Modern weaves: Designer Anupama Dayal contemporises the Banarasi sari
In a collaboration heralded as a meeting of “heritage arts and modernism”, designer Anupama Dayal brings her boho-chic vibe, vibrant colours and a sprinkle of sensuality to Delhi store Ekaya’s six-yard Banarasi wonders. Having earlier partnered with Abraham & Thakore for a sophisticated bridal sari collection targeting the new-age bride, Ekaya’s latest tie-up with Dayal, titled “Kama”, makes a definite case for youthfulness, quite evidently aimed at a younger clientele. The Anupamaa woman dons her light-as-air Banarasi saris in electric colours, with shirt blouses and vests, wears flowers in her hair with Freida Kalho-esque flourish and adds tassels and trims for a playful touch. Having launched the range of vibrant saris, scarves and fabric pieces that advocate a versatile drape story in the Capital on Tuesday, Dayal settled down for a quick telecon:
Tell us about the thought process behind the collection.
The idea was to draw the Banarasi away from its ‘aunty’ image and give it a trendy and youthful spin. But it wasn’t without its challenges. It is, after all, a faultless piece of art. How can one even be presumptuous enough to ‘improve’ on it? I turned to my muse, the Anupamaa woman, who likes to look glam, stay connected to her roots, and is not necessarily buying a sari only to wear to a wedding. I delved into my own feelings associated with the sari and treated it with the same reverence, or irreverence. I should be able to take it through a work day and then don some jewellery and step out for an evening engagement. All this while looking slim and sexy, mind you.
You have a flirty, feminine resortwear line as well as a contrasting bridal line with brocades and rich weaves. How have you brought their distillate to this line?
I’ve brought the spirit of both to the Ekaya line. I was still in the ‘Kama’ mood of my Autumn-Winter 2014 bridal collection, with its sexy blouses and figure-defining drapes. I’ve brought that sensuousness to this line. From my resortwear line, I’ve essentially brought the relaxed, easy-breezy vibe, keeping things intensely feminine, light and happy.
Banarasis are generally associated with heavy drapes and jewel colours, but you’ve stayed away from obvious references.
I’ve broken away from the thicker textiles and worked with lighter weaves. We experimented a lot with khaddi weaves, trying to make the georgettes and silks as light as possible. The essential priority was to make them look good on the body. We’ve also played with modern ‘pop’ colours and intense pastels. So, there is parakeet green, sindoor red and sunset orange, along with saturated blush pink, pale blue and yellow. The emphasis is on unusual combinations — a red sari with a baby pink blouse or a yellow sari peeking through a peach waistcoat. The Banarasi sari is a wonderful piece of heritage. But we have to push the boundaries a little or it’ll become a museum piece. How have you maintained your trademark touch? Apart from the atypical colour palette, the motifs used in ‘Kama’, like the fish, the Bankura horse and peepul leaf, are from the Anupamaa archives. We’ve also used a lot of signature floral motifs in our forthcoming line “Phool”, like the Iris flower, chhota Mughal flowers, genda phool, peonies and roses. The collection is laden with trimmings like beads and tassels, another Anupamaa trademark