A Spin on the Sari
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At the recent Cannes Film Festival 2012, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan made a smart sartorial move. Given the unkind attention directed towards her weight gain post-motherhood, she cleverly chose to arrive in a sari, an Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla creation that was draped with the pallu in front. The blouse was a well-fitted, full-sleeved Nehru-collar jacket that complemented the drape. While Rai Bachchan wisely chose a cover-up, fellow actor Kareena Kapoor is now using the sari to her advantage. Stills from Heroine, Madhur Bhandarkar's upcoming movie, have Kapoor dressed in a hot red Manish Malhotra sari with a sash-like pallu that shows off her gym-sculpted midriff. Like her, Bipasha Basu too flaunted her bikini-body quite suitably in a bikini-sari by designers Shivan and Narresh, which she wore to the IIFA Awards 2012, held earlier this month in Singapore.
While it's usual to spot women in designer gowns on the red carpet, now the sari is making its presence felt. However, it is being draped to the advantage of the wearer ó like a gown and sometimes even without a petticoat and with shorts (as seen in designer Anupamaa Dayal's show at Wills India Fashion Week 2011).
While cinema's "new hero" Vidya Balan is a traditionalist when it comes to wearing a sari, actors such as Neha Dhupia and Shriya Saran are choosing to play with the drape differently. But are we messing with the sari, taking away its essence by the way it's draped? Textile conservationist Rta Kapur Chishti, who is also the author of Saris of India: Tradition and Beyond, feels this isn't so. "The traditional drape will never get lost in translations. The sari is the most unique unstitched garment, as it is capable of constant recreation. It is worn in different ways, in accordance to the region, climate, occasion and functional need," says Chishti, whose book talks of 108 ways in which the sari can be draped. The multiple options is what most designers also say will add to the garment's longevity.
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