The story of Saree Evolution
The saree journey and its evolution amazingly correspond to the history of India. Though its journey can be witnessed in style of draping over the years, but very less is documented. Saree is definitely more than a yard of cloth or a garment worn by Indian women. It is an artefact to India’s historic journey.
The earliest visual evidence of the saree comes from the Maury and Sunga periods around 300 BC. Sculptures and paintings from the Gupta period in the 7th and 8th century exhibited a stitched garment like breast band for women accompanying the lower draped garment. It was thought by historians- that usually it was the women of the higher classes who wore two garments while women of the lower classes were bare-breasted.
When the British became the supreme rulers of India, they introduced ‘blouse’ and ‘petticoat’ that were to be worn under the Indian saree. Wearing short sarees with boots was also quiet the rage back in the 1920s.
Around the 1930s-1950s, in pre-Independence India, the still popular ‘Nivi’ style of sarees came into being. The style was mostly endorsed by women from Indian royal families and slowly crept into the saree-styling of ordinary Indian women.
Post-Independence India from the 1950s-1970s saw the emergence of Bollywood movies and along with it the influence of the beautiful starlets who graced the big screen. Sarees underwent some major experimentation with fabrics, patterns, weaves and drapes.
The 1970s-1980s brought monotones of weaves and dark traditional colours as bold, flamboyant and colourful prints were the order of the day.
Sarees went back to their original fluidity and sheerness in the 1990s with Yash Raj heroine wearing a sensuous chiffon saree which was the perfect balance of innocence and sex appeal.
By the mid-1990s and early 2000s, Indian women had really come into their own style element.
Around 2010s the world was truly globalised and be worn with contrasting pallus and skirts. In fact, the saree became the canvas for fusion wear like Lehenga-Sarees and Saree-Gowns to appease the Indian women who were now tremendously style conscious and aware.