The saree, an emblem of Indian tradition and culture, is undoubtedly one of the world's oldest and most unique pieces of clothing. While the saree itself has undergone numerous changes, what often goes unnoticed is the transformation of its inseparable companion – the blouse. The evolution of the saree blouse mirrors the socio-cultural changes of India, the blend of traditional values with modernity, and the perpetual journey of fashion.
Ancient Beginnings: When the Blouse was Absent
Historical texts, sculptures, and ancient frescoes show women draped in sarees without a blouse. The original saree was wrapped in such a way that the upper body was either left bare or just covered with the pallu (the loose end of the saree). In ancient scriptures, this style was known as the 'Nivi' style of draping. The emphasis was more on the elegance and natural form of the female body than modesty.
Medieval Times: The Advent of the Choli
As time progressed and various dynasties rose and fell in India, modesty and societal norms began to change. The Gupta period, especially, saw a major shift in clothing. The 'choli', a precursor to the modern saree blouse, made its appearance. Made from fine silks and cotton, these were tight-fitting and only covered the bust, leaving the midriff exposed. The choli was often embroidered and ornamented, showing signs of the wearer's wealth and status.
Persian Influence: The Age of Ornate Designs
The Mughal Empire, with its Persian influences, brought a wave of sophistication and intricacy in designs. The saree blouse, or choli, became longer, often covering the midriff. It was adorned with intricate zari work, sequins, and beadwork. The Mughals also introduced the art of 'mukaish' and 'chikankari', both of which became immensely popular in blouse designs.
British Colonial Era: The Victorian Modesty
The British colonial period ushered in Victorian morals. The need to cover the upper body entirely became a sign of modesty and decorum. The saree blouse underwent a dramatic transformation. It now had full sleeves, high necks, and was made of thicker fabrics. The influence of the British also introduced tailored blouses, which provided a more structured fit.
Post-Independence: A Blend of Tradition and Modernity
The post-independence era in India was marked by a fervor of nationalism and a return to traditional roots, yet with a touch of modernity. Bollywood, India's film industry, played a pivotal role in setting fashion standards. Actresses donned sarees with blouses that were shorter with three-quarter sleeves and deep necklines. The 70s and 80s saw a bold change with the rise of sleeveless blouses, backless designs, and daring cuts.
21st Century: Personalization and Global Influence
The turn of the century brought with it an era of personal expression. The saree blouse became a canvas for creativity. Designers like Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, and Tarun Tahiliani have given the blouse an avant-garde touch. From off-shoulder blouses to those with intricate lacework, from corset-style to the innovative inclusion of zippers and tassels, the choices are limitless. The blouse is no longer just an accompaniment to the saree but a statement piece in itself.
The latest innovation
Flexi Fit Saree Blouses by Binks
In line with global fashion trends and the increasing demand for comfort and convenience, the saree blouse has once again evolved. The elasticated saree blouse offers a blend of tradition with convenience eradicating the need to go to a tailor. Unlike the blouses made of knitwear, the Flexi Fit blouses are made in premium woven fabric with a layer of Smocking Elastic panel at convenient places to make it body hugging and give that perfect fit.
Say goodbye to dealing with a tailor to get that perfectly fitting blouse or to buying poorly fitted ready made blouses. Flexi fit blouses by Binks is the answer to all your Blouse woes.