Thursday, February 14, 2008

Subcontintental Sarees

Having seen a how the South Indian silk saree industry is, lets focus our attention to the saree market in general in the subcontinent. There are many style in wearing the saree, and the most common style is for the sari to be wrapped around the waist, with one end then draped over the shoulder baring the midriff. Ok, thats fine, but is the sari worn over something? Yes it is, The sari is usually worn over a petticoat (pavada/pavadai in the south, and shaya in eastern India), with a blouse known as a choli or ravika forming the upper garment. The choli has short sleeves and a low neck and is usually cropped, and as such is particularly well-suited for wear in the sultry South Asian summers. Cholis may be "backless" or of a halter neck style. Infact there is a very famous Indian number on “cholis” from an erstwhile hindi flick called Khalnayak. These saris across the subcontinent are usually more dressy with a lot of embellishments such as mirrors or embroidery and may be worn on special occasions.
However, the sari can be draped in several different styles, though some styles do require a sari of a particular length or form.

Some basic classifcations of Saris can be the following

Nivi – This style originally worn in Tamil Nadu; besides the modern nivi, there is also the kaccha nivi, where the pleats are passed through the legs and tucked into the waist at the back. This allows free movement while covering the legs. So if you happen to visit India sometime this summer, and are beach bumming at Mahabalipuram, do take some time off to visit Chennai, where you should be exposed to quite a few interesting designs.

North Indian/Gujarati – From the southern part of India to the western part, we find that the Gujrati style differs from the nivi only in the manner that the loose end is handled: in this style, the loose end is draped over the right shoulder rather than the left, and is also draped back-to-front rather than the other way around. Right now, we dont have pictures, but I will ask a few of my Indian friends to respond.

Thats it for this week. Keep cued in to FN and this blog for more updates on Indian saree classifications and some from Asia.

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