Whether it’s Raveena Tandon’s sultry orange saree in Tip Tip Barsa Paani, Sushmita Sen’s saucy silver saree in Main Hoon Na or Aishwarya Rai’s red and white saree of the Dola Re fame – Bollywood sarees are a gift that keeps on giving. But, now there is a new kid on the saree block and we cannot get enough. Yes, we are talking about bloggers and these wonderful women who conduct workshops on tying a saree! They have taken the traditional saree and made it their own with quirky drapes, t-shirt blouses, and so much more.
From the hallowed search section of social media, here are some of our favourite divas who’ve put their own spin on the classic drape and turned heads doing it.
The Sari Series
Their approach to saree blogging is exclusively their own – steering clear of the much raved about Bengali and Marathi schools of draping a saree, they delve deep to bring to you not-so-iconic draping styles from every corner of India. But it is not all traditional because whether it is styling a Gudakattu drape over a turtleneck or paring a Kuchipudi saree with a cross back snake print top – it is a 100% unique and drool-worthy!
But they are so much more than a saree draping tutorial channel. With three independent short films by Bon Duke, Q and Pooja Kaul, they have created an aura around sarees that elevates them from a mere piece of clothing to something with a life of its own- a heartbeat that beats to the tune of Indian women, their struggles, their aspirations, and the daily statements they make when they wrap a saree around themselves.
The Indian Draping Co.
Nikaytaa, the founder of the India Draping Co. has managed to create a beautiful movement by combining her three loves – identity, feminism, and sarees. From wearing sarees as dresses to incorporating pockets into her favourite saree, she is doing it all and how! If you, like us, are hopping at the idea of learning the art of draping from this mistress of sarees herself, you will be pleased to know that she hosts workshops designed to make you a draping pro ready to take on the world.
And what does she spend her time doing when she is not hosting workshops? Interestingly, nothing out of the ordinary- yet everything extra. She is a crusader of saree equality with a strong belief that sarees are a language that talks louder than gender and cast barriers. She is also the author of The Fluid Zine, a long-distance runner and an artist. Needless to say, she is definitely a smidge above the extraordinary!
Make sure to check out her book to learn five versatile and chic drapes sure to help you overcome your fear of draping. Oh also, the book doubles as a colouring book!
Ever drooled over Deepika Padukone’s effortless sarees and wished you could rock the same drapes? Well, thanks to celebrity drape artist, Dolly Jain, you can! A world record holder and Limca Award winner, her accolades speak for themselves. But if they didn’t, her whopping 325 (One for almost every day of the year!) styles of draping a saree would definitely do the job.
So, next time you find yourself surrounded by nine yards of fabric with not a clue in the world on how to drape them, don’t forget to check out her YouTube channel for some inspiration. From videos teaching you how to drape classic organza, Bengali, and Banarasi sarees to edgy tutorials that teach you everything from swapping out a petticoat for jeans to offsetting traditional sarees with metallic belts – there is no dearth of revolutionary styles tucked under Dolly’s belt!
She is even adored by Raveena Tandon and God knows that if there is one woman who knows her sarees, it is Ms Tandon!
Rta Kapur Chishti
Imagine a saree that magically transforms into palazzo pants, a pair of shorts, or a skirt – probably before you can complete reading this piece! Enter Rta Kapur Chishti – leading scholar of textiles, co-author and editor of ‘Saris: Tradition and Beyond,’ and all-round saree-draping magician of your dreams! She reimagines the traditional saree into a world of infinite draping possibilities without the use of a single stitch or cut!
This lady with her magical fingers can drape a saree in 108 mind-boggling ways to cover all occasions, personality types, and lifestyles. With a few deft and simple steps, Rta can seamlessly transform a saree into a voluminous long skirt, or a cotton saree into a gorgeous gown that looks as if it has been stitched to perfection. There is nothing she can’t possibly do with this unassuming length of cloth.
In a world where saree-wearing is reserved for special occasions, Rta effortlessly demonstrates the versatility and functionality of this beautiful garment. Historically, it has been a faithful companion to women in most parts of the country. Women in Jhansi were known to ride horses in sarees draped like shorts, or swim across rivers in a saree without any obstruction. Rta’s books and workshops are stunning documentations of the saree’s history and diversity. Concerned about the future of traditional textile communities, Rta also runs an enterprise called Tannbann that reaches out to weavers across different states who make sarees that bridge age-old traditions with contemporary aesthetics.
So if you are bogged down by that familiar dilemma of having nothing to wear, perhaps it is time to take a leaf out of Rta’s book. Walk into any room donning a style that is guaranteed to be original and turn heads everywhere! Not only are her techniques inventive, they also lend themselves to sustainable fashion choices of upcycling and generating zero waste - an absolute win-win in our book!
To Love Sarees is Human, To Drape Like a Pro is Divine!
Most modern Indian women fall into one of these three categories – love sarees but can’t drape them for love or life, love sarees but don’t love the done and overdone styles of draping or love sarees and wouldn’t change anything about them. All three leagues of extraordinary women have one thing in common, we all love sarees. They’re empowering, feminine, and there is nothing like wearing a saree to give you that extra boost of confidence on any day.
So, wherever you fall on the saree lover’s graph, these bloggers have got something in store for you. Want to wear a saree to a beach wedding? Check out Dolly Jain’s tutorial on how to drape a mermaid saree. Running a marathon but so over running shorts? Take inspiration from Nikaytaa of the Indian Draping Co.’s saree running ensemble that she rocks while completing 10k runs like a champ. Love sarees but are unwilling to part with your trusty black leggings? The Sari series presents you with the perfect solution with their Surguja North Dance Sari Drape that does away with the classic petticoat in favour of a pair of comfy leggings.
Needless to say, these iconic bloggers have reinvented the saree and brought it into the twenty-first century with all the grace and panache of their idols and just the right touch of their individual styles. They are fearless, experimental, and unquestionably, here to stay.
In closing, I would like to say, don’t be afraid to drape outside the lines! Honestly, there are no lines. And even if you are an ardent lover of classic drapes, these ladies might just leave you a convert.
Till the next post...