The luxurious feel of Kerala silk sarees

If you see someone go swishing about in a light to pale colored transparent to translucent saree, you may have guessed right by calling it the organza variety. Organza a thin weave, sheer fabric, traditionally woven from silk is also woven from synthetic fabric materials like polyester or nylon. Its uses are mainly as smooth feel fabrics of style and in the creation of furnishings to make an environment with luxurious feel.

The special feel and appeal of Organza silk

In fabrics organza assumes a feel from very smooth to slightly coarse based on how finely it is woven. Having a matte or slightly lacklustre finish, it is dull in appearance and does not reflect light as well as silk or some other fabrics like chiffon. Organza despite its thin and delicate appearance has quite good strength and is primarily used in the making of evening dresses, sarees, bridal trousseaus, as dress trimmings and inner linings in ready fabrics and drapes like curtains, airy separators for large spaces and such.

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A great advantage of organza fabrics is its very good affinity to colours and hence one can find a whole range of apparel of pleasing and varied colours and shades. In addition, the fineness of the fabric allows prints and text to be transferred with the use of a computer and allied equipment onto the fabric directly. This quality makes it available for graphical images and many other effects to be superimposed on top of a textured background, creating a magical illusory effect.

The balanced plain-weave organza is a fabric woven from thin and continuous filaments of natural fibres as silk, or synthetic fibres as nylon or polyester, or their blends. The threads of warp and weft are of the same size and the number of threads within a given cross sectional area, too are same. The end-result is generally a checker-board appearance.

The appeal of Kerala sarees

Kerala sarees initially was a simple adaption of the1 Mundum Neriyathum, the traditional attire of Malayali women in the South Indian state of Kerala. Plain white or cream in colour, with the golden zari borders, set off a dazzling white range of sarees, worn mainly for the Onam and other prominent festivals, later extended to exclusive occasions. The contrasting bright red, saffron or other eye-catching colour blouses gave a fine match to make the wearer shine and sparkle.

As time went by white got replaced by other colors and the only adornment of zari lined borders was soon accompanied or replaced with other forms of adornment like multi-colored borders, embroidery,

light additions like kundans, sequins etc.

But despite the change there has been a constant when it comes to colour. Kerala sarees have always maintained their penchant for vibrant colors or bright contrasts.

A new line of Kerala organza silks from Unnati

Experimenting with bright neons and with the sheer quality jacquard designs in self-color across the saree, you have stripes, criss cross lines, dots, zigzag patterns, floral spreads and what not, in bright and vibrant yellow, Rani Pink, bright shades of blue and green, bright cream, Sindhuri red, black and the like. A pencil thin zari border at the bottom and the sensationally eye-catching, evenly distributed, thickly knotted tassels make them classy. What it does to the wearer is beyond words. There is elegance, there is class, there is womanly allure from the transparency. Quite simply put, it is a neat designer look that expresses the vogue.

Another line of Kerala silks come in fine Tussar versions. The woven Tussar Silk Saree has a coarse texture, is light on the body, airy and has a comfortable feel about it. Hand-woven Tussar Silk Saris are well known for their texture, zari borders and motifs and the hand crafted designs that enrich them. As an extension from the initially plain white or cream Kerala sarees with zari lining brder, the new range of Kerala Tussar silks have plain cream fields with light floral designs as vines at the border portion and sparsely distributed motifs of known shapes or unknown patterns. The thin borders are replaced by wider borders of zari or plain but contrast color. Novel and imaginative, it lends a fresh look and winsome appeal to the wearer. Trendy yet elegant, simple but eye-catching, it has been a hit with the market since it has been introduced.

Times change and traditional varieties get a makeover to make them appear current and market-friendly. So too, with the Kerala sarees, that had once started with the Kerala Kasavu cotton sarees. But now you have lush silky tussar versions that are soft and smooth textured, designer versions of bright vibrant hues, sheer organza fabrics that transport the looks of the wearer from average to downright stunning.     

Post author

Meet the Gyani Mahastree, that she is fondly called. A penchant for spotting the saree variety from just a glance at it, she spreads the gyan on the weave and the fabric like she has woven it. A fascination for anything colourful led her to get interested in Indian ethnic quite early. Moreover the like of the saree, and her interest and knowledge in traditional handlooms does much for our customer's curiosity as much as solving our friendly disputes. When she is not hitting the road to a traditional weaving destination in some corner of India or poring over a book on the Indian ethos and fabrics, she makes her own notes that she would like to offer as a discourse to the less initiated. No wonder she weaves nice yarns on yarns for our benefit and the world at large. One of her retirement plans is to write a book on all the wool that she is gathering, though surprisingly she is nowhere close to that age. If you wish to get more on Indian traditional varieties, you can knock her door at parineeti@unnatisilk.com