BENGALI AT A WEDDING

If you have been following my blog since the beginning you would know that I am a Bengali, hence being obsessed about wearing sarees for any traditional or festive occasion runs in my veins, by default.

Nevertheless, I am one who adores the nine yards. I love a good traditional handcrafted saree. Mostly because I empathise with sustainability, handwork and the special skills that our artisans posses, who keep working generations after generations in preserving a craft and heritage. I feel obligated in some ways to be able to help in keeping this legacy alive.

Hence, I always try to go with sarees as my first option for any festive or traditional moment instead of splurging on designer labels that have zero contribution towards sustainability, culture or heritage. I am so selective about the fabrics and embroidery, I had rather know that my investment is not only in a piece of fabric or handwork but it also goes a long way in contributing to a family who works hard day and night, stitch by stitch.

THE MAHESHWARI SAREE

The handcrafts and weaves of India are elaborate. That is probably why this country has such a rich variety of sarees and handlooms to choose from. This saree is from a boutique in North Bengal, Siliguri. Indigenous sarees and traditional handcrafts are found at the boutique.

The Maheshwari Saree comes from Maheshwar, a city in Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh. An ancient town on the banks of the Narmada, was originally the capital of the Malwas during the Maratha Holkar reign till 1818 and enjoyed a considerably elevated status in terms of royal interests. It was this encouragement by the royal family that the Maheshwari saree came into existence.

Legend has it that Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar employed a special team of craftsmen from Surat and Malwa to design an exclusive nine yard saree that could be gifted to her relatives and guests who visited the palace. With the first saree conceptualised and designed by the Highness herself, Maheshwari sarees went on to become a huge hit in the royal and aristocratic circle.

BENARASI CHANDERI SAREE

The town of Chanderi in Ashok Nagar District of Madhya Pradesh is known for its historical importance as well as the world famous hand woven Chanderi sarees. Records show that hand looms wove Chanderi sarees for royalty between the 12th and the 13th centuries.

While some references to the Vedic period in Indian mythology suggest that Chanderi fabric was introduced by Lord Krishna’s cousin Shishupal, one can find its mention in Maasir-i-Alamgir (1658-1707), wherein it is stated that Aurangzeb ordered the use of a cloth embroidered with gold and silver for making khilat (a ceremonial robe or other gift given to someone by a superior as a mark of honour).

The material was very expensive. The beauty of this fabric was its softness, transparency, and fringes embellished with heavy gold thread embroidery. According to the records of a Jesuit priest, who visited Marwar between 1740 and 1761, Chanderi fabric enjoyed royal patronage and was also exported overseas. A British visitor, RC Sterndal noted that Chanderi was the favoured fabric of Indian royal women because of its soft, light texture and transparency.

(Source: CHANDERI SAREES: A LOOK AT THE HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF THESE ROYAL WEAVES)

Though these various accounts make it hard to put a date on the birth of Chanderi sarees, it’s clear that the fabric has always had the patronage of the ruling class of the country because of its unique sheer texture and intricate embroidery with gold and silver.

As a fashion blogger and MBA in Luxury Brand Management graduate, my initiative also strongly supports the handcraft of Indian weaves and sustainability of our traditions and heritage.

It starts from home.

XOXO,

Adhisa

WILDBERRYCHILDxSHUBHASHINIxWABI-SABI

It was a weekday and I clearly remember I was busy under piles of document work while being out with dad, that is when my good friend Tara gave me a call asking me if I wanted to be a part of an exhibition happening at the Conrad. Benefits of being there would be lots of jewellery and fashion. Now, hey, I was in a oversized shirt and messy bun but boy who cares about that when fashion and accessories is more than often what a girl like me lives for, also shoes. In an hour I had rushed back home, taken a good long shower, set my hair, put on a halter maxi dress, some tall shoes and voila! I was ready to head out.

As I drove down, I was so excited to see how the Conrad Couture Exhibition was going to be like. Once having reached, I found my way to the stalls of Shubhashini Ornamnetals and Wabi-Sabi. Established by jewellery designer Akassh k Aggarwal, the label Shubhashini Ornamentals boasted of some amazing collections of temple style bohemian jewellery and statement pieces that one had to be bold enough to carry off.

The label Wabi-Sabi on the other hand by Neeru Wadhwa from Hyderabad was a perfect blend of sustainable fashion and comfort fabric with indo-fusion style and flowing silhouettes complete with basic tie and dye prints. From two-tiered gowns to skirt-blouse combination and sarees, I was spoilt for choice. I also think apart from the fashion, more often than not, I feel more activated when I meet people who are passionate about what they do because that, believe it or not, makes me look radiant! It is like the vibe surrounds me and I cannot help but soak it in.

After getting acquainted and going through the collections, I loved their styles and enthusiasm. Akassh and Neeru were such warm and caring people and I was immediately at ease , picking out my clothing styles and deciding to create a few looks.

The Magenta Glory and Statement pieces

I absolutely loved the softness and comfort of the gown with the flare at the hem, as I did a balancing act with Akassh’s statement neck piece, bangle and a ring. How gorgeous does the collection look?

The Tie and Dye embracing Turquoise

Ever thought that a saree could be extremely casual and comfortable, styled with statement pieces and could be a transient from your day to night look. Well, then this is something to take an inspiration from.

The Skirt Blouse Duo with Stone pieces

My favourite look. Throw in a colourful shrug to add layering and break the monochrome tie and dye print. Akassh styled me with some of his best pieces and they are absolutely to die for!

With Akassh K Aggarwal, Neeru Wadhwa.

Written by Adhisa Ghosh

Photography – Manjari Singh

Assistance – Sharmeishtha Singh

Outfits – Wabi-Sabi (Neeru Wadhwa)

Jewellery – Shubhashini Ornamentals

Location – Conrad, Pune