A priceless collection of vintage hand-woven Kancheepuram silk saris keeps visitors spellbound as they walk past the sixty to nearly hundred-year-old exhibits in Chennai. Their weaving style, stunning designs and the old shades or dyes are a visual treat to the visitors.
The curated exhibition of around 100 antique Kancheepuram silk saris drew the who’s who from the fashion industry. The aim is to explore ways to recreate these magical designs.
“They are absolutely priceless. what they have created in those times all are very very unique. the kind of borders and detailing,” Amritha, a renowned costume designer told NDTV.
Kalyani Pramod, a textile designer said, “These skills are slowly vanishing and only by this kind of exhibitions and efforts we can preserve the heritage of Kancheepuram weaving”.
“These are priceless, you can’t recreate, money can’t buy but handed over by generations,” Another costume designer Poornima said.
The gold content in old Kancheepuram silk sarees often lead these to be sold for big money, destroying them without a trace by burning them.
Santosh Parekh. who owns Tulsi Weaves, a silk store, has bought more than a thousand such saris from hawkers and customers and is working to make this a movement. He says “Don’t destroy if you have an old silk sari even if that can’t be worn, don’t destroy. We will have nothing to speak about them then”. On possibilities of reviving these old designs, he says “If you want to remake, we can help you. It would be time-consuming. It would require certain skills”.
Kancheepuram silk, many say, is an emotion that transports enthusiasts back in time, tradition and culture from a few decades to well over a few generations. So if you have a grand old handwoven silk sari at home, experts say it is worth preserving it and exploring the story behind it.