The Return of The Timeless Handloom Sarees
The Tale of a Modern Woman...
When she spoke, I could hear her but I admit, I wasn't listening as intently as I should have been. For I was too distracted by what she was wearing! Always a classic banarasi or a crisp, handloom cotton. Sometimes she surprised me with a colourful chanderi splash. It didn't matter which loom fabric. They all loved her and she loved them. I was astounded at the way her sarees never lost their form or flow, always at her command. Perfectly pleated, pinned and oh-so regal.
“What are you staring at?!” she snapped me back to some tale that was supposed to offer me deep insight into I-have-no-idea-what! In my defence, on that particular day, it was a stunning pure silk kantha stitch that was quite the attention-seeker...
But the fact is that I gained so much more from her, about being a woman and not being apologetic about it. She achieved it effortlessly with such elegance. I guess it helps to have impeccable taste and the widest saree collection in the world. Handloom was her signature. But, more importantly, it was the way she carried it that said so much more to me about her and life than her words ever did.
Antiquity Meets Modernity
Today, handloom is making a comeback.
This ushers a new breed of modern women emerging as symbols of strength and grace. The talented Neena Gupta recently surprised us by making a bold statement on an international platform. She donned a Wendell Rodricks embellished saree creation at the Golden Globe Awards after-party in California, wowing audiences globally.
Whether it's a Bengal Kantha Stitch or a crisp linen, Zari-work from Indore or a Banarasi silk from Uttar Pradesh, the beauty of handloom is timeless. Hence, the longing to own one has resurfaced with gusto. Social media is fueling this fire as the millennial workforce is stepping with poise into offices and board meetings in traditional sarees like never before.
The Modern Pallu Connect
The new breed of Indian designers has committed to promoting this comeback. Recently, 5 young designers from all over the nation collaborated with the Jamdani and Banarasi weavers and others from Hyderabad, Nagpur, Gujarat, West Bengal, and Kerala to create exquisite handloom ensembles.
Designers such as Shravan Kumar Ramaswamy, Shruti Sancheti, Gaurang Shah, Shani Himanshu, Smita Singh Rathore, Rahul Mishra, and Anavila Misra are breathing back life into the Indian handloom industry by expressing the versatility of these fabrics and making them available to all women, locally and internationally.
As the classic handloom saree continues to act as an ode to Indian women, every girl from each corner of the nation is kicking her pleats, as she walks in her renewed avatar. Its seamless adaptation from a glamorous party, a traditional festival to a coffee shop catch-up makes the saree the most versatile garment on the planet.
As Indian women, we are the luckiest of the lot to be able to experience it, directly and vicariously on so many levels. The saree is irreplaceable as nothing else can complement the Indian form in a more sensual manner.
Like they say, “If you want to be it, you need to dress for it!”.