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The six-yard story is never far from controversy or a dialogue. In light of the recent Twitter storm, we revisit it with an eye on how we are all ‘owning’ the drape today
Unstitched or stitched, tucked or pleated, neoprene or linen, with a blouse or not — the versatility of the sari deserves our attention every so often. But what got us talking this time was an impromptu question and an ill-thought statement at the recent Harvard India Conference. Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee may have quickly apologised — for using “the word ‘shame’ in reference to some women’s inability to wear a sari” — but Twitterati is still rife with posts like why “fewer young women are not (sic) wearing sarees because you’re selling ’em for 80K.” At a time when the ‘six yards’ is all about individual expression and strengthening one’s street cred, is it fair to pigeon-hole it as a uniform drape? “If innovation, form and dynamism are the definitions of contemporariness, then the sari is the most contemporary garment. While remaining unstitched, it has changed so many forms — being owned, authored and personalised by so many,” shares former Marie Claire editor Shefalee Vasudev, who has been wearing it to work (including the office of the Cosmopolitan magazine, thank you very much) and international fashion shows much before its recent ‘revival’. Of course, the question begs to be asked: did the sari ever die to be revived? Vasudev says she prefers the term reinterpretation. “The sari is a living garment and, as such, it will be interpreted, changed around, ‘dynamised’.” While the free-spirited garment headlines ever more colourful narratives, we ask a cross-section of people to weigh in on the debate.

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Vijay Nanda

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