The Right Blendhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/the-right-blend-2/

The Right Blend

Combining the drape of the sari with the fuss-free fall of the cocktail dress,the sari gown is now more popular than ever before

Two months ago when Deepika Padukone put in an appearance on a television show as part of promotions for her film Chennai Express,the Bollywood actor made heads turn with her sartorial choice. Clad in a peach silk outfit,Padukone looked resplendent. The garment with a narrow pallu,which looked like a sari,was in fact a one-piece outfit — the sari gown. So well-received was the ensemble that designer Sonaakshi Raaj,a young name in the fashion industry,got swamped with orders for similar silhouettes. “Bollywood exerts a strong pull when it comes to fashion trends and with Deepika and even Sonam Kapoor wearing sari gowns,their popularity has extended beyond India. I have been getting orders for the sari gown from the UK,the US and Canada,” she says.

Raaj is not the only one who is revelling in the success of this silhouette. The runway too is being dominated by the sari gown — a hybrid creation combining the elegance of a sari with the lure of an evening gown. In fact,recent editions of the couture week and the bridal week have been inundated with leading designers offering their take on the garment.

Among the first designers to have popularised the silhouette,designer Tarun Tahiliani claims to started work on the sari gown concept back in the ’90s. He asserts that the outfit is in keeping with his design studio’s “Indian Modern” philosophy,and his creation for Shilpa Shetty at her wedding reception back in 2009 made fashion headlines. “The sari embodies the originality and sensuality of drape; of fluidity and provenance; of age-old technique and modernity. My clothes are designed as contemporary silhouettes,which are culturally rooted and have traditional embroidery as the detailing,” says the couturier,who showed a sari gown inspired by The Great Gatsby at the Delhi edition of the Aamby Valley India Bridal Fashion Week this year.

Apart from contemporising the sari,creating a sari gown has also been about wanting to provide comfort and functionality to the wearer. Tahiliani’s famous protege Amit Aggarwal,who has championed the art of crafting structured garments,explains why his debut line of saris boasted of a gown-like form. “You can easily slip into one of these and move about comfortably,” he reasons. Designer Varun Bahl,whose collections have had a fair share of sari gowns,says that in today’s times when women are busier than ever before,a sari gown can be sported without going through the hassle of pleating and draping. “It’s the perfect attire for a cocktail or even a party,where you’re expected to dress up,without worrying that it will come loose,” says Bahl.

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With designers looking to experiment and offer something new,the garment is a result of an organic process. Mumbai-based designer Monisha Jaising,who has been playing with neon colours and crystal embellishments for her sari gowns,certainly seems to agree. “For me,it first started as a gown with a hint of a sari to it — the cut on one side at the midriff gave the garment a sari effect. I then decided to work on a reverse silhouette,one that comes across as a sari with an evening gown twist,” she says.

With the garment highlighting one’s curvaceous figure,it’s perhaps no wonder that the sari gown has won its admirers among the youth. The only drawback,Falguni Peacock — who has featured floral motifs and vintage laces in her sari gowns — says is that the outfit essentially works better as a made-to-measure garment. “This means that if you lose or gain weight,the fit can go wrong,” she warns.

However,Aparna Badlani of the Mumbai store Atosa vouches for the popularity of the silhouette among her clients. “We’ve received a great response to the sari gowns created by Amit Aggarwal,Raakesh Agarwal and Gaurav Gupta. I think it boils down to the fact that everyone wants to don the latest red-carpet look. The sari gown is a good fusion of the East and the West and is an outfit that is being lapped up this festive season,” she says.

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