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A retro resurgence with Kanchipuram silk

by Sundari Silks 03 May 2024
A retro resurgence with Kanchipuram silk

As we journey through the kaleidoscope of fashion trends, the allure of retro never fades. Recently, a refreshing trend has been revitalising the fashion scenes of South India—retro-style Kanchipuram Sarees. These traditional drapes, known for their rich textures and deep cultural roots, are making a glamorous comeback with modern twists that appeal to both the old souls and the trendsetters.

The quintessence of Kanchipuram

Before diving into what makes the retro style so appealing, let's understand the essence of Kanchipuram Sarees. Originating from the town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, these sarees are woven from pure mulberry silk and are distinguished by their wide contrast borders and vibrant colours. Historically, these sarees were adorned by the royalties and were considered a symbol of opulence and grace.

Retro revival with designs, prints and patterns

The retro revival brings with it a blend of nostalgia and innovation. The classic motifs such as the ‘malli moggu’ (jasmine bud), ‘mayilkan’ (peacock eye), and ‘kamalam’ (lotus) are being reimagined in ways that pay homage to the past while fitting perfectly into the contemporary wardrobe. These motifs, traditionally used in Kanchipuram sarees, are now being enlarged or styled in geometric patterns that capture both the essence of the old and the spirit of the new.

Another interesting aspect of this resurgence is the use of traditional dyeing techniques like ‘tie-and-dye’ which were rarely seen in Kanchipuram sarees. This method adds a unique blend of colours, making each saree a standalone masterpiece. The incorporation of pastel shades—a deviation from the typical bright hues—also marks a significant trend in the retro style, appealing particularly to the younger demographics.

Styling the retro way

Styling these sarees in the retro fashion involves a blend of traditional and modern accessories. Pairing the saree with antique or temple jewellery can enhance the ethnic look, while opting for fusion accessories like belts and minimalistic Jewellery can give it a chic, modern twist. Retro-style blouses with high necks or bell sleeves also complement the look, adding an element of the 70s glam to the traditional saree.

The unseen charm

What many might not know is that the resurgence of these designs is also a result of the revitalisation efforts by local weavers. By introducing retro styles, weavers are not only keeping the tradition alive but are also ensuring that their art continues to evolve and capture new markets. Each saree can take anywhere from 15 to 30 days to weave, a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into it's making.

The revival of retro-style Kanchipuram sarees is more than just a fashion statement; it's a celebration of heritage and craftsmanship. As these timeless pieces find their way back into the wardrobes of the modern woman, they remind us that some styles are indeed eternal. Whether it's through a designer's vision or a weaver's skillful hands, the essence of Kanchipuram continues to enchant and evolve, making each drape a narrative of its own.

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