This festive season, bring back the flair of Kerala kasavu
The spirit of Onam lives in the little things—like the flower carpets, flavours of an elaborate sadya, or the crisp folds of a kasavu sari. The handwoven gold and cream attire, with its origins at the palace of Travancore in the 1920s, has been woven into the Malayali culture and its celebrations. It has gone through plenty of variations over the years, blending the spirits of past and present. This year, Indulge handpicks three city-based designers who are reinventing the elegant kasavu with a twist. Read on for more on the Onam special collections from Rouka, Praanah and Ela India.
Praanah’s Chethi Manjadi collection is a beautiful depiction of the evergreen memories of Onam. Inspired by radiant chethi flowers and playful manjadi seeds, the line speaks to the contemporary Malayali with nostalgia at heart. “Instead of using beads or stones and conventional surface embellishments, we have woven real manjadi seeds into the fabric,” says Poornima Indrajith, the chief designer. Beautiful red and green prints similar to the bunch of chethi flowers are the highlight of this collection. You can pick from saris, lehengas, anarkalis, salwars, and straight-cut dresses. Pair up the saris with a low-neck or puff-sleeve blouse. Price starts from `5,500.
Count to ten
With 10 days of Kasavu, designer Sreejith Jeevan has blended Rouka’s quirk and fad with the traditional attire. The first sari in the line-up draws its inspiration from the traditional mohiniyattam dress with similar pleats. Ruffled borders and pallus, waterfall braids, nautical stripes and patchwork on traditional kasavu makes up for a fresh take on the garment. “Kasavu has a particular sanctity that makes it intangible. Even the weavers are used to a particular technique. We have brought in subtle yet stylish additions to it this time,” says Sreejith. A few designs also feature colours like green and blue, bird prints and written text. Price starts from `2,900.
The silver lining
The thick golden border is probably one of the first things that come to our mind when we hear the word, kasavu. City-based designer Bindu Nair is reintroducing this theme with her label Ela India’s Onam Edit 2019. A highlight of this collection is their handwoven silver border sari that looks elegant and chic and pairs up well with metal jewellery and quirky accessories. For thiruvonam, the brand is also releasing a jamdani cross-over that focuses on the pallu. “We are working around the white look of the kasavu sari and blending components that go with the format,” says Bindu. Price starts from `3,500.