The Colorful Indian Sarees and their Beautiful Drapes
Saree derives its name from the Sanskrit word 'Sati' which means a strip of cloth.
This 6-yard strip of cloth in vibrant hues of green, gold, vermillion and blue has been the choice of attire for south Asian women for centuries.
From grandmothers wearing their sarees with sneakers for evening strolls; to the women working in the fields, from functional workwear attire to glamour party wear; the saree is worn by one and all.
The saree is traditionally worn over an inner skirt called 'petticoat' and with a cropped, tight blouse. Draping this piece of fabric around the body creates a sublime sensual garment.
It is a very forgiving garment adapting quickly to different body shapes and sizes. Depending on its drape, the saree can manifest different auras.
While most women in urban India wear the saree in the familiar front-pleated style known as the nivi drape/new drape, there are more than 100 iterations that exist across the country.
Following is a list of some of the most popular saree drapes and the region it originates from:
1. Nivi Drape – Across all the urban areas in India
This drape is the most widely recognized style worn across the globe. Credited to Gyanodanandini Tagore who increased the saree’s length in the 1860s.
2. Seedha Palla Drape - Gujarat (Western coast of India)
This refers to the contemporary drape adopted in the late 19th century, with the pallu/ decorated end of a saree draped over the right shoulder back to front.
3. Koli or the Marathamoli Drape – Maharashtra (Western peninsular region of India neighbouring the state of Gujarat)
This drape is an adaptable fisherwoman drape often hitched up for greater mobility in water. The second upper drape may also be tied up if necessary.
4. Bharatnatyam Drape – Tamil Nadu (Southern India)
The drape is typical of northern and central Tamil Nadu, requiring its pleats to be held together by rolling them into a 'pouch'.
5. Nadia Drape – West Bengal (Eastern region of India between the Himalayas and Bay of Bengal)
This unique drape from Bengal can be worn long or short, depending on the occasion and formality required.
Which is your favourite drape?
Guest Author: Dina Udupa
Dina Udupa is the designer of her London based eponymous women’s wear brand. With a career in fashion spanning the globe, she recently launched her luxury brand: a concept that combines a love of the opulent, mystical designs of her native India, infused with a passion for travel and cultural exploration. Dina Udupa is a celebration of luxurious fabrics in simple, elegant design forms.
Become an insider
Join those in the know who enjoy shopping direct for their high-end, personalized gemstone pieces,
get unprecedented access to stones that are usually only available to the world’s high jewelry houses
and be the first to hear about insider jewelry events