Kanjivaram with a Parsi accent 

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 A collection of Kanakavalli Kanjivarams features gara embroidery by Ashdeen Lilaowala

 A collection of Kanakavalli Kanjivarams features gara embroidery by Ashdeen Lilaowala

The ‘first of its kind’ collaboration between Chennai-headquartered online boutique Kanakavalli and award-winning textile designer Ashdeen Z Lilaowala has birthed a collection of over 40 saris that accentuates kanjivaram weaves with the threads and motifs of Parsi gara embroidery.

The KVL X Ashdeen: Gara X Kanjivaram collection features Kanakavalli kanjivarams in reflective tones of jewels, with occasional contrast borders, and embellished in silver, gold and bronze zari thread.

“It all started with a message from Kanakavalli. The offer was to do Parsi embroidery on kanjivarams. The idea was to amalgamate the two crafts in a way that they highlighted and complement each other,” says Lilaowala. “We had to strike a balance that blends embroidery with woven saris, by finding the right colour and shades of threads used.”

The collection, he adds, was made over a span of one year and involved chinachinikari (Chinese men and women in a landscape showcasing pagodas, houses, bridges, everything). Ashdeen’s detailed floral motifs in gara embroidery are dotted with birds and butterflies in zari work and contrast coloured thread.

Kanjivaram has a very strict geometry and grammar. The gara embroidery allows it to have a more floral appearance. It was our brand director Venkat Nilakantan’s idea to explore Kanjivarams through embellishments,” says Ahalya S, creative entrepreneur, Kanakavalli.

The collection starts from ₹95,000 onwards. It is available online at kanakavalli.com till May 8 and Kingsley, Chennai, from May 13 to May 15 (10am to 8pm).


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