Just how events and stories of the past come together to form what we call history and memories, many silken threads are woven together on a loom to form a weave that narrates the tales of the land and the people it represents. One such weave is the Banarasi weave. The brocades, made using pure gold and silver threads have long since been the symbol of opulence.
I discovered all of this and a lot more when I visited Banaras and met our gifted craftsmen who still practise this art, handed down to them as heirlooms, just like the saris they make. Our collection, Weaves of Banaras, presents a short, youthful glimpse of this age-old craft and aims to continue to communicate what is exquisitely Indian, to the world of today.
Each weave pattern is meticulously hand-drawn by our team and then sent to the weavers to work their magic. These designs are known as khaaka in industry terms
The silken threads are dyed and spooled by hand. At many homes, it is the women of the house who take care of the spooling
This base for the weave might look machine-made but is in fact created by the weavers with an accuracy rate that very few might be able to match. What boggles my mind is the mathematical and sometimes, rather military precision with which our artisans work with, despite having no formal education. Image courtesy CNN Money
The pattern boards are then arranged on the looms
Woven in traditional pit looms, the play of numbers in deciding the pattern of the design matches that of a great artist planning his next masterpiece.
The looms are maneuvered using the legs, through a pit, hence the name, pit loom
The warp (thread held lengthwise) and the weft (the thread that goes above and beneath the warp) pattern of the weave is planned by the weaver to execute a pattern. Image courtesy CNN Money
The ready weaves are then stitched to the T at our setup in Mumbai to make them ready for the ramp
Rich golds, raging reds and vermillion shades merge with fluid agility to create ethereal patterns steeped in history
Resplendent in red, actor and muse, Aditi Rao Hydari looks like a Raja Ravi Varma painting, draped in the grandiose Banarasi weave
Indigo threads woven with zari, the combination reminds one of the deep sea with little fish cutting through the water with a glimmer
Bright as the sun, the colours used in the Banarasi weaves have a life of their own