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Indian Saree: Everything You Wanted to Know Revered as the hallmark Indian women wear, sari has been

going strong since centuries in the sub-continent. Its an unstitched drape with a dimension of 2-9 yards of length & 24 ft in breadth. The saree has always been an expression of elegance & grace that have resulted in its heightened popularity not only across India but also internationally. Its rightly said that no other ethnic costume than saree can complement the feminine aura at its best. History of saree The term saree or sari has been derived from the Sanskrit word implying a cloth strip & Prakrit term s- that was being further corrupted to Hindi word sari. The ancient Jataka stories bear mention of Sattika women wear of ancient India which was somewhat equivalent to the contemporary sari. Ancient Indian history testifies to the prevalence of saree since the days of Indus Valley Civilization (2800 to 1800 BC) that flourished in western India. How the saree is worn? The saree is mainly draped around a petticoat and is worn with a tight fitting upper garment called choli or blouse or ravika. This blouse is generally cropped at midriff. It should be note that originally the saree cloth was just draped around the bare body, without any additional garments- it was the Chola reign of South India which introduced the blouse or choli system. The trendy Indian women love to have their cholis shaped in different interesting neck and backlines. Indian saree fabrics The Indian sarees are available in a wide variety of fabrics- ranging from cotton to silk to satin to georgette to crepe to chiffon to velvet and so on. The contemporary Indian sari market even extends drapes made from jute.

Indian saree design The saree wear comes in a wealth of designs to pick from. You will get printed sarees, embroidered sarees in threadwork and zariwork as well as sarees studded with stones, pearls, crystals etc. Albeit saree originated centuries ago yet it doesnt imply that the saree scene has not updated itself as per the trendy aspirations. Added to traditional designs, the contemporary Indian sarees also carry urbane motifs like Aztec prints or geometrical patterns -assuring the perfect edgy look even with an archaic wear. The best bits about Indian saree o Enhances feminine grace The Indian damsels are famous for their gorgeous hourglass shape and saree is the ideal wear to complement their stunning feminine grace at its best. The unstitched drape wraps around the body beautifully accentuating the hourglass shape like probably no other apparel can. Famous Indian couturier once remarked- The saree is the most versatile garment in the world. It can, with a sweep of the head, be conservative or with a flash of the navel, trendy. o Elegant & classy Saree epitomizes Indian women wear and represents the flawless elegance of rich Indian culture. Its one of the rare apparels which can be classy and chic simultaneously. Given its exclusively sophisticated aura, saree has been able to amaze the Western world as well a bevy of Hollywood celebrities like Pamela Anderson, Ashley Judd etc. have preferred the Indian saree for some of their special public appearances. o Suits any shape A great bit about the Indian saree is that the drape is meant to match up with any sort of portfolio. It complements a petite frame with the equal ease & beauty of draping a slender portfolio- thus enabling women of any shape to don and shine in the gorgeous attire.

o Matches Indian climate Saree is the perfect women wear evolved in accordance with the hot and humid ambience presented by the sub-continent. As the drape bares the midriff, it creates a breezy feel for the wearer even she is draped right from the shoulder to the feet. Draping styles Probably there is no other apparel than saree that can flatter the body is so many diverse ways- Its to note here that sari can be draped in as many as 80 varied styles. o Nivi style The nivi style is the most popular style of draping a saree today. In this case, one edge of the drape is tucked into petticoats waistband followed by a drape around lower half once then it is hand-gathered into a number of even pleats tucked into the waistband again. The pleats create a very graceful sight which many poets have compared to fine flower petals. The loose edge of the drape, called pallu, is further draped diagonally over shoulder. The midriff stays revealed & the navel could be revealed as well or concealed with little adjustment on the pallu. The Nivi style actually originated in Andhra Pradesh in the form of kaccha nivi drape -where the saree pleats were passed through legs & tucked into waistband at back. o The other styles of drapes include- Bengali & Oriya style, Rajasthani/Gujrati style, Konkani, Madisar, Kodagu, Gobbe, Gond, Malayali, tribal style & Kunbi style. o The contemporary fashion scene & Bollyeood divas have brought along some very trendy and dramatic draping styles- Lehenga style saree, double style saree, IndoWestern style, Mermaid style and Mumtaz style. The Indo-Western style is generally tried over a trouser instead of the conventional petticoat. Occasions to wear Indian sarees

