Five contemporary collections of saris by Swati Agarwal and Sunaina Jalan are every woman’s dream

Swati & Sunaina Gold brings facets of the extraordinary history of zari in its purest form

Rupam Jain Published :  29th September 2023 03:52 PM   |   Published :   |  29th September 2023 03:52 PM
Swati Agarwal and Sunaina Jalan, based in Kolkata, founded Swati & Sunaina Gold in 2015, showcasing heirloom traditions of Banaras textiles in real zari

(L) Chrysanthemum yellow sari from Gyaser; (R) Gulabbari purple sari from Classics

An ode to specialised Indian textiles, an exhibition showcasing Swati & Sunaina Gold brings facets of the extraordinary history of zari in its purest form.

The women behind the label, Swati Agarwal and Sunaina Jalan, came together in 2007 in Kolkata, with a conviction to bring back the lost treasures of Indian woven textiles. What started as an enterprise of passion led to the launch of their label Swati & Sunaina Gold in 2015. Preserving heirloom traditions of Banaras textiles in real zari, the label’s collections include Vanya, Rangkaat, Gyaser, Aab-e-Zar, Beyond Borders and Classics.

Aprajita bottle green sari from Vanya

With Vanya, the label celebrates the use of wild silks, and their organic hues and sheen. The brand’s core values have remained the use of pure zari and fibres, the pursuit of rare weaving traditions of Banaras to their highest forms of excellence, a largely floral repertory of motifs and patterns, and the development of thematic collections based on historical research. In keeping with these, Vanya suggests the idea of the rare tussar, eri and muga, much like metallic yarns, as threads of gold.

Padampriya teal blue green sari from Rangkaat

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Rangkaat, a rare technique of hand-weaving in Banaras, stands out for a distinctly vivid play of colours, accented by quintessential use of gold zari in fine hand craftsmanship.

The early 19th century saw heavily patterned silks being supplied to Tibet from Varanasi. They were woven as yardage in 28 inch width, in a satin weave, and  called gyaser. Swati & Sunaina Gold has worked to make the gyaser weave suitable to be draped as a sari. The multiple challenges included reducing the weight, increasing the width and modifying the construction of the textile to make it light and supple.

Ksheer red sari from Abe-E-zaar

Aab-e-zar in Urdu means golden water. This collection of handwoven saris from Banaras revisits the tradition of silk and metallic weaving in India, inspired by the translucency, incandescence and sheen of water. The collection’s repertoire of designs are taken from the art of hashiya, intricately hand painted borders seen in Mughal miniature paintings, which used pure gold leaf.

The limited edition collection of designs, Beyond Borders, revisits the tradition of attaching woven brocade borders to saris, offering five designs of borders along with options of saris in pure silk-zari tissue, silk organza, cotton muslin, ek-taar or single ply fine silk and spun silk which enables a luxurious, earthy texture. The Classic designs of saris are largely composed using elements of bel, buta and the overall pattern jaal

Price starts at Rs 1.8 lakh.
October 4 & 5. 11 am to 7.30 pm.
At The Folly, Amethyst, Royapettah. 

Twitter: @rupsjain

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