Kanjivaram or Kanjeevaram silk is a magnificent textile woven in the town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. Indian has a rich and varied textiles industry with many different fabrics being woven using ancient techniques in specific regions; however, Kanjivaram sarees transcend the limitations of regions, religion and country.
This fabric is made using lush raw materials, exquisite craftsmanship and beautiful designs and hence has an unmatched level of beauty. From the smallest details to the final finish, every element of a kanjeevaram saree is splendid to behold.
The art of making kanjeevaram sarees has been passed down over many generations and is the main source of income for the Kanchipuram area of South India. Though of course these sarees are considered auspicious and are highly revered in South India, their beauty has made them an object of admiration across India and even the world.
Their hallmark is the magnificence of the shining, lustrous silk fabric. Essentially a kanjivaram saree is a woven silk saree but the techniques used to make it set it apart. The mulberry silk used to make it is finely treated to produce thin strands which are then woven in the double warp, with the silk threads mingling with gold coated silver threads. This gives it the luxurious finish it is famous for.
Traditionally only real gold and silver was used though nowadays artificial gold has been introduced in order to produce Kanjeevaram sarees with price ranges that can attract a wider customer base. Kanjeevaram silk sarees can also be woven with zari threads for a more glittering effect. These sarees were initially 9 yards in length though in recent times they are created with the 6 yards length as well.
Kanjeevaram sarees – varieties
There are many varieties of the Kanjeevaram saree available, both traditional and modern. This classic industry has a beloved reputation and a loyal audience. This is why it has remained relatively untouched by modern influences. However, a few innovations in terms of designs have crept in and this added to the existing range of stunning traditional patterns means that there are a lot of options to choose from.
A typical Kanjivaram silk saree comes with zari borders and quaint motifs all over the saree of flowers, fruits, leaves, animals, landscapes and sometimes even religious scenes. Often the designs are more artistic, incorporating stylized abstractions of peacocks, deer, bulls etc.
On the other hand, some simpler modern patterns have also been introduced such as stripes, dots, wavy lines and even geometric shapes. These add a certain simplicity and sophistication to the saree.
While the saree itself is paramount, the blouse can also play a very important role in the outfit, not just in terms of structure and form but also in terms of design and styling. With the recent trend of using blouses to flaunt modern cuts, interesting silhouettes and enchanting designs, choosing the right one can make or break the look.
Classic kanjeevaram sarees’ blouse designs incorporate the simple round neck and half-sleeves and are made of silk. However the heavy fall and drape of this saree actually complements many different styles apart from this traditional one, including full sleeves, three fourth sleeves and closed neck lines.
The blouse may or may not be made of Kanjivaram silk, depending on the level of luxury wanted in the look. Even if it is, the pattern and even color does not necessarily have to match that of the saree. It can be in a complimentary color as well, in order to create some contrast in the outfit.
Wearing the kanjeevaram silk saree
Kanjivaram sarees are one of those unique items that will be seen in your grandmother’s wardrobe as well as on fashion ramps or the red carpet. This is because these types of outfits never go out of style; moreover, the authentic sarees are so well-made and luxuriously finished that they last a long time and can be passed down from one generation to the next.
Many Bollywood actresses have made this saree a signature item; it can frequently be seen as the favorite choice of fashion divas who want to embrace an ethnic flavor without giving up on luxury and sophistication. They typically experiment with the blouse design to bring in a bit of edge. The full sleeve, collar blouse is one of the trendiest choices to pair with this outfit.
The ideal place to wear Kanjivaram sarees is at a wedding; they are best suited for special occasions because of their shining appearance and are in fact preferred bridal dresses in South India. The thickness of the fabric makes it best suited for winter weddings. They should be matched up with gold jewelry like necklaces, earrings, bracelets, bangles, mang tikkas and rings.