Gaurang Shah Designs Art in Saree

You see that picture? That is a saree. It is NOT applique. Every detail was woven seamlessly, the inspiration taken from a famous Telengana artist’s paintings. We saw more, but this saree in particular struck my fancy. The lady, sitting, with her pristine earrings and the little smile on her face, made me happy somehow. The man who had designed it, Gaurang Shah, told me that it took him a year and half to get this weave correct. Once you look closely, the weave’s almost 3-D nature stands out.

Gaurang Shah Store

We sit at Gaurang Shah’s lovely boutique, a quiet place near Menoka Cinema Hall. Gaurang keeps a few sarees on display, but his prize possessions are all packed inside wooden almirahs, locked and kept safe from prying eyes. When I ask which saree he is proud of, he smiles gently, and tells me that they are all precious to him.

“How will you really determine the value of a saree woven by an eighty-year old weaver, who took three years to weave one? You would lock it up, because you know you will never get another one like it – its unique.” He looks at me and I understand his passion.

Working with different kinds of material, Gaurang seamlessly weaves two or more different patterns into a single saree seamlessly. Sometimes its a Gujarati Patan Patola base with a bright, traditional Kanjibharam pallu and border, and sometimes its a completely traditional pattern, woven in a way which is completely against the grain – but somehow, it works out in the end, stunning me with the complexity. 
Patan Patola with Kanjibharam border

In the upcoming Lakme Fashion Week 2015, Gaurang will be displaying a few of his favorite weaves. He loves the zamdani weave, and often produces gorgeous floral designs, which is more common in Andhra Pradesh. As he hails from Andhra, he loves working with the zamdani weave, but he admits that the Bengali zamdani, with its more geometric pattern, and self-color designs are also fabulous.

tree of life in a zamdani weave. 

In the LFW, 2015, Gaurang will have Vidya Balan as his showstopper this year. Graceful in a saree, Vidya loves the sarees and their intricate designs. Kirron Kher is also a long-term fan of Gaurang’s work, and has been the showstopper for his sarees numerous times. Apparently, he had initially wanted to ask her to be the showstopper, but was initially dismissed. But after a while, she had discovered his sarees in a friend’s boutique, and on an impulse, he had asked her to his Mumbai store opening, and not only had she come, but she had also agreed to be his showstopper for a number of shows. Kirron Kher definitely looked stunning in a number of gorgeous drapes.

Gaurang Shah with a Gorgeous Floral Andhra Zamdani

Although it had initially been difficult to explain to the Lakme Fashion Week people what he had been doing – the complex creations coming out of a combination of traditional designs and modern outlook, and the weaving of different kinds of patterns and textures, with time, the concepts Gaurang had tried to portray had been conveyed, and currently, he is one of the hottest designers of traditional garments in India. He sees sarees as investment – to be worn through generations, and his designer range begins from 6,000/- INR and can go up to 6,00,000/- INR, depending on the design. Kolkata loves his stuff, and although the shop is not even a year old, the sales are pretty brisk. 

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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