The Sari is not an attire. It’s a symbol of elegance and grace. Given the variety, history and skill of the weavers in India, ‘the Sari’ has never been seen as only an attire, but a work of art which can be embraced by anyone who appreciates it. One such person is Himanshu. Often referred to as the ‘Saree man’ he is an artist at heart and is exceptionally inspiring. His taste in drapes is spectacular and his style of draping is enviable! Elegant and magnificent, Himanshu is one interesting person to speak to!
Himanshu’s Love for Saris:
It started on a whim. I was curating art shows and I slowly started experimenting with Saris within the art circle. Very soon, I fell in love with the sari universe. In 2014 I decided to formalize my love for saris. Apart from owning ‘Red Earth,’ I also curate saris from different parts of India.
Love for Handwoven saris:
I consider handwoven saris to be a work of art. The unevenness of the weave, the perforations, and the feel of the fabric is what attracts me to it.
I started collecting saris for personal use. I mostly prefer wearing handwoven saris, but sometimes if I really like a pattern in a powerloom sari, which we might not get in the former, I pick it up. I call them ‘Power loom beauties.’
Even while curating, my preference is predominantly for those that are handwoven. My taste is spontaneous and intuitive. But I don’t necessarily rule out non-handloom weaves. If it’s very interesting, unique and something rare to come by with respect to pattern or design, I might consider it.
Personal favorite style of draping:
I don’t follow a particular framework of draping a sari. I play around with it and internalize the drape, suiting my mood. I often wear saris with shirts and sometimes with blouses. I keep it as flexible as possible and that is the best part of it. It’s versatility lies in the different ways in which you can drape it.
I have a few Kanjivarams in my collection. What I love about Kanjivarams though is how well they drape. The silk is well-bodied and falls really well! But apart from Kanjivarams I also like silk and cotton dhotis from Tamil Nadu. I like the weaving style
Thoughts on the future of handwoven saris:
The world is moving towards instant fashion. But to drape a sari, you need to put together a blouse, in-skirt and the right kind of accessories. It takes time. The process of putting together a sari and draping it is an art. It’s becoming fashionable to say we don’t wear saris. But nothing can replace the joy of draping saris. These are little eccentricities that brings out the artist in everyone.
Handwoven saris are becoming a luxury and hence are not available to everyone.Given the shrinking weaving communities and the increase in demand for handwoven saris, the price has only been driven up. They can never go off the market but because of the price, it will not be affordable for everyone. This is what I see happening in the near future.