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The sari goes international

Natasha Poonawalla in Sabyasachi

Among the many viral-worthy looks seen at the MET Gala red carpet this year, there was one that really stood out for us. Why? Because the sari finally made its MET Gala debut, almost 50 years after the event was first instated! Who do we have to thank for it? Philanthropist and entrepreneur Natasha Poonawalla who stepped out in an unlikely — but winning — combination of Sabyasachi and Schiaparelli, a look styled by Anaita Shroff Adajania.

Poonawalla chose to interpret the year’s theme — ‘In America: An Anthology of Fashion’ — with an Indian gaze, using the the ‘gilded glamour’ dress code to highlight Indian fashion’s multi-culturalism and authenticity. A  hand-forged Schiaparelli metal bustier paired with a custom Sabyasachi couture sari and trail, along with jewels by the Kolkata-based designer too, did the trick. “For me, the sari is a truly unique and versatile garment that owns its identity even as it transcends boundaries and geographies,” Mukherjee rightly said. The fact that the sari could mould itself so beautifully to such an innately American theme in itself is a testimony to this time-honoured drape’s sheer versatility that knows no bounds.

Natasha Poonawalla at the MET Gala

The Indian drape that goes back to 3,000BC has stood the test of time like few other garments around the world have. In essence, it is just a humble piece of fabric. But the prowess it holds within six yards is immense — from everyday wear in breathable linen to red carpet-ready in the finest fabrics; transcending age, class, occasion and location. Not a small feat!

And it was about time this national treasure got its due on a global fashion stage. While Poonawalla did bring it to mainstream attention with her stint, she isn’t the first celebrity to take the drape international. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has worn the sari at the Cannes Film Festival six times over the years. Sonam Kapoor Ahuja’s two sari stints at the same event in Anamika Khanna were a master class in marrying the old and new with inventive styling of the sari.

Sonam Kapoor in Anamika Khanna

Indian influencer Masoom Minawala also wore a shimmering Manish Malhotra sari at the film festival last year. Priyanka Chopra Jonas took to the Marrakech International Film Festival 2019 in a classic ivory Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla sari.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas in Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla

With the Cannes Film Festival 2022 around the corner, and an India-focused edition in the making nonetheless, one can’t help but wonder if we’ll see some big sari moments on an international platform once again. We are waiting with bated breaths…

Shop Aashni + Co’s versatile edit of saris, ranging from classic to contemporary, here