The gorgeous mesmerising Paithani saree, continues to charm its admirers.
With time, its beauty never ceases, in fact, it becomes more and more captivating. The years only adding to its vintage charm.
I am sharing an article which appeared in the Femina Issue of September 2012.
Thank you Ketaki Latkar for capturing the spirit of the Paithani sari with her lovely words.
And a big shout out to Sukalp Bagade for the photographs.
Hope you enjoy it.
The eternally charming Paithani weave radiates undying panache. Ketaki Latkar, with the help of Mruga Kirloskar, fashion designer and image consultant, unravels the classic Paithani obsession.
Photographs by Sukalp Bagde
The whole nine yards
Legacies are priceless. Trends and bridal trousseaus are changing with time. However, the classic Paithani sari is still an absolute must for every Maharashtrian bride. The pilgrim towns of Paithan near Aurangabad and Yeola near Nasik are the birthplaces of the Paithani weave, from where it gets distributed all over Maharashtra.
DIVINE INTERVENTION, LITERALLY!
In our land of strong mythological dictate, Paithani was believed to be born in the era spelled by the will of the Gods. This popular belief is based on an anecdote by Goddess Parvati when she was in a state of gloom for not having anything to wear for a celestial being’s wedding. As a result, like all good husbands, Lord Shiva, in sheer desperation, commanded the creation of an exquisite fabric from his weavers. The result was the creation of a distinct textile woven in pure gold threads and fine silk, which with time, evolved into the charming, legendary Paithani weave.
Mruga Kirloskar, fashion designer and image consultant, has been a connoisseur and exclusive dealer of Paithani saris for more than a decade. Mruga explains, “Any fabric is the product of three primary elements: the yarn, the dyeing process and the weave, along with embellishments (by means of printing or embroidery or both). With regard to Paithanis, the exclusivity certainly lies in the silk and the extremely elaborate weaving process, which could take as many as 12 painstaking hours just for half an inch.”
Did you know that pure Paithani saris are marked by a silk body and gold motifs? Mruga explains, “The motifs on the pallu and borders are etched with gold backgrounds and bear signature designs that include peacocks, parrots, lotuses, Kairior raw mangos, Asawalis (creepers) or the more detailed Bangdi-Mor(peacocks designed in circular frames).”
“With regards to Paithanis, the exclusivity certainly lies in the silk and the extremely elaborate weaving process, which could take as many as 12 painstaking hours just for half an inch.”
SPOT THE FAKES
Markets are a labyrinth of chaotic varieties and unbridled options. In such a scenario, recognising the authenticity of products can be a Herculean task. Mruga helps us identify the real and untainted Paithani, “First and foremost, flip the sari over to check if the reverse side is exactly like the front, except for the knots on the yarn. Secondly, the motifs are geometrical in nature and don’t comprise flawless turns and thread motions. One needs to understand that the yarns are like grids on graph papers, on which designs are created by playing with the dots.”
THE POWER OF GOLD
Last but not the least, the yarn is woven in pure gold of gold-plated silver threads. A range of colours are available in the market. The peculiarity of these saris is their signature dual or `shot’ colour schemes where two colours are interwoven in the fabric so that it looks like two colours from different angles. The cost of an authentic Paithani would be close to the tune of Rs. 20,000/- and can go as high as Rs. 4 lakh. Of course, economical alternatives are widely available in the market, but they are diluted adaptations of the original.” Right from the epoch of the Peshwas, Paithanis have never failed in making the alluring and imperial statement of class and heritage. Buying a Paithani sari is like purchasing one of MF Hussain’s works – each piece being a masterpiece in itself and each one, unique.