When the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) decided on a sari-themed finale at the Lotus Make-Up India Fashion Week (LMIFW) in Delhi, they also invited women from all walks of life to participate in (yet another) sari hashtag project. However #sixyardsof, which kicked off on International Women’s Day, generated a stir on social media. “It’s not a novel idea,” admits Sunil Sethi, who heads the council, “but when an organisation like FDCI throws its might behind it, there is tremendous response.” The hashtag urged women to look at the garment in whatever way they pleased: from #sixyardsof magic to #sixyardsof mischief.
The finale will bring together 21 designers across generations — from Tarun Tahiliani and Anita Dongre to Sanjay Garg, Rohit Bal and Alpana & Neeraj — with each showing two saris each. “They will all show the drape in its modern avatar,” says Sethi, highlighting that the colour palette was limited to black, white, gold, silver and pastels, to bring about a kind of collation. And despite the tight deadline of less than three weeks, each designer has stayed true to the DNA of their brand. We pick five who don’t usually showcase the six yards on the runway, but are unveiling their visions today.
He says he first thought about what the sari meant to him. “It’s a malleable piece that a woman or a man can have in their wardrobes. Ultimately, it’s a piece of yardage. Its tour de force is the sheer adaptability,” says Aggarwal. So his focus is changing the drape to a structured form, with the use of metallic fabric (coated cloth that goes dense with the metallic layer, and develops body). One sari is black and gold, while the other is black and silver. “I broke it down: three metres are structured with pleated metallic fabric; the other three have structured embellishmentss.” For the Delhi-based designer — who says 30% of retail now constitutes sari purchases — mixing the traditional with the contemporary shows the evolution of the sari.
Gaurav Jai Gupta
Gupta, who has been dabbling in saris for a couple of years now, says it’s not about a historic reference. Which is why he has used metal, which is futuristic. “There are no pallus, borders, or motifs,” says the designer behind Akaaro. Most of our clothes, he believes, are assembled. “We pick the fabric from the weaver, add a border. We’ve not pushed the conversation in terms of what we could do visually or texturally.” He’s working with silver and gold, on a base of silk. Blouses are oversized, with long sleeves, and look like molten metal.
Sachdeva, of Bodice, says her saris are ready-to-wear silk garments. “It’s to make a wearer’s life simple,” she says. This means the inner skirt, the blouse and the sari itself are all one. But the sari will not look like a gown. In fact, “it looks unstitched; its functionality is not necessarily seen by others”. Fascinated by the French technique of ‘freezing’ pleats by heating polyester, so the plastic in the material melts and the pleats form (as pictured), Sachdeva used the binding technique to ensure the pleats are just so. Her drapes are in black and white as well as in sage and white. Another plus: her model is a size medium, a deviation from customary model sizes.