Posts Tagged ‘Fashion’

The Indian Sari

May 8, 2013

Despite the western onslaught, the “Indian Sari” continues to charm the world with its sartorial elegance. Poised, elegant and 5 yards of pure grace- Saris continue to retain their star status in the couture heaven. No one can clearly define as to why is Sari given an edge over the rest; after all, it’s just five and half metres of fabric.

Some say it’s the traditional and authentic value that lends the sari its appeal; some say it’s about how it elevates a woman’s form. Whether the question is of form or fashion- the impact it has on the one donning it is simply fantastic! And it is that same charm and grandeur perhaps, that has captivated the western world with similar intensity.

For Indian women, it cannot get better than a sari. Take Vidya Balan for example, who’s the current face of Kanjeevaram saris apart from Rekha. Says Vidya very genuinely: I could live in a sari, I was born to wear a sari. I’m so glad I wear it so often now. It never gets boring, it’s sexy and it just shows the right amount and hides the right amount. It’s the ultimate tease, I think. While it’s not uncommon to see Indian women don saris, here are 3 most unlikely people in a sari and rocking it!

Nicole Scherzinger recently was seen donning a Rocky S creation and bringing in a revolutionary moment with east-meets-west fashion! Dolled up in a black and Golden chiffon, Nicole was honored to be called “an Indian”. Did she look good? She never looked better. While the blouse was nothing close to a traditional pattern, the drape did her well with nude lips, smoky eyes and a whole lot of attitude!

While on one hand, the Pussycat Dolls were growing up in a sari, that magical drape made it to heiress Paris Hilton’s wardrobe too! Sported like a dress (for the cover shoot of an Indian fashion magazine) she seemed to be in her comfort zone in the coral pink fabric as a Grecian sari-inspired gown. This too- designed by Rocky S, and we haven’t spoken about our favorite!

Take a look at the September, 2009 issue of Vogue India and you’d find Brazilian supermodel Giselle Bundchen pull of a sequined Suneet Verma so impeccably that you’d doubt your own sari skills. Touted as one of the richest women in the world, this supermodel clearly mentions her love for the sari saying, “I like the traditional Indian clothes with an
edge, and their fabrics and colours are beautiful. They feel very comfortable and natural.”

Introduced in USA in the 70’s by Eugene Novack who sold it to Indian women and later to American women too, the continuing charm of this age old dress (Mentions of it are found during the Indus Valley Civilization or even the great Indian Epic Mahabharata) shows us some interesting statistics too-

Indian Sari market clocked 8.8% annual growth in value terms between 1998-2006 to become a Rs 53, 459 cr market.
A total of 172 crore saris were purchased during 2007, which was 10 crore saris more than those bought in 2006.
In October 2011- French luxury house Hermes introduced premium Indian saris targeted at the higher income groups. It was told to be their effort to connect with the elegance of tradition of Indian culture and elegance of women. The limited edition saris were priced at 300,000 rupees ($US6,120) and 400,000 rupees ($US8,158), quite unaffordable to most Indians.

A dress that is here to stay till mankind survives, it is mainly due to ease of wear that saris were so popular in the first place. An outfit that can be draped in 25 different styles (most of us can do at least 4), saris continue to remain one of the most regal, evergreen, traditional and classy attires that compliments a woman’s figure in a way other outfits can merely dream of!


Wearing Traditional Indian Clothes

October 31, 2012

My parents moved here to the US about two decades ago. And while they are still NRIs, I am very much a born and raised girl in America. From the time I was born, my parents insisted I was aware and respectful of our native Indian culture. We would come back to India to see my grandparents and extended family at least once every two years; with the trip mostly around Diwali and Durga Puja, since Durga Puja is of great significance to us Bengalis.

While I was happy to embrace my ethnicity, my ‘inherited’ Indian-ness has not always been easy to handle. I don’t mean to belittle all the love and care my parents have given me; but sometimes I think it is hard for parents to relate to the problems us teenagers go through. That may be because they lived and grew up in a simpler time. And certainly in the case of my own parents, they grew up in Kolkata, in India. But for me, and I know many other teens like me of Indian origin; maintaining and subscribing to our native identities, is hard. High school can be a mean and judgmental place. And this I found out when I started wearing regular Indian clothes to school here in the US.

My normal salwar-kameez, or even Bengali sarees I would love to and want to wear to special occasions at school; would be made fun of. We seem to live in a post 9/11 world that is not only harsh, but also ignorant at times. The perception in a large part of the Western World is quite skewed. Anything in a turban is a terrorist, anything in a kurta is a Paki. I have had to face all these slurs and more. There were times I would really sob and fight with my parents. They too were at a loss for how exactly to console me.

I guess it all boils down to a few things. One; you learn to be a bit thick-skinned. In fact the sooner you learn that, the better it is for you. Two; you make a group of friends that are either from similar ethnicity, or better still, with the few international students that are ‘aware’ and mature. And three; you just find it in you to embrace your culture with a pride that forms an armor around you. An invisible, metaphorical cocoon where you stay confident, proud, and unaffected. In the last few months, I have been able to do this. How? Because India is rising. The world is taking notice. And that is fast changing the way we are perceived, the world over.

Wearing traditional Indian clothes has become a euphemism for the immense pride I feel about my heritage and my home country. I am an Indian, and that is my proud identity!

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