Someday in your life, you must have stood all starry-eyed in front of your mother's wardrobe, dreaming of a day when you will have a saree collection just like hers. It would have been a treasure trove of different textures and colours - perhaps your own version of wardrobe to Narnia.
In this article, we are going to talk about how you can have a collection of Kanjivaram silk sarees that can surpass any celebrity's trousseau. I am sure when I say Kanjivaram, you might be thinking about the most common red, gold, orange, yellow sarees which you may already own and wondering what more variety can you buy in Kanjivarams. Then you definitely need to take a sneak peek at the "Nalina" collection of Prashanti Silks and you'll know exactly what you are missing out on.
To begin with, let us familiarise with a normal Kanjivaram saree and the modified designs that are available nowadays. This will help you in diversifying your collection. A typical Kanjivaram saree has a body, border, pallu and each of which is woven separately and then joined together. This divine union is apparent in temple shaped design at the border called "Korvai". A skilled weaver can create a masterpiece by putting together a medley of designs and colours in the entire saree and blouse.
A Kanjivaram saree is made of 3 ply pure mulberry silk. It has a lustrous, glossy texture and is in stark contrast to the colour of the border and pallu - a hallmark of Kanjivaram sarees. Following are a few of the patterns that adorn a Kanjivaram saree.
● Vertical lines
They run along the breadth of the saree in geometric synchrony to be interspersed by buttas in gold or silver zari or both. This is a unique design in the Kanjivaram stack involving vertical weaving and you can choose it if you aren't a fan of the traditional designs.
● Butta designs
The buttas are always designed as an ode to Mother Nature. The motifs are a tableau of dancing peacocks, elephants, paisleys, floral wreaths, leaves, creepers and perfect geometric patterns.
A careful glance at not just the motif designs but also their sizes can define the way you look from a dainty Princess to a feisty goddess. Pastel shades with delicate floral patterns can render a gentle look and you can make a bold statement with dark shades with voluminous buttas.
● Butta weave type
Buttas can be designed in thread, gold or silver zari. You can choose sarees with buttas that suit your mood and occasion, depending on the type of zari and amount of "oomph" factor required. A thread weave gives a subtle charm whereas gold or silver motifs are all-time classics.
There is a potpourri of designs when it comes to checks. They include palum-pazhamum checks, kasa-kasa checks, vazaiphoo stripes, thandavalam stripes, veldhari stripes, puliyam kottai checks, Muthu kattam, koorai kattam, kottadi, paimadi checks, vaira oosi etc
The sarees come in dual shades, single shades, multi-colour combinations to suit the check designs. They are so bright and lively and are a great wear for any festive season.
● Half and half saree
The unmatched creativity of the Kanchipuram weavers to suit the modern woman is evident in half and half sarees. These are sarees that have different designs on the top half and bottom half of the body.
The border can be totally absent or some selections have thin piping of zari gloriously outlining the weave. These make lovely workwear attire.
● Dual shade
The traditional Kanjivaram sarees are famous for their dual sheen, that is, the saree appears to change colours when you change the angulation of the light falling on it. On a glorious morning, the bewitching beauty of the shifting shades is a sight to behold and no heads will be left unturned as you glide in a classic piece.
This is the part of the saree (apart from the blouse) that has undergone a lot of transformation throughout the years. If you look at old movies, you can see how the border evolved from being broad to medium to thin and back again to being broad…. It is a never-ending cycle of designing experiments and shapeshifting.
Kanjivaram sarees too have undergone a lot of metamorphosis in their border to suit generations of women with ever-evolving fashion sense. They're available as :
As the name suggests, these sarees have no border and appear less intense. Nevertheless, they're ethereal and perfect for office wear.
● Bavanji border
Bavanji border is where the border is of plain geometric design. These sarees are simple and serene and are excellent for casual wear.
● Kaddi border
These borders come in solid zari without any floral or geometric patterns. They're woven in gold or silver zari.
● Temple border
Pyramid shapes or temple gopuram patterns are hallmarks of Kanjivaram sarees. These sarees are a must for religious festivals and they are apt to drape the temple deities too during religious occasions.
● Variable border
The modern versions of Kanjivaram sarees have a fashionable border where the top border is quite different from the lower, in terms of design as well as size.
Sometimes there are dual borders on one side itself. A combination of bavanjii border on the external side and a floral border on the inner aspect renders a bountiful look to the saree.
● Traditional borders
A typical traditional Kanjivaram saree will have floral vines, leaves, instruments, paisleys, animals and bird motifs. Many have simple geometric zigzag lines. Some borders are embellished with stories of Indian mythology and some have geometric structures that bespeak the fundamental harmony of the universe. These sarees are the epitome of elegance and sophistication. They'll never go out of vogue.
The pallu is the heart of the saree. The beauty of the saree resides in the pallu as much as it is in the body. Kanjivaram sarees almost always have contrasting pallus that are similar to a painter's canvas.
There are innumerable designs that can be encased in a Kanjivaram pallu, including pictures of the infant Lord Krishna blissfully playing on his flute or the timeless classic tale of Radha and Krishna.
Zari is the soul of the Kanjivaram saree. Over the years, it has undergone changes to suit the needs of women with different socioeconomic background.
The original zari was made of pure gold and silver. Currently, the Kanjivaram sarees are available in one-gram gold zari, two-gram gold zari, half fine zari, tested zari etc. One gram gold zari is nothing but the zari that is dipped in one gram gold and same goes for the two gram gold zari. This is done to bring down the cost of Kanjivaram sarees.
Owning a pure zari Kanjivaram saree is similar to owning a prized painting. It has a resale value, it never gets old and its value increases with time.
Gone are the days when the blouse was the most overlooked part of the saree. Nowadays, getting a custom-designed blouse is like making an haute couture clothing. The Kanjivaram saree blouses are available in self-colour, contrasting colours with or without brocade weaving. You can customize them with embroidery for your special day or just wear it plain for a subtle look.
Listing the colour spectrum of Kanjivaram sarees is beyond the scope of this article because there is no colour that is not available in the Kanjivaram collection. Pastel shades, dark tones, bold contrasts, demure hues; you name it and they are in there. In addition to the traditional combinations in sunset shades, earthy tones, forest and ocean themes, unique colours in grey, teal, pastel browns etc will add richness to your trousseau.
In general, having a collection of Kanjivaram sarees is like having an explosion of rainbows in your cupboard. The flow of the silk, the smooth texture soothes your mind. Now that you know about the ingredients that make a perfect Kanjivaram saree, each Kanjivaram that you pick is like a unique recipe customised to suit your taste. An opulent collection simply represents your artistic side and your zeal towards life.
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