The Black of the Matter

On my side of the Vindhyas, the colour black isn’t exactly auspicious. Yet, it occupies pride of place on certain very important occasions in the life of a woman. The Seemantham ceremony, for instance. A ritual specific to women in Tamil Nadu, the Seemantham is a ceremony that celebrates a pregnant woman as she makes the transition from her second to her third trimester. On this particular day, a woman drapes herself in a grand black sari and festooned with jewellery and flowers, she enjoys privilege and is the centre of attention amongst a group of family and friends. I suppose even though the Seemantham is an auspicious ceremony, signalling the arrival of a baby, the colour black is significant for its association with the concept of drishti (warding off the evil eye).

Things are slowly changing in the world of black, and fortunately so. Personally, black, as a colour opens up in my mind an array of possibilities in design, allowing itself become a design backdrop of sorts, becoming in a sense, like The Rolling Stones sang, to be painted. This free-wheeling intervention in design, especially on the colour black, results in the manifestation of a slew of characteristics and contexts allowing the black sari, a sense of the versatile and the possibility of being there, in a sense, everywhere! My Indian friends and clients from abroad often indulge in the black kanjivaram not merely for its stunning value but also for its context fit-ment; making it an ideal garment on an evening-out in a mixed cultural context where the majority of a crowd wears blues and blacks. In India too, people are opening up to the idea of the black sari, shedding their conservative, superstitious baggage, making it a part of their wardrobes, even on special occasions. More recently, and I know this is fairly unusual, I had a young bride, pick a traditional black sari for her wedding reception.

For me, as a curator and designer of saris, black is a box of possibilities in interpretation.
We have, at Kanakavalli, for instance, celebrated black in a Muppagam; combined black with white checks, allowed it to meet with silver and gold zari and as a result, the black has assumed many voices of its own. What’s equally exciting about the black is its blouse-pairing possibilities. A black sari allows you the luxury to use your liberty and imagination to freely pair it with an array of blouses; you could simply wear a silver or a gold blouse or opt for a blouse in a contrasting colour or pick a black blouse and create a contrast in texture. In a sense, a black sari is a statement of its own; it is, what you will….needless to say, the black kanjivaram, in all its guises, is represented online on our site! Feel free to explore this versatile colour, and pair it with our Blouse Studio options! 
- Ahalya S