The sari never goes out of fashion. And, it’s safe to say that the audience for it keeps getting wider, and younger. Lush Benarasi silks are often passed on as heirlooms, but many are investing more and more in contemporary forms of the traditional weave.
Delhi-based textile designer Tanira Sethi is catering to the market that loves to pick up fresh innovations to add to their wardrobe. And, a Japanese touch to the Benarasi weave is her twist to the classic. “Bird motifs have been a part of design for a long time, but I have done them in my own unique way, by getting inspired by origami,” says Tanira, who has a label called Taani.
The tradition came in terms of Benaras, where they were woven, and the contemporary touch was added by the way of the motifs.
Origami is a Japanese paper-folding art. “I wanted to revamp and have my own take on Benarasi saris. The tradition came in terms of Benaras, where they were woven, and the contemporary touch was added by the way of the motifs. Instead of going for organic forms of the bird, I have used their origami versions which are more geometric,” she says. “There are enough key market leaders in Benarasi saris, so I wanted to do something which hasn’t been done before,” Tanira adds.
The modern element is also a part of the colour palette. When one thinks Benarasi, it is usually brights that come to mind, but Tanira has ditched them for more moody hues. “I have a few pieces in purple and violet, but most are variations of charcoal, black and navy, colours that are not associated with Benarasi silk saris. I consciously tried to steer clear of brights like saffron and turmeric,” says the NIFT Delhi graduate in textile design, who also studied at Chelsea College of Arts in UK.
With the festive season upon us, does she have any styling tips to share? “I feel with Benarasi silks, you don’t need jewellery. These pieces are ornamental enough, especially because of the play of gold, silver and copper zari,” she says.