You might be a proud owner of a Sabyasachi or a Tarun Tahiliani sari but if you don’t know how to drape it well, consider it a waste of your money. A lot of the elegance of a woman in a sari lies in the fall of the outfit and this is where drape artist Dolly Jain comes in.
Not only has she got an impressive clientele, but she also holds the Guinness World Records for draping a sari in 18.5 seconds.
Jain, who knows how to style it in 325 ways, explains how she fell in love with draping. “I got married to a family where I was allowed to wear only saris. I thought to myself, ‘if this is my garment and I have to wear only one thing, then let me style it well’, and that’s when I started to drape saris differently.”
Speaking about her journey, she says, “It wasn’t easy at all because people then were not open to the idea of a drape artist and to make a career out of it was very difficult. The profession was not really given due respect but I followed my passion. Things have certainly changed now. More and more people come to me, seeking advice and appreciate me for my work.”
In an interview with indianexpress.com, the artist opens up about how she works with the texture of a sari, what brides-to-be should always remember and her favourite look of all times.
You were part of the four most extravagant weddings of 2018. Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Sonam Kapoor and Isha Ambani all looked beautiful. Were there any particular requirements from their side?
All the celebrities with whom I have worked with, be it Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra or Sonam Kapoor, I have always seen them as a bride first and a celebrity later. I always attend to all my brides in an impeccable manner, giving them the best that I have. So, I do not feel any pressure when I am dealing with celebrity brides. However, what they wear is always scrutinised. So, it was a mix of their particular styles and my creativity.
You know 325 ways to drape a sari. How do you zero down on a style?
Firstly, I need to know about the look the bride wants and also her personal style. For instance, Deepika prefers the fabric to be left loose on her arm, rather than pinning it up.
If a bride likes to go for a more ‘tucked in’ look, I style her sari with a pinned-up pallu, something she would be comfortable in. Having said that, the draping style also depends on the blouse and the jewellery. At most times, I decide on the spot.
Out of the four brides, who was the one open to experimentation?
All the four brides, Deepika, Priyanka, Sonam and Isha all excel in their respective fields, in their own ways and they were sure about the way they wanted to look on their most special day. They clearly conveyed to me the kind of drape they preferred and I gave them the magical version of what they desired.
What are the new trends we should be looking out for when it comes to sari-draping? And which style is your favourite?
The new trend to look out for would be a Benarasi sari on a pair of denim. I recently tried this and I completely loved it. We usually see a Benarasi sari draped either on a lehenga or an underskirt, but this is very unusual and a good way to attract the younger generation to the six yards fabric we all are so proud of. I also like the Roman style of draping a Kanjeevaram sari.
Take a look at some of the sari/lehenga-draping videos by Jain:
It’s difficult to choose but do you have any particular look which has made you proud?
Years back, when I once draped the late Bollywood icon, Sridevi, she had greatly appreciated my work and said, “Dolly you have magic in your fingers and you should take this up as a profession.” Much later, I got the chance to drape her again during the promotion of her film, Mom in Kolkata. I had given her a Bengali style drape and she completely did justice to it. This particular look that I styled for the then living legend, really made me proud.
Any styling tips for brides-to-be?
Keep double-lock safety pins handy to secure your sari. Fix a pearl or a shirt button in the pin so that you avoid tearing your precious sari.
Use underarm pads so that you do not leave sweat stains in your blouse. These days, designers are giving equal importance to the blouses as much as the sari, hence taking care of the blouse is very essential.
Wear your heels before wearing the sari as the length of the sari might make you trip.
Always be particular to attach a fall in the sari, however beautiful the backing might be. It always protects the sari from tearing.
Use a steam iron to even out the creases of the sari, instead of a regular flat iron. Get it ironed just before you are going to drape it as it gives a crisp look.