“They make the wearer look so slim and sexy,” says Kolkata-based designer Preeti Jhawar who retails from designer stores like Ensemble in Mumbai.
Delhi-based designer Anju Modi says , “I once demonstrated it on stage. It looks good on the ramp. But…”
These designers are discussing the latest style of draping the sari. Move over petticoats, the quintessential feminine wear now has a new, masculine partner — trousers. The ying and yang of dressing.
Yes, the hep crowd no longer prefers draping the six yards over bulky petticoats. The demure saree is now all set for a transformation, in keeping with the busy lifestyle of the modern woman, for whom comfort matters as much as classic chic.
So, the bulky petticoat which for generations served the dual purpose of keeping the saree tucked in and modesty, is being given the heave-ho. The place is now being reserved for the trendy trousers. “It’s a trend and a major one as socialites, models and just about everybody is now preferring to wear trousers underneath the saree. Even chudidars are popular with many,” says Shaina N C who showed the same at the Saree Drape in Hyderabad last year. After experimenting with double length saree for select clientele, the Mumbai-based designer seems to have voted for this trend.
A comfortable style, they all say, but then is it really? How would you deal with the practical problem of taking it off if you have to visit the restroom? Preeti is clueless about how. “God knows,” she says, “maybe they could put a zipper or something…” Even Chintan, a Mumbai based designer seems stumped. He guesses that a pre-stitched saree would be the answer.
Besides extolling the comfort value, Shaina too is unaware of the practical difficulties. “Since you tuck the pleats into the trouser, you don’t have to fear it falling off.” Right, but it still poses that practical problem — can you strut around in a saree tucked into a trouser the whole day long? Or is it just a glamour wear that you primp up in for a few hours of exotica? Can you comfortably wear a saree over trousers or chudidars and still perform all your activities?
When in doubt, consult the experts. In this case, the original diva of fashion, Shobhaa De, who long dispensed with the petticoat but didn’t replace the bulky wear with the slimmer trousers. Shobhaa shimmered around at high society dos, slim figure silhouetted in a saree and nothing else. Just a plain old nada around the waist and lo, the saree stays in place. Practicality meets glamour, 21st century style.
The ’90s woman pushed the saree to the back of her cupboard as being too traditional and impractical for the bustle of the work place, but the 21st century woman is willing to give this symbol of traditional Indian beauty its due place in the wardrobe. With modifications, to suit her needs. So the petticoat, which is seen as too bulky, too restricting and just too unglamorous is consigned to the back of the wardrobe. Just think how it hides all the curves (of course, lard too). But if you take the trouble to work out and have a well-toned figure, why hide it behind yards of material? A trouser or chudidar beneath gives a far more sexier and slimmer silhouette and makes you feel a part of the glamorous set.
The six yards of saree hasn’t had so much attention focussed on it since Zandra Rhodes tried to westernise this quintessential Indian garment in the ’80s. But now the saree is all set for another revival. In today’s world of flux where the east blends seamlessly with the west, it is but natural that the sari’s new partner is the trouser. Just think how much more comfortable Vijayshanthi will now be executing all her stunts. Just leap up and kick, secure in the knowledge that the trousers won’t trip you.