|Model Anusmriti flaunts taant saris from Meera Basu. Pictures by Pabitra Das
At a time when hip gets hipper, cool gets cooler and jazz gets jazzier, Bengali taant saris too are busy getting a makeover. Enter, ultra fashionable, super pretty Bengali saris ' this time in a contemporary avatar. Colour forecasts, latest patterns, unusual weaves, sexy styling' cotton drapes from Bengal are witnessing it all. GoodLife brings you up to date.
Motifs, colours and weaves. Whatever the design aspect may be, these traditional saris no longer look the same. While geometric patterns were the predominant feel of Dhakais and Jamdanis, the pattern board now is very wide.
“Chinese or Mandarin designs, Egyptian pharaohs, Mughal miniatures or Parsi borders, there is no end to influences when it comes to taant saris these days,” says Chinmoy Basu from Meera Basu, a house of designer Bengali saris.
“There was a time when the woven borders measured 20 inches while the body of the sari comprised a measly six inches. Gradually, these borders were brought down to make the saris more wearable. Today matha paars are added to jacquard borders and the effect is stunning,” Basu adds.
Previously, Bengali designs were quite simple, but new techniques have turned the scene around. “We now cater to fancy designer concept demands of an exotic pallu and an equally exotic set of pleats,” says a spokesperson from Ananda, the sari boutique on Russell Street.
The colour story too has undergone a sea change. The quintessential red and off-white code and the basic hues now have company in pastels and new-age colours.
“Typical south Indian combinations like navy blue with orange, purple with yellow and English palette of old rose and pistachio are also well accepted,” observes Basu.
Exotic combination is the name of the new game. A touch of the most unconventional elements creates successful drama. “We have taant saris that combine fabric paint along with zari work. Traditional Madhubani paintings also blend in beautifully with kantha or aari,” says Keka Paul of Mabesha on Rashbehari Avenue.
“There has been a sudden interest in khari print,” reveals Keka from Mabesha. Call it the trickle effect from the other states or just plain injection of glamour, throwing in a dash of glitter here or there always helps.
Ananda, too, is busy catering to the “season-specific demands of loyalists”. A spokesperson said people today prefer only resham work and hence a strong shift away from zari is visible.
Easy to dress up a Bengali sari, you think' Well think again, because just revisiting Parineeta is not enough to get your contemporary style basics right. Today, you need an added element of drama.
So feel free to replace that border-matching-blouse with a summery strap top. Mix or match your sari by borrowing from other states. Look around for some Rajasthani or Gujarati separates as contrast.
And gold doesn’t necessarily have to be the hue of the jewellery you team with a taant. You can always go silver or even junk. Interesting tribal beads worn around your neck and wrists could well be the missing glam link.
Make-up is another zone you can experiment with. Make-up expert Aniruddha Chakladar believes that eyes ' the most eloquent feature of a Bengali woman ' should be the highlight with a taant sari. “Dab a soft shade of peach or brick on your eyelids and blend darker brown on the outer corner of your eyes. Line your upper and lower lids with kohl and top it off with mascara.”
Though the traditional Bengali prefers a redder mouth, but with heavy eyes, advises Aniruddha, you should keep the mouth pastel and glossy. You can also replace the red bindi with something more straight-lined or funky.