A Silk saree is synonymous with tradition and it would hold its importance always despite all odds. No matter how modern or westernised a woman gets or how expensive a sari gets, a quintessential Kanjeevaram would always be worn for festivals or weddings or any other important ceremonies in any Indian family and would never go out of vogue. The eye for exquisite details and uncompromising stand on quality is what has earned Kanjeevaram silk its name.
Silk sarees are family heirlooms and the effort for the revival of kanjeevaram which is been taken up by the registry of sarees is a commendably genuine way of trying to bring back kanjeevarams in the life of a modern woman. The hope to show how old forms, colors and patterns can easily find new relevance in contemporary living is the purpose of The Registry of sarees, and revival of kanjeevaram movement.
Kausalya Satyakumar, Apoorva Sadanand and Ally Matthan together formed The Registry of Sarees which will have a two-fold approach — focussed learning events on indigenous techniques and second, lending support to struggling looms. It’s Ally Matthan who generated so much of enthusiasm amongst women all over India with the #100sareepact movement.
I was invited by my beautiful friend Arshia for attending this event and there was a talk by the evergreen beauty, Kausalya Satyakumar, who is an expert on textile.
This celebration of traditional art of weaving of Kanjeevarams was one of its kind where beautifully woven sarees were showcased brilliantly and what a marvel it was!! During the talk a lot of light was thrown on the making of kanjeevaram, the intricate motifs, the designs and the weaving of the Kanjeevarams.
The patterns and designs in the Kanjeevaram Sarees are inspired with images and scriptures in South Indian temples or natural features like leaves, birds and animal.
The registry of sarees has taken yali as its symbol which is a mythical creature and we usually chance to see this on the pillars of the temples of south India.
The Yali is a mythical creature that marries the regal will and fierceness of a lion, the strength and wisdom of an elephant and the graceful speed and elegance of the horse and the sharpness of an eagle. A symbol of intense protection that safeguards our most precious values. In doing so the whole of four creatures become more powerful than the individual being. Hence the symbol so strong since the effort is to keep the traditional art of weaving going, to safeguard our culture , to keep up the handicraft, handloom and the artisans. If it were not for this, India won’t have ever earned the recognition globally that it has, due to its deep rooted culture, heritage and architecture.
The Yali’s treasure chest had an interesting amalgamation of beautiful vintage sarees which had delicate interplay of motifs and very typically traditional colours like parrot green and various shades of greens, the brick red colour and many more. The beautiful saris in the equally complementing interiors of the Phoenix kessaku was a perfect visual treat and a sensual journey into the world of traditional Kanjeevarams. The typical motifs were Mayil-kannu (peacock eye), rudraksha’s, malli- moggu (jasmine drops) .
Each saree is a limited edition piece crafted in collaboration with the weaver’s inspiration and the designer’s inputs.
In her expert talk Kausalya said “there is no motif that is completely new, they have all evolved from the temple architecture and, again, they symbolise the confluence of different sects, different energies”. She told how peacock and chakram are representation of the Shaivism and vaishnavism respectively. The peacock is the vehicle of Lord Murugan , thus a representation of Shiva and chakra as we all know is the symbol of Lord Vishnu. These motifs are used in all forms of sarees, be it Orissa, Paithani, or, Benarasi saree but in different forms. The idea is to not dilute the traditional motifs, instead retain it and create an awareness, and thus adopt it in a more contemporary and trendy form and make it a part of our modern living.
As the splendid Kanjeevarams were laid out for delectation and as Kausalya went on giving the minutest of details of the sarees , I felt the beauty of the sarees had ensorcelled me. I am somebody who has hardly worn a Kanjeevaram but with the awareness increased my inclination to wear these work of art more often, for the love of labour apart from the charm it holds in its brilliance. So I chose to drape one of these black n gold over my animal printed top, this is more effortless style and this look can be carried off with ease even though you wear a Kanjeevaram.
The other one , ie, the green one is been woven in Korwai technique where the body and the border are two different colors and are joined using the third shuttle. Normally this is how Kanjeevaram sarees were woven, and it requires a third hand in the weaving and it used to be the child of the family, but with the abolition of child labour, it became difficult to employ one more working hand and that is why the sarees with Korwai technique are more expensive. So I chose to go on with the traditional look in this saree pairing it up with a brocade blouse for the festival and Pooja season that it is. here you go girls, what are you waiting for, dig in your mom’s wardrobe and pick out the old Kanjeevaram– time to revive and celebrate.
This is the season of festivities and celebration, mirth n cheer is in the air, and wherever you step out now, the first thought that crosses your mind is what are you going to gift to your friends and family. Everyone is gifting and we all talk about the art of gifting but do we really know or understand the concept, or, do we actually comprehend what is the ‘art of gifting’. I heard somewhere today on radio ” it is not the art of gifting, it’s the art of caring and sharing…” Indian handloom , weaving , and handicraft ….is getting no path to prosper or progress and bloom, instead it’s withering, dying and getting extinct. This is where your role starts and if a little thought goes before buying a gift this Diwali , then you would not be just gifting something to your friend but also a family of an artisan. Probably this Diwali you could gift a smile to a million dollar weaver who is perishing somewhere in the thin air with the smoke of the crackers.
Happy Deepawali to all of you and let there be light in the lives of all our fellow beings.
Be lofty as you celebrate and keep safe🙏🙏🙏💕❤️❤
I am wearing Kanjeevaram by – the Registry of Sarees
My friend Arshia is wearing a Ganga Jamuna Kanjeevaram ( her own collection)
Venue partner- Phoenix kessaku
Styling and direction and written by – Anuja Pandey