Monday, Sep 26, 2022
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Silk Smitten

Kanjeevarams don a designer avatar, and mega prices

Silk Smitten Silk Smitten

"I would die for an MS Blue," says V.R. Devika, who describes herself as a cultural activist. She is referring to the colour made famous by the legendary vocalist M.S. Subbulakshmi. She, like many others in her circle, wouldn't be seen dead in the new mega-priced Kanjeevaram silk saris that come with sequins, stones and embroidery, shine with synthetic zari and other embellishments that Devika dismisses as the preferred choice of the nouveau riche, movie stars and NRIs whose fashion choices are dictated by their fat bank accounts rather than an aesthetic sense.

The classic peacock blue sari with a temple border, and other such 'archaic' Kanjeevarams, are now largely found only with the vanishing breed of small-time silk merchants who still make house visits, bearing bundles of silk. Dancer-actress Vyjanthimala was one of those who patronised these merchants, and there are a few among the young now who still value them. Like the US-based bride who sent in an e-mail request to Kanchipuram's Dhinakaran Silk House, asking them to recreate a wedding sari exactly like the one her grandmother wore 70 years ago. Her order was meticulously executed, for a modest Rs 8,000.

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