It’s truly astounding how six metres of fabric has collectively captured the human imagination for centuries.
The mention of six metres of fabric is synonymous with a reference to the Indian saree but a glace at pictorial depictions of ancient Greece and Italy reveal that while the Indians may have created the saree as we know it today, early Mediterranean inhabitants often wore similarly draped versions of the garment in different styles.
For those who can’t be bothered with a tedious history lesson, a quick image search of clothes from movies like Gladiator or 300 will confirm the analysis in a more interesting and entertaining way. And just so you feel like you haven’t completely wasted your time and energy with that little bit of trivia, think of it as a guaranteed icebreaker for when you want to chat up that cutie at the next toga party pub-crawl.
Historical origins aside the saree is an absolute classic which like a true style chameleon will transform and mould itself with the times but will never become out-dated. The draped wonder underwent a slight dip in popularity for a few years when it was relegated to the wardrobes of older ladies and frumpy matrons as a uniform at family weddings. But thanks to the reappearance of Bollywood period dramas and some fresh styling talent, designer sarees have become the flavour du jour as more and more young and enterprising fashionistas are opting for sarees with a modern and exciting twist.
The Bollywood saree designs conjured up by magicians of Indian fashion are all about reinvention and the love of luscious vintage appeal that creates transformational cinematic experiences and makes the audiences fall in back love with the ubiquitous saree. Our favourites are the ones that made historical or fictitious characters leap out of the screen and had us rummaging through our mom’s and grandmom’s wardrobes for some of their much loved traditional weaves to be styled with some very contemporary blouses and accessories. And of course the fail-safe ethereal georgette and net sarees that have the ability to make every woman feel like an enchantress.
If you watched Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus unfold on screen there is very little chance that your didn’t walk out of the theatre drooling over Anju Modi’s designer sarees that adorned the two gorgeous actresses. From Deepika’s strong and powerful yet understated warrior princess drapes to Priyanka’s majestic and royal gold woven sarees fit for a Peshwa queen, every scene was a lesson in how to make classical sarees look unbelievably cool and on point.
Moving from decidedly ancient to utterly modern, Alia Bhatt essayed the role of the fiercely independent and strong headed South Indian lass Ananya who loves her denim shorts and banarasi sarees and carries both off effortlessly. Styled by Manisha Malhotra whose celebrity designer sarees are a favourite amongst all of Bollywood’s leading ladies, Ananya’s looks were the epitome of balance between modern and conventional. Pairing brightly coloured South Indian sarees with minimalistic jewellery, contrasting borders and stylish blouses was a masterstroke making the long forgotten traditional woven beauties extremely wearable and trendy again.
Now if you’re the absolutely non-traditional sort and like your Indian wear with a hint of sexy and sultry then Deepika’s blue saree in Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani is everything you need from a Bollywood saree design. The deep blue hued saree worn dangerously low with a contrasting backless blouse is sure to have heads spinning. Another Bollywood saree design by Manish Malhotra in his signature style of simple embellishments and provocative cuts that can easily be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.
Image source: styleblog.g3fashions.in, fashionlady.in, craftsvilla.com, fashionnation.in, journal.violetstreet.com, ibnlive.com, bollywoodlife.com