Panaya brings its heritage collection that celebrates the history and intricacy of Benarasi silk to Chennai
In its 150 year-long history, Benaras-based brand Panaya has not once ventured beyond the confines of the holy city. And this, while its saris and designs have made their way into the wardrobes of yesteryear Indian royalty across the subcontinent and even former first lady Jacqueline Lee Kennedy Onassis. Venturing beyond its usual geography, the brand is now, set to showcase some of its heritage designs at a three-day pop-up at Chennai’s Silkworm Boutique. “Rediscovering and revival of roots is a growing niché in the fashion industry. With multiple luxury and designer brands exploring the Benarsi silks, we decided it was time to foray into other markets,” begins Virendra Agrawal, COO of the brand.
Run by fourth-generation entrepreneur Vivek Kumar, Panaya has in its employ over 50 weavers working on saris that can range anywhere between 15 days to six months to weave. Equipped with a well-archived stock of design swatches created and carefully curated over the last century and a half, design interventions and contemporisation of age-old motifs are not part of the brand’s future plans just as yet. “The traditional Benaras sari is slowly losing its significance in a marketplace where designers are constantly reinventing classic motifs.”
Delving into their archives for design inspiration, the jangla sari — densely interlaced floral (betel leaf or paisley motif) with an intricately patterned border and pallu, and the shikargarh sari — famous for its hunting scenes and animal motifs — are the Panaya’s mainstays. Also, look for the brand’s cotton Jamdani saris that are characterised by the use of lightweight fabric with patterns in pure gold zari for effect.
Benaras silks start at Rs 15,000. Jamadani zari saris priced at Rs 1,00,000 onwards.
At Silkworm Boutique, TTK Road. September 5 to 8.