My love affair with sarees began when I was three. My mother used to spread her collection of sarees on the bed, and I used to wrap them around me and strut around the house. In fact, I learned to wear a saree just by copying my mother and soon I could tie a saree on my own.
Growing up in the eighties, with my father working in a modestly paid government firm, my mother used to give us handkerchiefs to teach us hemming, embroidery, and stitching during summer vacations. She used to stitch clothes for us at home so that we looked good without paying the earth.
The other big influence for my love for the saree was the movie “Chandni”. Seeing Sridevi in those gorgeous sarees reinforced my bond with the nine yards of heavenly wear. Whenever I wore sarees, I used to get compliments. Sarees became my default wear whenever I wanted to look good.
My third big influence was my training in architecture. It helped me get a sense of color and aesthetics that has stood me in good stead.
I am a professional make up artist now. I get to meet a lot of people who wear designer sarees. I used to envy people wearing these designer clothes. But now I take pride in wearing my own designs and I love it when I receive compliments. I remodel the sarees I own so that they look modern and completely different from the usual fare.
Bought this polka dot South Indian saree from a very small vendor in one of the Diwali Melas for 400rs.The blouse was bought from Ahmedabad from Law garden, roadside stall for 250rs.These blouses are very raw with unfinished work and just like a rough piece of cloth with hand Kutchi embroidery. But they look great.So I finished the embroidery by hand and added extra black cloth on the ends of the blouse with normal thread stitching in different colors to make it look finished and it can be done at a very low cost.Finally completed the look with Bangles bought from Sarojini Nagar market for 250rs and loop earrings from Lajpat Nagar for 200rs.The whole look costed me about 2500rs.
So why do I design my sarees? Over the years, my taste has evolved to point where I like only designer clothes, but I hate paying exorbitant prices for them. And so I started designing my own 6 yards collection. They cost less. And they look great. And I get the satisfaction of having created something completely new and unique which no one else owns. Nothing beats the feeling of hearing those magical words, “I love your saree”.
I scour the narrow lanes of Delhi to source my accessories and materials. I also go to small bazaars and exhibitions where I can pick up amazing cloth pieces at bargain prices. I love to buy sarees from small weavers because they are genuine, and I get them at a good price. I always redesign them so that it reflects my personality. The material of sarees that I own has to be pure – no synthetic stuff for me. Also, I like sarees that are hand embroidered, hand painted, or hand woven. Every time I wear a saree, I like to wear a new blouse with it. It can change the complete look of a saree.
Redesigned this saree, gifted by my mom 20yrs back during my wedding…giving it a classy, contemporary look.
The border was bought in pieces from a Suneet Verma stock clearance sale, embroidered the patches together to make it look like one. And finally got the fringes lace stitched on the pallu and the blouse sleeves.
Completed the look with blue stone earrings, metal clutch, and my favorite hairstyle.(hair tied into buns)
Coco Chanel says, “A girl should be two things: Classy and fabulous”. I think Indian women look most classy and fabulous when they wear a saree.