Two decades of research into saris throw up some little-known facts about the versatile garment. Veena Venugopal in Mint-Lounge:
The sari, caught in a vicious knot of dropping demand and the slow death of weaving traditions, is Rta Kapur Chishti’s life mission.
Chishti, 61, started researching the handloom sari over 20 years ago. She travelled to all the traditional handloom centres and studied the weaving, dyeing and draping methods. She chronicles this in her book Saris: Tradition and Beyond. The book also demonstrates 108 ways of draping the sari, with step-by-step graphics.
When we meet, she is dressed in a grey Ikat, draped without a petticoat, so the bottom is more pantaloon, less sari. That style, she says, is a combination of two or three drapes. “I wear the sari based on what activities I have scheduled for the day. This is the run-around and get a thousand things done drape,” she says. Draping it differently and reinventing it to suit modern-day living is Chishti’s solution to reviving the sari. More: