Updated: Apr 11
The quintessential garment, Saree has been around since 2800 BC originating from the Indus Valley Civilization. It is interesting to trace the journey of such an elegant and versatile piece of cloth. Even though the early days are a bit sketchy but the timeline after the advent of British is prominent. The invaders emphasized on classism through expensive material they pushed down to Indians working for them. The ordinary women were left out of it and could be easily recognized as ones from a less fortunate economic background. Around the 1930s-1950s, the popular ‘Nivi’ style of sarees was in vogue mostly by women from Indian royal families and slowly crept into the saree-styling of ordinary Indian women. The drape was characterised as being wound around then tucked in at the waist and letting the loose end go over the back either free flowing or covering the head.
After our Independence, the years between 1950s to 1970s saw the representation of Saree through Bollywood. As the movie industry flourished, superstars like Nutan, Madhubala, Nargis and Mumtaz were experimenting with fabrics, patterns, weaves and drapes on screen. The common women swiftly started following the latest fashion trend from the big screen. With the introduction of color televisions in the 1970s, women started experimenting with bold, flamboyant colourful drapes. The medium of television has always been a major influencer on our fashion choices.
The 1990s were ruled by film-makers like Yash Chopra, Mahesh Bhatt, Sooraj Barjatiya and David Dhawan whose styles of Saree were all very unique. Each of the film-makers experimented with the drape and helped visualize a wide range of styles. Women in India started defining their individual styles influenced by the film stars. The early 2000s was the age of supermodels, Miss Universe and Miss World winners being dressed by the most popular fashion designers. The subtly risqué chiffon saree slowly transformed to the sensual net saree paired with intriguing blouses. The colour palette was also one of the boldest with women embracing deep dark tones as well as eye popping neon.
2010s saw the advent of ready-made pre-draped sarees to save the new age women the trouble of neatly pleating the saree. A very different look of the Saree evolved to keep up with the well-read, well-travelled, woke women. There was an increasing acceptance of different body shapes and sizes in Sarees. Women no longer felt the need to conform to a specific beauty standard. This paved the way for inclusivity as well as body positivity among women and transgenders who identified as women.
Gradually, the Saree became a symbol of identity. Famous personalities donned Sarees in a certain way that carves out their individuality. But most importantly, as a society, we started to accept sarees in all shapes and sizes. It has been noted that Sarees have had a significant influence in our mindset towards gender diversity and inclusion.
Do check out some eye-popping ones in our collection. Next time you hesitate on wearing a Saree, do head over to our website to help make a bold choice! #saree #drapes #sareesforwomen #urbaneessencesaree