Nothing defines an Indian woman so strongly as the sari; it is the quintessential Indian female garment. Its sheer simplicity is its elegance. The sari creates a picture of flowing grace that conceals as much as it reveals.
Despite the onslaught of indo-western and fusion wear, traditional Indian sari continues to hold sway amongst the designers and wearers alike. For it is the only unstitched garment in the world that is modestly sensuous and elegantly conservative. Its simplicity and the free flow of its drape that enhances any wearer`s body makes the sari a coveted piece of fabric in any woman`s wardrobe.
The sari simply cannot lose its charm. The possibilities that this piece of six-yard fabric offers in draping your body are countless. It is elegant, sensual and sexual that hides all, yet reveals to tease. The basic fact is that it suits all body types and can be draped to highlight one`s best points to an advantage.
Whatever may be the fashion trends every year, designers cannot ignore importance of sari in a woman`s wardrobe. While the traditional prints, fabrics, texture and motifs continue to hold its own in the market, but every year the leading designers bring out their interpretation of this six-yard wonder fabric.
This year during the two Fashion Weeks, leading designers like Ritu Kumar, Tarun Tahiliani, Satya Paul, Sabyasachi introduced collections that were clean, fresh and minimalist in design. Favorite fabric this season continued to be chiffon, crepe, lightweight silk and some handloom fabric.
One interesting fact to note is that designers this showcased different drape style with the Sari. Ritu Beri during Lakme India Fashion Week actually put a net short dress over a draped sari to give it the silhouette of a gown. Likewise designer Tarun Tahiliani draped the pallav such to give the impression of an empire line gown. Meanwhile designer Gaurav Gupta gave an offbeat touch to the sari by embellishing the pallav.
Wearing it Now
Well, there is the regular nivi drape, which is the most common way of wearing sari today. This is where you tie the sari an inch below the navel and put the pleats in the front while draping the pallav over your left shoulder. In this case, the fashion statement is how you decide to drape the pallav.
The most regular way is to drape it loosely over your left shoulder. Another variation is to take the pallav from your left shoulder behind your neck and over your right shoulder and leave it flowing free like a shawl. Create a different fashion statement by clinching the pallav that you have brought around the shoulder with a broad golden belt to give the impression of a halter neck. Wear this style with a spaghetti blouse or a sleeveless choli for maximum impact.
The other popular way is the Gujarati way of wearing a sari. One way to dress up this style is to use double pallav, which looks great for some formal occasion. You can even take the pallav and drape it over both your shoulders like a dupatta. This style looks great with chiffon or crepe saris rather than cottons.
Another style that was popularised by Aishwarya Rai in Devdas is the Bengali drape. In this the sari is tucked in at the left side and then folded back to the right to form an apron. Finally it is encircled around the back to come out below the right arm. Then the pallav was then thrown on the left shoulder and kept in place with a heavy key ring.
While you can wear your sari with the conventional blouse (make sure that it is stitched to fit and does not hang loose at the shoulder). Most designers this year have innovated on the blouse and petticoat. For parties you can pair your sari with a bustier or a backless choli. Sharmila Tagore blouses of the Aradhana days are also back in fashion and look great on small frame women. This season Sabyasachi also popularized the churi sleeved and voluminous sleeved choli to go with a printed cotton or silk sari.
A caution on petticoats. Heavier women should avoid wearing voluminous petticoats. It is better to get them custom-made to fit body size and in A-line. Another way to create a nice silhouette is to get the underskirt stitched with a mermaid fall. It looks great with silks and chiffons and great for enhancing the hour-glass figure.