Chanderi charm

Delicate, sheer and lustrous, chanderi is the choice of fabric this season for many designers who are reprising it in diverse variations — from earthy glam to chic simplicity
By Dipti: Characterised by its weightlessness, sheer texture and fine luxurious feel, chanderi has been ruling the runways at the ongoing Amazon India Fashion Week Spring Summer 2017. Along with that several other powerful looms from around different corners of India are grabbing attention too. The fabric (chanderi) is produced by weaving in silk and golden zari in the traditional cotton yarn that results in the creation of the shimmering texture and can be classified into three types — chanderi silk cotton, pure silk and chanderi cotton.

Talking about this surge in love for handlooms, designer Paromita Banerjee says, “I think people are fed up with fast fashion and its end products. They want something they can cherish, and know for a fact was made with utmost care, nurture and attention. People are in love with hand-made things these days as it showcases the power and beauty of fashion created by human hands.”

Designer Shruti Sancheti agrees, “The phrase ‘made by hand’ always signifies something personal for us. People want to know products that are painstakingly created over months with the best of materials.” Ace designer Krishna Mehta, on the other hand, shares that this rise (in popularity) is a sign of unity and right timing. “The government is working towards promoting Indian handlooms, the younger lot is far keener on wearing or rather flaunting hand-made pieces and this, in turn, has empowered and triggered a fire among designers to create and envision handlooms in different avatars. The current phase of fashion is more or less like the making of a good, delicious dish: with all the right ingredients, in right proportions, and right timing.”

Sheer texture is a feature of chanderi that differentiates it from other textiles produced across India. The transparency of this fabric is because of the use of single flature quality of yarn. When glue of a raw yarn is not separated from it, the non-degumming renders a shine and transparency to the finished fabric which produces a flature yarn. As for the bootis or motifs, they are handwoven with the use of needles. Separate needles are used to create different motifs.

“If we spoke about handlooms 10 years ago nobody would have believed that handwoven outfits can be so stunningly simple and light. This fabric is highly versatile,” Paromita shares, adding, “Now you can see it everywhere, from skirts, soft culottes and a blazer shrugged over palazzo pants to elegant dresses, chanderi has been reprised in several different variations.”

Designer Anita Dongre says the intention behind all her designs has been to popularise the versatility of traditional fabrics, and she is happy that this time she has experimented with chanderi. Dongre adds that chanderi, though delicate and soft, can take the hardness of embroidery and gotta-patti well to its stride, unlike many other handlooms. “From my own collection, there’s one jacket which is embroidered in gotta-patti but in a modern manner, then there are gold skirts in chanderi, versatile separates, chanderi jackets which one can be worn with a pair of jeans to dress it up or dress it down, etc. So you can see how one can be experimental with this fabric, which is stronger than it looks.”

While Paromita quips that chanderi is high-maintenance but worth the time and effort, designer Shruti Sancheti suggests, “Wrapping up all your handlooms in mulmul helps a great deal.” Source: The Asian Age

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