Deepika’s Kanjivaram Sarees: In Conversation with House of Angadi
When Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh announced that they were going to tie the knot, everyone went into a tizzy about the details. Where would they wed, how would the ceremonies be designed and more importantly – which designers would the starry couple wear to the various functions? After all, it’s not every day that two of India’s biggest stars get married. Ranveer’s flamboyant and unconventional fashion sense has earned him the spotlight ever so often. However, everyone’s attention was focused on what the elegant and classy bride would wear for key events.
The ‘Padmaavat’ star surprised everyone by eschewing intricate lehengas and designer sarees and opting for rich Kanjivaram sarees for her Konkani wedding ceremony at Lake Como, Italy, and the
The two beautiful sarees were from House of Angadi, a Bangalore-based high-end silk saree brand whose weaving tradition goes back generations. In a conversation with Mr. Radharaman, CEO and Design Head of the House of Angadi, we unraveled some secrets of the two elegant Kanjivaram sarees.
What were the unique highlights of Deepika’s Konkani wedding and reception sarees?
“The saree that Deepika wore for her Mangalorean wedding featured the Gandaberunda design which is a symbol of the state of Karnataka, the star’s home state. The Gandaberunda is a mythical two-headed bird that is a part of Indian mythology. The two heads represent wisdom (spiritual wealth) and prosperity (material wealth). The design has a timelessness and symbolic meaning that makes it worthy to be worn for special occasions such as a wedding. The weaving for the pure Kanjivaram red and gold wedding saree with a brocade border took approximately 45 days to weave. The golden saree which she wore for the Bengaluru reception took around 60 days to complete.”
When did House of Angadi get roped into creating these two sarees or were they bought off the shelf by the bride’s mother?
“The designs in question were not customized for Deepika Padukone but they are among the rarest and most exclusive of designs. Though I was not personally present when Deepika and her mother visited Angadi Galleria, our retail store, my team informed me that they selected the items from our limited-edition label Adavaya for The House of Angadi. Deepika was personally present and tried out the saris before they completed the purchase. As is the case at most weddings, the choice of sarees was a joint decision by members of the family including Deepika herself. We were not given any design brief. They chose the sarees of their liking. They stated their preferences among the sarees from the Advaya collection presented by our team at the store.”
Brides these days are majorly into high-end designer wear. A megastar like Deepika chose to wear traditional Kanjivaram sarees for two key functions. Will this have any impact on bridal trends in the future?
“Deepika’s sarees were from our limited-edition Advaya designer collection where each piece is designed by me and then woven by master craftsmen. Therefore while the pieces were bought from our retail store Angadi Galleria, they are still very much by a designer; hence are ‘designer’ creations. The pieces are the pride of Karnataka. The fact that Deepika wore them for two of her wedding functions and chose a label from Bangalore is a matter of pride, and we hope that more and more brides take pride in wearing Kanjivaram sarees for their wedding.”
Does House of Angadi only specialize in Kanjivaram creations?
“Our retail showroom brand Angadi Galleria is a distinct and separate identity and retails a wide variety of products straddling the entire gamut of techniques across a variety of crafts. The Advaya label currently focuses on Kanjivarams among other genres and is expanding quickly into other areas. I wish to dispel the notion that Kanjivarams do not appeal to a broader cross-section of people. On the contrary, we have retail clients who fly down from different parts of India and make yearly trips from abroad just to buy Kanjivarams for their weddings from our retail showrooms.”
What is the reason for the enduring popularity of Kanjivaram sarees especially for weddings?
“Contrary to what some people believe, the Kanjivaram is an eternal genre that will remain relevant in times to come. The design vocabulary of a Kanjivaram saree communicates the values of our culture and tradition, and this is what makes it a powerful style statement. The Kanjivaram was always worn by royalty and was considered the most opulent of garments. A real Kanjivaram has more silk per square inch of fabric than any other textile genre and uses real zari as a rule, unlike most other genres. Real zari is high in its silver and gold content and silk is the most valuable of textile raw materials. The Kanjivaram genre flourished under the rule of the ancient Dravidian Dynasties of South India who were amongst the most powerful and wealthiest of their kind in the world. This fact is borne out even today by the sheer magnificence and wealth of the temples of the South. That those belonging to this civilization should have chosen to pioneer the creation of this genre that speaks volume of the opulence and luxurious character of the Kanjivaram. In comparison to a lehenga, a Kanjivaram is an older piece of textile that is much lighter and easier to wear for an Indian wedding. Of course, I am not saying that lehengas or Benarasi sarees are not fashionable or beautiful, but I believe their appeal is rivaled, if not surpassed, by that of the Kanjivaram as a choice for Indian weddings. The final point I would say in this regard would be that while fashion is ever-changing, some traditions remain relevant forever. The Kanjivaram and other handloom genres are representative of what I would call ‘everlasting fashion traditions’ that shall remain in style for many years hence.”
Can you share the price range of the two sarees worn by Deepika? Which other celebrities have worn House of Angadi sarees?
“Unfortunately, we cannot disclose the prices of the two sarees. Nor can we disclose the names of our celebrity clients without prior consent.”