I have great respect and admiration for Indian fashion and one of my particular favorites is the Indian sari.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

The Contemporary Indian Sari

Throughout history the west has endeavoured to have an influence on eastern culture and especially their fashions. This was apparent during the reign of Queen Victoria, when India was regarded as the jewel of the British Empire. The prudish Victorians could not help but try to dictate how the Indian sari should be worn. This was mainly to spare the blushes and uphold the moral standards of the English gentry and of course the young Queen herself. It was felt Indian ladies should be suitably attired to protect their modesty.

Apparently before the arrival of the British, the Indian sari was worn without the blouse; there was only the sari cloth itself draped around the lower body exposing the woman’s upper body and breasts. This story is somewhat controversial and other people have pointed out that there is evidence to the contrary as artworks show the Indian sari being worn over breast bands and with shawls.

In some areas of southern India documentation shows that women in many of the rural communities, up until the early 1900s, donned the sari as a lower garment worn with a head shawl leaving the breasts and midriff naked.

Today we can see, in all walks of life, evidence that in fact the east is having a far greater influence on western fashion than we seem to think. It is almost commonplace now to see celebrities wearing the Indian sari not only to attend important functions and social events in high society but also, in many western cities, women are seen shopping, taking children to school or hurrying to places of work, their chosen dress being the sari.

This picture shows Shirley McClain in a beautiful sari it looks more than appropriate for any social occasion.

The modern designers cleverly give consideration to the western woman’s life style and expectations when they create their works of art. They manage to maintain the traditional beauty of the Indian sari but also compliment it in a way that allows it to evolve with the times.

Sarah Brown the wife of the British Prime Minister, makes a good effort at being glamorous.

Here Gauri Bajoria shows “a sense of sophistication with a playful feeling for day wear”. You can see more at Sunny's Sari Dreams web site

This design from the house of Satya Paul is called “Exotica”.

As you can see, there is not only originality in the modern colours, fabrics and and designs, the way the indian sari is draped adds infinite variation to the garment.

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