Kasavu At It’s Best: Diva Designer Sarees by Sheela Sonny


Diva Designer Sarees share their Onam edit with this elegant handloom!

Onam is the special time of the year when the Kerala handloom takes centre stage along with the Pookalam (flower carpet), King Mahabali, Vallam kali (boat race) and Sadya which are all synonymous to the festival! Step into God’s own country and you will find men, women and children embracing different styles of the Kerala handloom. Ritz catches up with designers who have crafted their Onam edits with this elegant handloom!

Compiled by Riya Sonny Datson

Diva Designer Sarees by Sheela Sonny

Your inspiration to work on Kerala Saree?

Change is inevitable and to sustain any craft, it is important to innovate. When I started out over two decades ago, hand embroidery and cutwork were done mostly on cottons and silk sarees. The Kerala Saree was never considered as a medium for any value addition except probably for fabric painting. Most people preferred to wear the saree in its original form as it already had the golden Kasavu. But during one Onam, I was preparing for an exhibition of my collection and I decided to experiment by doing cutwork on the Kerala Saree. Though initially I got a mixed response from my clients, eventually, the trend picked up and soon I had Christian wedding sarees being made with cutwork on the Kerala Saree. I remember one of the leading Malayalam dailies published my work as a trendy innovation on the Kerala handloom!

 Tell us about the main idea behind your collection:

Onam is the time of the year when every Malayali woman wears the Kerala Saree or the set mundu. For this very reason, the demand for the handloom is highest during this period and there is a need to bring in variety. This year, we have tried to innovate and add more colour to embroidery and cutwork techniques. Floral applique designs in gold and silver have been used to represent the theme for Onam.

As a designer, what is the one thing that you love about your collection?

The fact that the handloom appeals to a young girl of 18 or a woman of 60. The Kerala handloom radiates elegance surpassing age, gender or the colour of your skin. It unites Kerala in a special way above all the diversities, just as the Onam festival does.

What according to you is the USP of the collection?

The USP of the collection is that it is completely handcrafted. The product provides a source of income to not just the weavers but to skilled workers who specialise in the craft of cutwork and hand embroidery.

Price range: Starting from INR 2500



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