Sheer magic woven by deft hands on a simple handloom, the whispers of a bashful bride, the princess’ heritage, the panache of a modern diva…! Many similar connotations could describe the sari. The sari has always been a connoisseur’s delight and a woman’s fascination. Since times immemorial, the long, rectangular piece of drape has caught the imagination of women as well as of handloom weavers in the Indian subcontinent. Its inherent mystique has gifted it with the power to control its destiny and survive for well over millennia.
Sari is a versatile piece of fabric – which could be anywhere between four to nine yards long. In the multifaceted diversity of Indian society, it has embraced different castes, communities and cultures together in its folds as a common form of apparel. From traditional ceremonies to a very functional everyday wear, the sari is a popular attire for almost every occasion. It is also the longest surviving garment style in the world’s history of textiles. And is still going strong. Woven saris are the most celebrated creations of Indian handlooms.
Locating the sari within its historical and socio-cultural contexts, the book charts the journey of this unstitched garment over the ages. It unfolds the mesmerizing woven lengths of the sari, together with the flawless skills of the Indian master weavers and craftsmen, who created them. It captures, through interviews with weaver communities, the whole range and scale of sari: its structures, designs, colours, formats, and technology that goes into its creation. The book also carries the views of sari aficionados, including prominent women from the corporate world; well-known film stars, dancers and artists; besides of the leading designers, who have turned sari into an exclusive fashion statement. The book is a visual treat.
Soha Parekh: the Mumbai-based author, has serious interests in textiles, Indian arts, culture, craft traditions, and lifestyles with a contemporary emphasis. She is Director, Rayon Group of Companies.