Welcome back! We were saying the Nivi style last week in various parts of India. Cining with the theme, The nivi drape starts with one end of the sari tucked into the waistband of the petticoat. The cloth is wrapped around the lower body once, then hand-gathered into even pleats just below the navel. The pleats are also tucked into the waistband of the petticoat They create a graceful, decorative effect which poets have likened to the petals of a flower.
After one more turn around the waist, the loose end is draped over the shoulder The loose end is called the pallu or pallav. It is draped diagonally in front of the torso. It is worn across the right hip to over the left shoulder, partly baring the midriff. The navel can be revealed or concealed by the wearer by adjusting the pallu, depending on the social setting in which the sari is being worn. The long end of the pallu hanging from the back of the shoulder is often intricately decorated. Some nivi styles are worn with the pallu draped from the back towards the front.
The Nivi saree was popularised through the paintings of Raja Ravi Verma. by modifying the south indian saree called mundum neriyathum. In one of his painting the Indian subcontinent was shown as a mother wearing a flowing nivi saree.
Lets see how the Nivi style has expanded across the subcontinent in the areas of Pakistan and Sri Lanka
In Pakistan, the wearing of saris has almost completely been replaced by the shalwar kameez for everyday wear, though it remains a popular dress for formal functions, especially weddings amongst the Pakistani elite, and is currently gaining interest. sari is sometimes worn as daily-wear, mostly in Karachi, by those elderly women who were used to wearing it in pre-partition India and by the some of the new generation who have re-introduced the interest of saris. The reason why the sari lost popularity in Pakistan, was due to it being viewed as a Hindu dress. Although she was seen wearing them Fatima Jinnah, the "Mother of the Nation", called the sari "unpatriotic" and Pervez Musharraf's wife stated that she never wears them.
Sri Lankan women wear saris in many styles. However, two ways of draping the sari are popular and tend to dominate; the Indian style (classic nivi drape) and the Kandyan style (or 'osaria' in Sinhalese). The Kandyan style is generally more popular in the hill country region of Kandy from which the style gets its name. Though local preferences play a role, most women decide on style depending on personal preference or what is perceived to be most flattering for their figure.
The traditional Kandyan (Osaria) style consists of a full blouse which covers the midriff completely, and is partially tucked in at the front as is seen in this 19th century portrait. However, modern intermingling of styles has led to most wearers baring the midriff. The final tail of the sari is neatly pleated rather than free-flowing. This is rather similar to the pleated rosette used in the 'Dravidian' style noted earlier in the article.Thats all from us in this series on Sarees from the subcontinent.