gaurang shah
Noticed the pale flowers on the white background? Love the attention to detail

     What happens when a complete saree “noob” meets a master? Since I was very young I have been very averse to the whole saree concept. Let me explain…being a tomboy a garment which was so sensual and womanly was my natural enemy so to speak. As a result I have always rejected it on a principle (childish I know). My friends have asked me many times as to why I don’t wear one. But I just cant bring myself around to it. Obviously I have absolutely no clue about them and cant distinguish one from the other even if my life depended on it. I got an invite to meet with Gaurang Shah at his Kolkata store. I wanted to read up on him before I actually met him and see the kind of work he does. I came across some pictures of his LIFW ’13 collection and was mesmerized with the bold prints and colors of his collection. There was this gorgeous dupatta gracing a cream ensemble which had me hooked. I was thinking how gorgeous a dress or a jacket would look made out of it.

The outfit I fell in love with! Source – fashionmostwanted.com
gaurang shah
Love the vibrant interiors!

 

     His store is nestled in one of the best areas in town. A bright yellow front beckons with its huge glass windows adorned with sarees used as covers. The vibrancy of the interiors were a surprise when I stepped in but when I think about it very true to the designer’s collection. I felt that I had stepped into an old world bungalow…Bright red walls with stark white columns having beautiful south Indian inspired paintings on them. The ground floor features salwar suits in all types of fabrics and a range of color hues. From the brightest and most striking to the most pleasant and soothing.

gaurang shah
Check out the gorgeous grey pink silk one in the left pic

 

gaurang shah
They even have a range of dupattas

    Climb a floor up and you enter the saree haven…row upon row of bright yards of cloth just beckoning the enthusiast. I spotted these beautiful pieces in vibrant colors and just had to call the attendant to ask the type they were. They were made from Banarasi silk. Again there was a huge range of fabrics, colors and prints available. There were some affordable pieces here and I saw one which was just for 5-6k. Tucked in the side is a room where the heavy weights reside aka the Kanjivarams, the Benarsis, the Pathan Patola, etc. Old wooden cupboards hold the precious pieces wrapped lovingly in muslin cloth. I got a quick crash course on the how the different types of sarees actually look like by the attending staff.

gaurang shah
The Banarsi silk ones that I liked a lot are on the top left

 

gaurang shah
Clockwise from top left – Kanjivaram, Pathan patola, Tissue para and Pathani

     Finally it was time to talk to the designer himself. I asked him about the “jamdani” technique that he uses. He told me that it was a Parsi loom technique. All the sarees are made by hand on the loom and given the complexity and intricacies involved it takes anywhere from 6 months to a few years to make one piece. Well that answered why I couldn’t get a dress or jacket šŸ˜€ Each saree is unique and one of a kind. We spoke about his childhood and reasons for choosing this line, how his LIFW debut came to be and how Kiron Kher became the face of his brand. Don’t you think she is perfect brand ambassador for it? With her enchanting smile and personality! So love her style!!!

gaurang shah
Some pieces of art and some fusion pieces

 

gaurang shah
Posing with the master and his creations

     He showed us some fusion pieces he had created – Kanjivaram with Ikat, Kanjivaram with Banarsi, Kanjivaram on organza, etc. He then moved on to the truly artistic ones. Where there was an entire painting depicted on them. There was one with a tree of life pattern…can you even begin to imagine how it might have been done using the loom. So many colors, lines, etc to get right. He then showed these sarees which had paintings of a famous painter on them. He especially gave Gaurang some of his work to be translated on to the fabric. Not only did he make them true to the painter’s design but took it a step further. He used this special method and made the parts of the painting look 3D. Wow! To say I was spell bound is putting it very mildly. I love art and seeing something like this was just beyond words. Well the master did not make me a saree convert but he sure made me love and appreciate this art form a whole lot more. Thank you Mr. Shah for a truly wonderful experience and sharing such detailed information about your craft šŸ™‚