Back in the day, when the kanjivaram was the everyday – almost obvious – garment of choice, its wearers formed with it a relationship so personal and affable; there was a certain rigour combined with a sense of ease that typified the way they wore and tended to the sari, the kanjivaram in particular. The sari was worn regularly, and washed as often, in an abundance of running water that flowed generously, enabling the silk to find for itself a new form, and flow, assuming a character of softness that almost took the shape of its wearer, lending to her a personality of its own, adding grace and dignity.
In the world that we live in, the kanjivaram continues to remain an integral story except it is no longer an everyday garment of choice; it has elevated itself to an occasion-based garment that finds articulation in moments that are special, auspicious and are meant as platforms for making a social statement in class and privilege. As a result, the kanjivaram is no longer a wash-and-wear kind of garment, finding place more in our wardrobes, stacked up amongst other saris, waiting for an occasion to become that precious sari that will be deemed worthy enough to be worn!
This new relationship that our generation has formed with the kanjivaram also demands a different kind of a looking after; and washing is not the way to go. Precious pieces in creation demand precious tending to and I believe that that comes from investing time and energy in ensuring the sari is preserved, in a sense, for posterity. I encourage my clients to always remove the sari from its cover, soon after it is purchased; I also always advise them to change the fold of the sari from the original fold in which it was sold. The kanjivaram, you must know, is by no means light; every sari weighs a kilo, almost and therefore stacking up a bunch of saris, one on top of the other may often end up ruining the zari of the sari. The zari, after all, is metal and can bend and break. If you have the luxury of costuming a sari wardrobe, I’d highly recommend crafting one with slim shelves wherein you can stack upto four saris, that have the possibility of breathing freely, and in a sense, resting in peace. Because after all, stories like the kanjivaram, are stories, forever!
Do you have any tried and tested tips on storing your kanjivarams? Do let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear them!
- Ahalya S
I remember my grand mother saying keeping kancheevaram sarees in wooden cabinets especially ones made of teak woods allowed the saree to breath