The Telegraph
Wednesday , December 19 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dita Von Teese in a Shivan & Narresh sari

How was it dressing Dita Von Teese on her recent trip to India?

Excellent. I think it was the best three days we had this year... lunch, dinner, lunch, dinner... dressing her... we couldn’t have asked for a better gift! The year is indeed ending on a very sweet note, even more so because she has been our muse since childhood… even before we started designing. When we started our career she became the woman we always wanted to dress.

Why is she a favourite?

She is so comfortable with her body, personality and ideology. And this aspect is usually understated. Everyone talks about beauty, glamour, being sexy but Indian women are not at all comfortable with their bodies.

How did it all begin?

Four months back Cointreau (liqueur brand) representatives told us they were flying in their global brand ambassador Dita Von Teese to India. They wanted her to wear a bikini sari for the main event but Dita wanted to dress traditionally. The bikini sari was too modern for her. That’s when we started working with different types of saris. People across India drape differently. And then Dita said she wanted to experience Bollywood. Now, what is a Bollywood sari? It could be anything. We dissected the various decades. But Dita is a perfectionist herself. For all her shows and photo shoots, she does the make-up and art work (she is also a costume designer). We finally settled on the black sari. The addition of lace came naturally because she loves lingerie and corsetry. Dita ended up wearing three different versions (of the sari).

She chose the black sari…

One of the presentations that we made was on Maharani Gayatri Devi. It was an effort to present bling versus elegance, simple chiffon and pearls over sequins and Bolly glam. Dita liked it but then, she is not a pastel lady. She always goes for darker colours. Black was her preference. She wanted to turn the exquisite lace that Christian Louboutin gifted her into a sari.

What other reference points did you present?

Lots... 27 sketches of sari styles made popular by Waheeda Rehman to Rekha, Nutan to Mumtaz. Then again, Dita is not a “colour person”! She wanted something in black, midnight blue, bottle-green... darker colours.

The chosen sari was a ’40s style...

1940s was specifically picked because Dita is very fond of it. It had a baroque feel... a retro vibe. She wore kundan with it.

How is Dita as an individual?

Very grounded and warm… a person with a mind of her own. She also came across as an open person who wanted to learn about the sari! She tried them all. Then she shopped for saris in Delhi. She took back four saris from us... four black saris. And we gifted her a bikini sari.

Shivan & Narresh on designing for Life of Pi:

There is a sequence where Suraj (Sharma, who plays Pi) is shown in Paris of the 1950s, with Piscine Molitor as the backdrop. In that scene, there are 81 bathing Parisians. Arjun Bhasin (stylist for the film) wanted everything to be authentic. He wanted the men and women to wear vintage cotton bathing suits.... The people we were to dress were not models. We had 81 sets of measurements to work with! We used the ruching, pleating and all sorts of vintage closures, like buttons that were in vogue then.

Saionee Chakraborty
Which Holly star would look best in a Bolly sari? Tell