Indian sarees can complement almost any occasion. Whether its a traditional puja ceremony or a wedding or an office meet or a formal dinner or some lavish parties- saree is always a magnificent choice given its poised & sophisticated aura. Indian women even wear saree in their day-to-day activities. While silk sarees are mostly preferred for grand traditional occasions, the georgette, chiffon, velvet, satin & net drapes serve the best for formal arrangements. The cotton sarees are comfortable for regular wear in the hot & humid Indian climate. The Indian style divas (read Bollywood heroines) mostly prefer to don an Indian saree these days for the red carpet while attending the international film festivals or cultural seminars. Royal patronage received by Indian saree Since its evolution centuries back, the Indian saree has nourished much under royal patronage in different parts of the subcontinent. The Mughal era popularized the zardousi sarees. Actually these medieval rulers believed in opulence which was grandly echoed in the gaudy golden zari artwork of the zardousi sarees. This gorgeous Zardousi craftsmanship especially flourished during the reign of great Mughal Emperor Akbar. Then there was Bengals Tant drape which received huge patronage from Murshidabad Nawabs. The South Indian kingdoms also appreciated the unstitched drape- as mentioned earlier, it was the Chola dynasty that introduced choli system with saree. The Pallavas introduced the style of draping the sari till shoulder & hence the loose end hanging from the shoulder is termed as pallu after the Pallavas. Maheswari sarees were highly patronized by the Maratha dynasties. It was Ahilyabai Holkar, the famous Maratha queen who introduced Maheswari silk sarees with gorgeous zari motifs. The western royals of the subcontinent like Baroda, Gwalior & Nagpur

regimes are credited for the heightened brandishing of Chanderi sarees- that were heavily appreciated stretching as far as the eastern zone to Bengal. The Jodhpur dynasties must be mentioned for their popularization of the very chic and classy wispy French styled chiffon sarees, which are still a favorite of the modern-day Rajput queens. Famous Indian saree designers The Indian fashion designing scene has taken up a lot of endeavor to revive and maintain the classic aura of sarees- thanks to the iconic Indian couturiers the Indian saree is making waves in the global style scene as well. Ritu Kumar- It was the esteemed couturier lady Ritu Kuman who was the first to successfully revive saree in the fashion scene. Kumar is heavily credited for the revival of the lost Zardousi work in 1970, that was once so popular in the Mughal era. Satya Paul- Satya Paul is another name of repute in the Indian saree scene. Splashed in vibrant hues, Pauls sarees are a celebration of contemporary free-spirited smart Indian women. Sabyasachi Mukherjee- Indian saree would stay forever indebted to Sabyasachi Mukherjee for its esteemed position in the contemporary style scene today. The iconic Bengal designer brought a modern twist on sari designs introducing a bohemian feelmixing the abstract feel with indigenous methods such as block printing, gotawork, hand dyeing , bandhani etc. The other great names in the Indian saree fashion scene are Manish Malhotra, tarun Tahiliani, Masaba Gupta, Gaurang Shah etc. Online portals for saree shopping The momentous popularity of sarees has led to the evolution of many saree stores over the virtual space. The internet saree stores are mostly the virtual face of some famous

brick & mortar saree house while independent saree stores are available as well. The virtual saree portals today are no less than their land based counterparts & offer a versatile selection of modern as well as traditional sarees to pick from. Online saree shopping is getting really popular enabling you to browse, choose, buy & get your saree delivered right at your doorstep. Many of these online stores promise a global reach enabling easy saree shopping for internationally settle sari connoisseurs as well.