Putting the bite into Banaras

Masaba and Ekaya’s cool and quirky collection breaks all sari stereotypes and celebrates the fact that wearing a sari can be fun, playful, comfortable and effortless.

Published: 26th May 2019 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th May 2019 06:25 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Think Ekaya, and images of opulent Banarasi saris and rich brocades, marriages, festivities and, not to mention, timeless luxury come to mind. Now, think House of Masaba. Pop colours and kitschy motifs define the sensibilities here. What if these two were to collaborate? What magical style will unfold then? Ekaya X Masaba answers all that and more with its seamless harmony of time-honoured weaving techniques and contemporary motifs.

This is the seventh collaboration for Ekaya with a designer and the first with Masaba Gupta. Says Palak Shah, CEO, Ekaya, “As a brand, our mission has always been to focus on creating the finest quality of handwoven designs. The reason we collaborate is to experiment and bring about a change in the way Indian textiles are engineered and worked on. Every year, we tie up with a designer to get a fresh perspective. This year, we wanted to go with a young, cool and modern take. I personally love Masaba’s design sensibilities and through this collection, we wanted to bring about a change in the way people look at not just Indian textiles but also the sari.”

This is a big year for Masaba as well, who marks a decade in the business. Besides new stores in Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, and launches from resort wear to tribal jewellery collections; she is also set to launch a line of merchandise for Game of Thrones. The Ekaya collaboration couldn’t have happened at a more opportune moment. “With this collection, we’re taking a bite out of Banaras and weaving it with quirky and unusual motifs,” explains Masaba.

The idea is to break all sari stereotypes and to celebrate the fact that wearing a sari can be fun, playful, comfortable and effortless. As is evident from their Instagram campaign which showcases women in Banarasi weaves lustily cheering on at the cricket pitch or stealing a quick run between the wickets. “I would ideally like saris to be worn by girls as young as even 18 years and break their notion that it is difficult to move in a sari and is just an occasion wear. We want more young women to embrace saris and feel confident and less restricted. The collection is created keeping in mind young women with a modern vision,” says Palak.

The saris, lehengas and ready-to-wear pieces feature the characteristic expertise of both brands. The finesse of Ekaya’s weaving techniques interlace with House of Masaba’s iconic monochrome aesthetic beautifully. Vibrant hues take centre stage, giving larger-than-life vivacity to old-pressed florals, cherry blossoms and chand-tara motifs. In a refreshing departure, unique renditions of vintage nibs, checks and horns, Tamil alphabet and polka dots can be found.

“The choice of these motifs makes the collection delightfully eclectic. The underlying sensibilities—of giving due respect and honour to handcrafted methodologies and designs—are what bind both our brands together. But the difference in outward expression showcases a repertoire cross between two different sensibilities. The journey from ideation to execution has been inspirational,” says Masaba.

For Palak, the new collection is a thought-provoking mix of classic and contemporary. “Remember, there’s nothing you can do in pants, skirts or jeans that you can’t do in a sari; because you’re only limited by your imagination over the many ways in which you can carry it off,” she signs off.


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