City Times catches up with Mumbai-based designer, Shaina NC, who was on a holiday in the city, to talk about saris . . . and a Guinness record
“I CAN DRAPE a sari in 54 different styles,” declares Shaina Chudasama, better known as Shaina NC, a designer by profession, a politician by interest, and daughter of Nana Chudasama, former mayor of Mumbai and founder of the NGO, ‘I Love Mumbai’.
This well-versed designer of eighteen years was originally inspired in her endeavours by the reluctance of the youth to embrace ethnic wear; “I would see young girls who would hate to wear a sari, because it is so difficult to put on. So, I worked on pre-made ones; where the pleats and palla were already present.
Shaina NC’s innovative twists to the draping styles of this traditional garment have indeed challenged its general perception; “we look at a Liz Hurley, a Jemima Khan or a Cherie Blair wearing a sari and go, ‘wow!’ The idea is for Indians to take the it to an international platform.”
Though she has worked with names such as Aishwarya Rai, Raveena Tandon, Juhi Chawla and Katrina Kaif, the gifted designer concedes that these trend-setting celebrities are demonstrating a slight aversion to traditional garb. “It’s great to see a film star wearing a sari, but sadly now the trend of wearing cocktail dresses to the red carpet discourages people.”
To rejuvenate interest, Shaina NC counsels adopting some of her personal favourites: the “concept saris” such as the split sari, the two-piece sari (as seen in the South) and the double sari, with two drapes in the front.
The sari maverick also has a few special recommendations for wedding enthusiasts. “You don’t have to wear a typical sari; instead wear a ghagra sari or double sari. If you want to look sensuous, you can drape it around your neck. If you want your midriff showing, then you can wear it like a sarong.”
In contrast, her suggestion for an evening out is rather simplistic; “wear a chiffon sari with a beautiful blouse. Most people wear beautiful saris with pathetic blouses. I believe in the reverse. Wear a fabulous blouse with a simple sari, because the waist up is what matters.”
Lastly, for casual occasions, Shaina NC advises the use of Chanderi or Banarasi saris.
In parting, the ‘queen of drapes’ exclaims that she is all set to conquer a milestone: a record for the fastest sari draping in the Guinness Book of World Records. Her current fastest time stands at a mere twenty seconds, a near inconceivable concept for some of us.