Although westernisation has brought a drastic overhaul in the traditions and cultures of India too but we never left our own long practiced cultures, we just kept adding to it; the way we didn't give up daal-chawal , we just added pizza to our menu; the way we just added jeans and tees to our wardrobes but these could never replace the ethnics. There is a long story of ethnic clothes in our country and to summarise that, we can say, for every special occasion we search for ethnics in our wardrobes.
In India, we have a vast variety of ethnic clothes which vary from region to region and state to state, just like the languages. But few clothes, namely saree is one attire that is the vogue throughout the country. From the eldest of the women to the youngest ones, saree is the most popular outfit among females here. Though the styles of wearing it varies, accordingly with the region and age factor. Red is most favourite color for wedding sarees and traditional garment choice for brides in Indian culture.Women traditionally wore various types of regional handloom sarees made of silk, cotton, ikkat, block-print, embroidery and tie-dye textiles. Most sought after brocade silk sarees are Banasari, Kanchipuram, Paithani, Mysore, Uppada, Bagalpuri, Balchuri, Maheshwari, Chanderi, Mekhela, Ghicha, Narayan pet and Eri etc are traditionally worn for festive and formal occasions. Silk Ikat and cotton sarees known as Patola, Pochampally, Bomkai, Khandua, Sambalpuri, Gadwal, Berhampuri, Bargarh, Jamdani, Tant, Mangalagiri, Guntur, Narayan pet, Chanderi, Maheshwari, Nuapatn, Tussar, Ilkal, Kotpad and Manipuri were worn for both festive and everyday attire. Tie died and block-print sarees known as Bandhani, Leheria/Leheriya, Bagru, Ajrakh, Sungudi, Kota Dabu/Dabu print, Bagh and Kalamkari were traditionally worn during monsoon season. Gota Patti is a popular form of traditional embroidery used on sarees for formal occasions, various other types of traditional folk embroidery such mochi, pakko, kharak, suf, kathi, phulkari and gamthi are also commonly used for both informal and formal occasion.Today, modern fabrics like polyester, georgette and charmeuse are also commonly used.
Maharani Indira Devi of Cooch Behar popularised the chiffon saree. The chiffon saree did what years of fashion interaction had not done in India. It homogenised fashion across this land. Its softness, lightness and beautiful, elegant, caressing drape was ideally suited to the Indian climate. Different courts adopted their own styles of draping and indigenising the saree. In most of the courts the saree was embellished with stitching hand-woven borders in gold from Varanasi, delicate zardozi work, gota, makaish and tilla work that embellished the plain fabric, simultaneously satisfying both traditional demands and ingrained love for ornamentation.
The most popular style of draping saree is the Nivi style, originated from Andhra Pradesh. Nivi drape starts with one end of the sari tucked into the waistband of the petticoat, usually a plain skirt. The cloth is wrapped around the lower body once, then hand-gathered into even pleats below the navel. The pleats are tucked into the waistband of the petticoat. They create a graceful, decorative effect which poets have likened to the petals of a flower. After one more turn around the waist, the loose end is draped over the shoulder. The loose end is called the pallu, pallav, seragu, or paita depending on the language. It is draped diagonally in front of the torso. It is worn across the right hip to over the left shoulder, partly baring the midriff. There are many more styles to drape a saree, recorded 80 ways but the nivi drape, the seedha pallu drape, mekhla drape , dhoti drape and madisar drape are few of the most commonly wore drapes.
Saree, being a vogue in India, is also making a prominent place in the international fashion world. From common people to celebrities, sarees have adorned every woman of India in its own way of defining beauty and elegance.
~Author : Karishma Srivastava