Chanderi Charms at Praan:t

Remember the delicate, pastel Chanderi sarees your mother and aunts wore in summer? Ones with zari buttis and borders were usually reserved for pujas and special occasions. They were cool and classy, and ladies flaunted their collections with aplomb.

Chanderi

For generations, Chanderi has been a must-have for Indian ladies. If lore is to be believed, Chanderi is supposed to date back to Vedic times and have been created by Shishupal, Lord Krishna’s cousin. And it has always been the favourite of royalty.

The Chanderi that has charmed millions of people around the world originates in a small town of Ashoknagar district in Madhya Pradesh. In the year 1910, Chanderi sarees were patronized by the royal family of Scindia and it was during that period that golden thread motifs made their appearance in the cotton muslin saree for the first time. In the 1930s, Chanderi weavers in Madhya Pradesh discovered Japanese silk. They began replacing the warps of cotton sarees with it and that’s how the Chanderi silk variety came into existence.

Sheer, transparent texture and unique buttis are the signature characteristics of the Chanderi fabric. The buttis or motifs on Chanderi fabric are primarily hand woven on handloom, with the use of needles. Separate needles are used to create different motifs which are then coated with gold, silver and even copper dust. Motifs created using Chanderi weaving are inspired from nature and include swans, peacocks, lotus flowers, gold coins, fruits, heavenly bodies and geometric patterns.

Although traditionally the Chanderi was used to create nine-yard sarees, today this handloom industry is going through a new renaissance. Earlier, the color palette of Chanderi sarees was predominately ruled by soft pastel hues, but now, vibrant combinations such as red and black, turquoise and navy blue, fuchsia and orange have come to the fore. And although it started as a fine cotton fabric, today it dazzles with silk and cotton-silk versions.

Chanderi is now one of the most protected crafts in the country. Not only the government, but renowned designers, fashion houses and Bollywood stars endorse this beautiful fabric on a regular basis. Remember Sridevi in that dazzling red & gold Chanderi saree in ‘English-Vinglish’? Or Kareena Kapoor in the black & gold gifted to her by Aamir Khan when they visited the weavers of Chanderi?

Fashion designers have discovered the magic of this light-weight fabric and adapting it to contemporary wear. Tunics, tops, dresses, jackets, shrugs, stoles, kurtas, skirts — the Chanderi is now seen in new avatars, and finds its way into modern wardrobes with flair.

At Praan:t, a top fashion studio in Pune, Chanderi is one of designer Monika Chordia’s favoured fabrics. Working closely with weavers of Chanderi, Monika Chordia customizes colours, threads and designs to suit her designs. Used extensively in an exclusive designer collection of stylish occasion wear and smart casual wear for ladies, Chanderi is combined with other traditional textile crafts of India such as Banarsi brocade, Bhuj embroidery, vegetable-dye fabrics from Rajasthan, and hand block-printed fabrics from Gujarat to create outfits that uplift any woman’s closet. More information visit: http://www.praant.com/