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Millennium Post

Heritage wrapped in six yards

If a six yard saree could identify the variety and diversity of India, then the Utsav festival definitely captures the essence of the Indian culture. Draped in the colours and the fusion of the weave-print-embroidery work in the sarees, designer Sashiv Chandran is bringing it all in his 'Rang Zilla'.

“Innovation within the realm of traditions was the real challenge”, says Chandran. He dedicates his work to providing “the best of textiles”. Chandran believes in fusing weaves, prints, embroideries from different parts of the country and giving it a contemporary twist.

Utsav was founded in 1993, with a mission to create a design dialogue connecting the traditional weavers with the modern aesthetic and quality conscious urban cliente.

There are tie and dye works from Rajasthan done in silk from Uttarakhand, as also rich hues in cotton. Silk was inter-woven with cotton weaves to ring in greater diversity. There were vegetable dyes like Kashish, Indigo, Harad, Anar Chilka, Alum and Haldi printed on the weaves. Chandran focused on vegetable colours which are eco-friendly, safe, gentle, soft and subtle.

We also spotted classical dancer Geeta Chandran picking up saris at the exhibition. “I only wear Chandran's designs,” she said. The dancer is one of Chandran's muses, along with Sonia Gandhi, Bollywood stars Rekha and Kirron Kher and crafts catalyst Laila Tyabji.

The collection mostly has cotton sarees keeping the scorching heat in mind. “Watch out for Phulia and Kalamkari works in saris this season”, said Chandran, while going through the collections.

Chandran can't have enough of discussing textures. He has been organising this exhibition for the past 20 years with the intention of preserving the traditions of Indian culture in saris alive.

So is he planning to bring in textiles and works from the northeast as well? “I am aware of the diverse and vibrant textiles of the region and in future I would love to bring in a lot of inspiration from theses regions too,” he said.

It seems saris still fascinate the imagination of the Indian women at large.
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