Wednesday, October 3, 2012


New Delhi (AFP) - As the platform heeled-models sashay past the flash of cameras to the sound of U2, Sabyasachi Mukherjee surveys the progress of his campaign to drag the sari from the back of the closet onto the catwalk. Mukherjee's efforts to modernise the sari by using unusual fabrics such as velvet while maintaining its iconic silhouette is fuelling a revival of the traditional drape. Arguably India's most successful fashion designer - whose brand has an annual turnover of $11 million - 38-year-old Mukherjee is passionate about the garment. Young, career-oriented women had been pushing the sari to the back of their wardrobe, finding them difficult to tie and unsuited to their busy lifestyles. 
Having first made a name for himself for his mini-dresses, Mukherjee has more recently devoted his efforts to designing pre-pleated and easy-to-tie saris that are at the same time exquisitely embroidered. “I am a purist at heart, I like traditional saris. But I often flirt with the sari to keep people interested, modifying it in little ways,” he said.

After a popular Bollywood actress strolled onto the catwalk, dressed in a full-skirted tulle sari, a bevy of models appeared, many wearing pre-pleated saris covered with lace appliqués and accessorised with high heels. It is all part of an effort to attract a younger, more style conscious clientele, Mukherjee explained.  He has also made substantial forays into Bollywood as part of his campaign to restore the garment's supremacy in the Indian woman's closet. 
In addition to dressing leading actresses including former Miss World Aishwarya Rai and Vidya Balan for their red carpet appearances, he has designed costumes for several Hindi films. Mukherjee plans to open more stores across India, where he currently has four shops, before expanding overseas a few years down the line. According to Shefalee Vasudev, an author and founding editor of Marie Claire India, Mukherjee is a fashion visionary.

Last year, Sonam Kapoor, a 27-year-old Bollywood actress known for her fashion sensibility, made headlines at the Cannes Film Festival when she donned a polka-dot sari with a revealing back. Then Lady Gaga appeared onstage near New Delhi in a sparkly ivory-colored sari by the Indian designer Tarun Tahiliani. “The sari is beautiful, it is forgiving, it is unique, and it is exotic to the whole world … I wanted to influence Indians to go back to wearing Indian clothes,” said Mukherjee, the award-winning Indian designer. Its appeal among Indian women revealed that “deep in our insides we still want a piece of our mother's closet, our grandmother's closet. We are not so comfortable with the shortest dress, with the little black dress,” said Shefalee Vasudev, from Marie Claire India. Keeping traditions and avoid losing the sense of decorum and decency are the basis of social morality.

Tradition includes dress-code, demeanours and flexibility or by its popular name, social freedom, as diagnostic devices for nature, impression and depiction of inner discipline. It describes about the subtle impact of every inch of thought, exposure and action in character, which may not be digestible to the fashion world. ... Unfortunately, this is branded as a western culture, whereas it is a degraded form of global cultural stamina, which has infected the western community.  Due to continuous engagement in scientific and economic pursuits, west has lost its immunity in self and social control, which has made it the first and the worst vulnerable region for ethical degradation. ... Without cultural framework, any self styled discipline, audacity and insecure freedom will certainly dismantle any orderly society or even an organised one.

Śrīla S.A.R. Prasanna Venkatachariar Chaturvedi Swamy :
Acarya de la Ramanuja Sampradaya
“International Conference on Interfaith” - “Culture”
“Culture, Philosophy, Literature and Religion” 2009, Mumbai, India.

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

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