Fifty Shades of a Sari

For her signature collection of saris,television host Mandira Bedi has played on fabric and colour

Written by Kimi Dangor | Published: August 20, 2013 5:11 am

Her “noodle” strap blouses garnered more attention than her knowledge of batting averages when Mandira Bedi made her debut as a television show host with the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003. But there is no denying that the saris she donned — by Ritu Kumar and Satya Paul — were appreciated.

Having been synonymous with the six-yard wonder ever since,it isn’t surprising that Bedi will launch her own line of saris under her eponymous label Mandira Bedi this September. “Sari is usually my garment of choice whenever I want to put my best foot forward. One may not have the body for a gown or a short dress,but every woman looks most elegant in a sari,” says Bedi,who will debut her line of drapes at the Trousseau Araaish show (September 3-4) in Mumbai.

Although she always enjoyed collecting and wearing saris,it was only about a year ago that Bedi walked into a fabric shop,bought yardage and designed her first-ever sari. “It was a tissue georgette sari with a border,in shades of peach,white and gold,” recalls Bedi. Yet,Bedi initially laughed off her husband’s suggestion to give designing a shot. “With full-time work and a two-year-old baby,I had no time for anything else,” she says.

Eventually,her Singapore-based sister-in-law convinced her to exhibit her line there later this year,but it took a phone call from Sharmilla Khanna,one of the curators of Trousseau Araaish,to have her explore the opportunity in Mumbai. “The exhibition has superb footfall. People come there with the intention to buy. And since it’s just in time for the festive season,it is the perfect platform to showcase the line,” says Bedi.

The exhibit will see Bedi display a collection of 100 saris replete with “drama and colour”. Not heavily embroidered,she has played on fabric and used hues such as fuchsia,turquoise,lime green,neon and coral. As for influencing buyers,Bedi prefers to do so by sporting her own designs as she did for a few episodes of Indian Idol Junior.

Celebrities such as Lara Dutta and Celina Jaitly have in the past launched their sari lines with fashion houses such as Chhabra 555 and Jashn,respectively,but Bedi insists she wants to do it her way. “Let me establish myself as a brand and if it’s met with some degree of success,there will be collaborations in future. Often,celebrities don’t design the saris in such set-ups,just approve them. I do everything from sourcing the fabric and scouting for borders to putting it together,” she insists.

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