Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm so sari...

Moving our journey a little to the south-west, let’s take a look at India’s sari. The sari was first seen in South India around 100 BC. It is said that the sari "was born on the loom of a fanciful weaver. He dreamt of Woman. The shimmer of her tears. The drape of her tumbling hair. The colors of her many moods. The softness of her touch. All these he wove together. He couldn't stop. He wove for many yards. And when he was done, the story goes, he sat back and smiled and smiled and smiled". With this in mind, it is easy to see why the sari is draped the way it is; to emphasize femininity. It is wrapped around the body, accentuating a larger bust and hip while highlighting a smaller, bare midriff. Originally there was no bust band and the breasts were exposed. As time progressed, modesty became of more importance and a separate bust band was added that sometimes extends to cover the stomach. Saris are usually about 47 inches wide and 216 inches long. The reason these fabrics were never tailored in the past is because it was believed that by piercing the fabric with a needle, it would be made un-pure. As a result, there are many, many ways to drape a sari depending on the region. For instance:

It is easy to see how such a feminine and beautiful garment has stuck around for so long. Traditional saris are still worn in everyday life in many cultures and influences can be seen in western fashions as well. Take this piece, for instance:

It uses the same principles of a conventional sari, but with a modern flair.

For additional information on the meanings of certain motifs and colors used to construct a sari, click here.

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