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Sculptures > Dolls > Costume > How To Drape A Saree, Illustrated By A Series Of Dolls
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How To Drape A Saree, Illustrated By A Series Of Dolls

How To Drape A Saree, Illustrated By A Series Of Dolls

How To Drape A Saree, Illustrated By A Series Of Dolls

The Indian saree is a fascinating garment. It comprises of a single length of (largely) unstitched fabric that is wound around the figure in a highly specific manner, resulting in a superbly beautiful and feminine drape. There is nothing quite like it in any other fashion cultures of the world (the Japanese kimono, of course, comes a far second). The traditional gowns of the west fail to match the saree in its elegance and simplicity, while the traditions associated with the saree make it the most eloquent element of fashion across cultures. For example, the colours and embroideries on a saree a woman is wearing give away her social status (such as her caste) and at what stage of life she is (whether she has recently given birth, married, or widowed).

The series of dolls that you see on this face is of a fair and sharp-featured Indian woman at various stages of draping her red-and-yellow bandhani (tie-dyed) saree. She winds a length of the fabric around her tiny waist and tucks the edges into the matching petticoat to hold it in place. Then she gathers an appropriate amount of fabric for the pleats, leaving enough for the statement pallu. It takes years to perfect one's intuition as to the proportion of fabric to work with at each stage of the draping. Then she pleats the fabric in panels as wide as her palm, and tucks the pleats into the petticoat. Finally, she winds the remaining fabric around her hips, brings it to the front from the other side, and drapes it across her bosom over the opposite shoulder.

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