The Sari is a traditionally unstitched garment in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The wrapped cloth ranges in length and style and can be worn in a variety of ways. The most common style is for the material to be wrapped around the waist and one end draped over the shoulder, baring the midriff. The way that the stunning piece of fashion is worn has changed over time, and as current trends come and go, it has adapted with them. So where did the Sari originate from, how has it changed and where is it heading?
Evolved from the Prakrit sattika, the sari traces back to the Indus Valley Civilisation with the earliest known depiction of the garment being a statue of an Indus Valley priest wearing a drape.
Many believe that the garment originated from the men’s dhoti, which is the oldest Indian piece of draped clothing. Some costume historians also believe that the dhoti, which was worn by both men and women was the forerunner and the beginning of the sari.
Sculptures from the first to the sixth centuries C.E show goddesses and dancers wearing what also appeared to be a dhoti wrap, but in more of a fishtail style, loosely showing the legs and flowing into a longer, more decorative style.
The Sari is considered one of the oldest forms of Indian fashion and art.
The sari can be draped in a variety of ways. Some which require a sari of a certain length or form. In North India, it is worn in a more modern contemporary way, where it makes a circle round the waist, then pleats and makes another circle, with the ‘pallu’ going over the left shoulder. This can vary, and can be draped over the head and the shoulder also. This is usually used as a sign of respect for elders. The drape over the head is considered a Muslim influence from other cultures. Other styles, such as Gujarati, Dravidian, Gond and many more are also in use throughout many cultures and styles, dependant on the wearer.
Sarees are worn all over India and with geographical differences can vary in the way it is worn and styles. They are worn daily, but just like any culture and religion has ‘party clothes’ or more formal clothing, there are party sarees, wedding sarees etc. Typically, women begin to wear a sari when they are at least 16 years old or older.
Just like Anamika Khanna and her pairing of sari pyjamas and pallu’s, some designers have sworn to keep the ‘eternal symbol of grace and style’ with the Sari, whereas others have experimented. From red carpets to catwalks, the Sari has made its way from tradition to tradition while keeping its stature intact. We’ve even seen the likes of Elizabeth Hurley wear a traditional Saree on her wedding day in 2007.
With designers dabbling into all kinds of styles and cultures of fashion, the Sari has made its way to the cover of Indian Vogue, and the catwalk, being worn by the likes of Naomi Campbell and Oprah Winfrey.
Even though as times have changed, the Saree’s silhouette has stayed the same and is now being worn in many ways, for different body types and personalities. One may even say that the development of the garment “speaks a language relevant of current times”. By utilising the timeless style and adapting it with contemporary trends and other cultures fashions, new styles and trends can be created. By celebrities in the eye of the media wearing the sari, maybe it will reach out the perfection and sheer beauty of this garment, stretching beyond the media, to the homes of many women and girls.
Whether paired with Mehndi, or for a Sangeet, a classic Sari can be the perfect solution for an elegant and beautiful style, whatever the occasion. If you would like to know any more about Saris, Sonas Haute Couture would love to help. You can browse our array of Saris here, take a look at our vast range of Indian wedding clothes, or get in touch with us.