Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sari Love - Parama and her quirky, crazy, whimsical sari style

Hello Sari-divas! I can’t wait to introduce today’s sari love guest. A sari buddy I met through the very first sari blog post I wrote here (I featured a sari picture from Byloom and it turned out, she was the model), I’ve loved her unique sari style for a long time. Quirky, whimsical, fun, full of fervor, her sari style is totally like the kind of person she is. Ladies, I’m pleased to welcome Parama Ghosh Ganguly, a lawyer and artist from Kolkata, who I promise, will blow you away with her fabulous sari style.

 Please tell us about yourself – what you do, where do you live, your interests, family.

I am a lawyer and an artist from Calcutta. Born to a family of four generation of lawyers, I was almost destined to be one. 9 years into the profession, I could clearly see that law and I had an about-okay marriage and the mind strayed in love-struck alleys. The law firm job was like a rich husband who would sponsor my travels, stilettos and bags, but the heart longed to lose itself in the dimples of a starry eyed lover. 

In February, 2015, I took the plunge and launched my dream venture “Parama” (Narcissicus is my middle name). The love for handloom, slow fashion, handmade art and inspirations from every day words, pages of books, scenes from films, lyrics of songs made the project what it is. In the initial days, I was battling a full fledged law firm job in the day and creating stories on handloom by night. I am now consulting with a start up law firm for 3 days and use the rest of the days for my project.     

I love to write. I write particularly about Calcutta (about roadside tea, conversations, cinema, roads, statues of Calcutta, book fair, “Why Bengalis are God’s greatest gift to mankind”, among other things) and also about other mundane happenings that makes my life colourful. My blog, “Potpourri” can be found here:

My other interests would include Rabindranath Thakur, traveling, biriyani, reading, cinema, photography, thick milk tea, conversations with cab drivers, Farhan Akhtar.

I absolutely love your sari style. How would you describe it?

I would describe my saree style as “carefree”. It is an extension of my (eccentric) personality. It is second skin. I have often boasted and bragged about this and shall repeat it again.  I can drape any saree in three flat minutes. It takes lesser time than it takes for any man to get ready. This explains saree for me in a nutshell. It is as every day and as effortless as putting a bindi on my forehead or applying kohl on the eye contours.

I wear sarees for all occasions. To work, to weddings, to parties, to pubs. Being a Bengali and that too from Calcutta, saree is an everyday wear. I had first worn a saree (red benarasi) when I was six months old (for my rice ceremony). Saree is the most versatile of all pieces of clothings, according to me. It doesn’t overgrow your size, it reveals as much as it hides (and I find that the sexiest thing about a saree), it enhances your body contours in the most perfect way. The same piece of clothing can be perfect for an office meeting as well as for a fun party.

I’ve noticed that you wear some fun blouses. Do you have tips for sari aficionados about how to come up with unusual combinations while using what they already have in their wardrobe?

Saree itself is capable of making a statement as a stand-alone piece and perhaps does not require accentuating it further. However, any cake would look better with its marzipan flowers. My blouses are those sugar coated colourful roses. The first rule I blindly follow for any mix and match is: One should never overshadow the other. If you are wearing a traditional Paithani or a Patola, the saree itself is the statement piece. I would never over do the look with a “hatkey” blouse because the saree deserves all the attention. My point here is, stick to the traditional blouse piece that comes attached with the saree. For the less traditional ones, unleash your Pandor’s box of ideas.

I love fun motifs. I have umbrellas, ice lollies, dices, clouds, kites, crows, Pyasa-Guru Dutt-Waheeda poster and a plethora of quirky motifs on blouses. I love making appliquéd motifs on my blouses because they remind me of my childhood scrapbook.

So far as combining a saree with a blouse is concerned, I am not the best person to be asked. I don’t believe in matching. For me, except for traditional sarees, blouses and sarees are like a husband and wife. Mismatched, sometimes outrageously different yet they exist in perfect cohabitation. I have worn blue blouses with orange sarees (and a green bindi to go along with it). 

I have turned upholstery into blouses because the material was kidney-seeking expensive for a curtain but okay for a blouse. I have worn the sexiest of my blouses with the most mundane of my Khadi sarees. 

So my only rule is, throw away any rule book that comes handy. Combine your red and white Dhakai jamdanis with a frilled, traditional check Gamchha blouse or a Tangail with a brocade. Sometimes an overtly gorgeous Benarasi looks beautiful with a muted Khadi blouse.  And being a Bong, my unadulterated slavery towards sleeveless blouses needs to be mentioned too. A plain sleeveless blouse (someone called it a Bengali woman’s Bheectoria’s Secret) does wonders to any sarees and transforms any woman to a Super Hot Boudi in seconds.

What’s an interesting way to accessorize without collecting a huge amount of jewellery?

For a saree, a brooch is my favourite accessory. I keep on saying this. For all the Gari, Bangla, bank balance life forgot to bestow on me, it made it up with my collection of brooches. I have all kind of them. In metals and in fabrics. I make it a point now to tell the tailor to make a box out of the left over fabric saved after making my blouses. Sometimes, I often use natural flowers as brooches.

Flowers remind me that I love flowers on my hair too. However, my hair is a mirror image of its owner. Rowdy, unruly and unmanageable. So a neat bun and flowers around them often turn a Herculean task. But it makes a pretty sight.

I have a collection of junk jewellery to be very proud of. So proud that, I am not going to give them away to the next generations. In fact, my Will shall have a clause that all my junk shall be sent off to hell along with me when I die. My gold jewelry des not enjoy this unfaltering bias, though.
On a slightly more serious note, I have also realised that hoarding jewlery to accessorize them with sarees does not make too much sense. Even for myself, I wear the most favourite ones all the time while the others are treated as step children.

So choose versatile pieces that go with many. Also team up a saree with jewelry for the sake of love for it and not the compulsion of matching them.

What’s your best tip for those who love the sari, but are hesitant about wearing it more often?

If one loves saree, the best thing she could do to the saree is to wear it. The more you wear it, the more it turns friendly. I got married at 22. I was always cribbing at the way my mom or mom in law would drape sarees on me. So one day, I decided to come up with my own user friendly technique to drape one. It didn’t happen in a day. But when the saree and I became friends, we knew it would be a relationship of a lifetime. Saree has that effect on you.  The only way your acquaintance can turn into a happy bonding, is wearing them more often, as much as you can, wherever you can.

Here's where you can cruise over to Parama's clothing brand - Parama.

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  1. Loved going through your blog. I love saris too and I love quirky blouses , my latest is wearing my daughters hand me down tops as blouses , i love it.

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