Saree fashion has arrived in a big way, in India and internationally, and it is here to stay. It is not at all surprising that the elegant sari outfit, which has been around for centuries, has become a hot and trending fashion item. The sophistication, grace and femininity of this garment cannot be matched by any other Indian garment and it even gives western outfits stiff competition in terms of beauty and sensuality. In fact the unique thing about a saree, which endears it to varying customer bases, is that it can be modest and sensual, simple and elaborate, traditional and modern, all at once. From modern Indian women to international fashionistas, one can find fashionable sarees to appeal to a lot of different palettes and requirements.
For many women, the appeal of the saree lies in its vibrancy and ethnic beauty. The sarees in fashion often tend to be the specific regional varieties, discovered and popularized by actresses and fashion designers. A great example would be the magnificent Kanjeevaram sarees from south India, made of the finest silk and gold threads, with beautiful zari borders and ethnic designs. This type of sari fashion never goes out of style as is evident by the fact that Kanjeeveram sarees are often passed down from one generation to the next. Other trendy traditional saree styles include the Banarasi saree, the Paithani saree and the Jamdani saree.
While there is a plethora of regional, traditional sarees to explore and choose from, one can also find a lot of new fashion sarees influenced by more contemporary and western styles. The saree has not remained static over all these years and its burgeoning popularity with international customers has further contributed to the evolution of ‘fashion sarees’ with more innovative patterns and trendy designs. The latest saree fashion is to opt for easy to wear variations which are much simpler to drape and carry, though looking just as sophisticated and chic as a traditional saree. For instance, the pre-stitched saree is as easy to wear as a skirt and comes in a vast range of designs and colors. Other options include the lehenga saree, the half-saree, the pant saree and the saree gown.
Another new saree fashion is the use of non-traditional materials like georgette, chiffon, net, velvet and satin. Net and velvet, in particular, are very trendy right now, with many fashion designer sarees beautifully utilizing these fabrics to create gorgeous layers of embellished materials for the skirt and the pallu. Chiffon, too, has become an integral part of Indian saree fashion. Chiffon sarees are often plain and unadorned; this is a departure from the heavily ornamented traditional styles, but that does not take away from the sensuality and glamour at all. This increased use of net and chiffon as well as other translucent materials like lace, Chanderi cotton, fine silk and thin georgette is all a result of the sheer saree fashions dominating Bollywood and television.
In terms of colors too, the focus has shifted from the Indian palette of red, yellow, green and blue to include bolder multi-hued sarees, neon sarees and dual tone sarees. Red, black and silver sarees are considered amongst the most glamorous patty wear options, especially when studded with sequins, stones and other dazzling embellishments. On the other hand, undiscovered regional embroidery and embellishment work is increasingly being utilized by ‘nationalistic’ designers who want to bring Indian artisans to the fore. Therefore the latest sarees in fashion often have traditional work like zari, Resham, cutdana, gota patti, aari and booti etched upon them and/or are made with intricately woven regional materials like khadi, Uppada silk, brocade, Chanderi cotton and much more.
Styles and Trends
No saree look can be considered complete or fashionable without the perfect matching accessories, and here too, there are a plethora of traditional and modern options to choose from. For instance, with casual wear sarees, the latest trend is to go completely bold with large, chunky jewelry. Options like wooden bangles, terracotta necklace sets and antique metal jewelry will add a funky ethnic vibe to a new fashion saree with printed tribal designs or regional hand block prints like Ikat. In terms of evening wear, the styling would depend on the occasion and the saree itself. For instance, a fashion yellow saree with traditional zari designs will pair well with gold jewelry while a plain yellow chiffon one should be matched with pearl jewelry.
The latest fashion in sarees is to experiment with blouse designs to create a bold and dramatic style statement. This trend started off with the use of unexpected (for that time) cuts and daring silhouettes. This included halter neck, sleeve-less, spaghetti, key-hole neck and corset style blouses. Of late the trend has been reversed somewhat, with the more vintage styles like full sleeves, high neck, collar neck, backless cholis and dori tie-ups coming back into fashion.