Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sari story

Delhi is obsessed with clothes. Every other day, a new apparel store is launched with claims of bringing to the city the latest fashion from domestic and international ramps. For the monetarily challenged, the street wear of Janpath and GK1 market ably supply cheap versions of popular clothing trends.Puneet Nanda, design head of Satya Paul, says, “Delhi spends a lot on clothes. But, does that mean we are well-dressed or fashionable? I think a lot of Delhiites are victims of fashion. That’s because they blindly follow trends and wear what might not look good on them.”
While we may not be completely in tune with what to wear and how to wear them, we do know much more than we used to. “It has more to do with exposure and the economy widening up and the average Delhiite becoming aware,” says Nanda. Which is also why international fashion and lifestyle magazines have made an entry here.For fashionistas, it’s not just about the clothes; accessories of every kind make or break an ensemble and Delhi has embraced the likes of Jimmy Choo, Salvatore Ferragamo, Georgio Armani and Louis Vuitton.But however much the fashionable Delhi woman experiments with dresses or pantsuits, there is one Indian garment that she will never throw out—the sari. While an earlier generation of women lived out lifetimes in it, younger women today are choosing to wear the sari as a statement. When it comes to a fancy night out or a special occasion, most women go back to the sari, albeit with an upgrade. While the traditional silks are still favoured for festivals, there’s a lot of organza, georgette and crepe making the rounds. The material has become flimsier, the embellishments and embroidery more unique. Weaves are being traded in for futuristic and thematic prints. Draping the cloth provocatively and teaming it up with designer blouses, Delhi’s women are proving that the sari can be sexy Fashion for Puneet Nanda means having an individual style: “I have my own way of doing things and am mostly in a white shirt and black trousers.

In fact, I often repeat my old shirts. I don’t have the time to think about how ‘fashionable’ I am,” says the design head of fashion powerhouse, Satya Paul. “About 15 years ago, fashion as a concept was unheard of. It’s a broad term and is relative. It’s not merely aping trends; it’s also what looks good and understanding the market. It is a vast canvas.”

Given that Satya Paul has reinvented saris and taken a traditional garment to the cutting edge of fashion, it’s natural that he says, “I don’t think that the sari will go away or die out. Tell me, if you have Rs 30,000, would you rather buy an Armani or Cavalli designer pantsuit that after five or 10 washes would look boring or would you rather spend it on a sari as a keepsake?”

Nanda says, “The thing is that most Indian women have large sizes and what looks good on them are saris. Most women are not in shape for trousers and, personally, I feel a trouser suit becomes crushed and looks unkempt. But then, if trouser brands are coming in, then a dent is bound to be created.”

As more women head out to work, they opt for pants as comfortable, practical daily wear. “However, the elegance and grace of a sari has no match. You can wear the same sari that you have been wearing the whole day to an after-work party,” he says.

On the whole, he says that Delhi’s dress sense is evolving, largely due to the fact that there is a lot happening in the metro, from parties to cultural events to family outings. “There is a need for people to dress well in big cities as more events happen here. There’s a lot of exposure too in metros and Delhi people are well paid


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