, the traditional six-yard wonder, is all set for a new avatar with creative draping styles & contemporary blouses

Currently, retro-inspired drapes are very big.

A precious jewel of many a wardrobe, the elegant, traditional six-yard wonder – the quintessential sari, is all set for a new avatar this season. Carefully reserved as an ensemble for festive or wedding occasions, the sari is finally out of the trunks in a more casual and modern look. The most graceful outfit for a woman, it has been a delightful muse for many designers to experiment and turn it into a ‘modern garment’. They have played a lot with sari drapes, embroideries and colours. However, the sari today, in its most sexy avatar, is the love of young girls. Today, people like to give their own spin to the sari.

“Saris have kept up with the times where women have made bold statements in their way of draping their saris. Never before have saris gone through such a transformation as they have now. We see quintessential blouses being replaced by collared shirts. Smart pants have been teamed up with georgettes and the softest of linen saris for those special evenings. While women have chosen to carry forward the traditional Indian attire, comfort and class have taken a huge leap forward,” says Mumbai-based designer Rhea Pillai Rastogi.

Drape it right

So, what are the latest ways of draping a sari? Swatti Kapoor, consultant designer, Jaypore, says, “Currently, retro-inspired drapes are very big. Think ‘Mumtaz’s style’, where the border is shown as layer upon layer.” She further adds, “One of the easiest, but most striking drapes is the ‘scarf style’, where the pallu is tied in different ways around the neck; for the winter especially, this is the ultimate in style and function. The ‘butterfly drape’ is another extremely popular one, perfect for showing off toned abs.”

The perfect pair

“Sari is the most versatile piece of garment to work as a pairing,” says Hyderabad-based Swapna Anumolu from the label ‘Mishru’. “Pairing the sari with a short dress, a dhoti pant, or a sheer shirt, a corset or a crop top is currently working well. We are seeing saris being smartly paired with jackets that give a bold and beautiful look. We have also paired up our sari with a sheath dress that can be worn as a separate otherwise! It’s a fun new silhouette that we came up with for our winter collection!”

Designer Neha Agarwal of Agami label agrees, “Yes, nowadays, pairing a sari with a jacket is an edgy concept, easily replacing the traditional blouse, creating a very chic, contemporary look. When paired with crop tops, capes, quirky borders and palazzo pants, the sari gets an Indo-Western spin and an irresistible look.”

Trendy blouses

The sari blouse is a big catalyst for the sari to take a contemporary turn. “Whether its off-shoulder, halter neck or wrap, the blouse lends a fresh modern look,” says Swatti. Swapna adds, “Fashionistas have been quite experimental with the blouses they choose in terms of contrasting colour palettes, cuts and sleeve lengths. We’ve come up with an experimental way of wearing a sari wherein it is worn with a short embellished dress instead of a blouse. Replacing the blouse with a dress gives the sari a more contemporary look. Such saris can easily be adorned for a sangeet or even a cocktail party or a destination wedding and even to corporate events and parties.

Key looks of the modern sari

Dhoti style: Pairing a sari with a dhoti and a jacket gives it an eclectic look.

Belted style: “This look is quite simple and also gives an edgy and modern look to a simple sari wherein you just have to add a belt to cinch your waist,” says Swapna. “It’s a style statement. This waist-cinching look adds a modern and edgy flair to the average sari look,” adds Neha.

Scarf/neck wrap style: Here, the sari pallu is draped like a scarf, giving it a contemporary look.

Cocktail style: In this style, the pattern of the blouse plays a more important role. Here, saris need to be paired with sequinned netted tops, embellished blouses and blingy crop tops.

Ruffle style: “The tiered ruffle sari, we believe, is the freshest trend this season. It is so light and easy to carry that it just melds itself with the fast mode of life, looking elegant and classy at the same time,” says Mumbai-based designer Arpita Mehta.

Pre-stitched wonders

“Pre-stitched saris is again a hot trend. It makes the process of wearing the whole six yards into an easy, quick and comfortable one. Pleats are pre-stitched on the skirt of the sari and the pallu is attached from behind these pleats. So, you just zip up the skirt and drape the pallu around your body. Something that would usually take 10 minutes is now a 30-second job,” says Neha.

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A modern makeover

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