The very mention of the word Kerala cottons reminds one of pure cottons that have a distinct feel of crispness and fine weave, not overly embellished and maintaining its look of purity which has made it the look of the women of the state who continue to favor it. Kerala cottons because of their simplicity of pattern, the rich gold border and the shades of off whites they offer thus are hot favorites throughout the country, irrespective if one is a Keralite or not and one does not wait for Onam to try out this saree.
What makes this saree such a classic choice is the untarnished look that it still maintains and the cult status it has for all formal occasions. The golden hues and the purity of white is a combination that one seldom sees in other states of India and it has in fact today reached the status of one of the most recognized sarees that any Indian state possesses.
But as much as we love its simplicity, there have been huge innovations in the manner in which the set saree has today recreated itself. Inclusion of embroidery, extra zari borders, broad borders, pallu designs, prints and painting are not unknown. The Kerala saree thus does have a certain angle of innovation that has helped build its popularity. And more than the saree itself there has been a spate of new design of blouses that have paired itself with the set saee most effectively. What must however remember while pairing any pattern of blouse is not to underplay the gold and the white which ultimately makes the Kerala saree what it is.
These are some of my favorite picks in blouse patterns that would make the Kerala saree look all the more resplendent.
The first being the puffed sleeve blouse that could be worn differently depending on the wearer. If the blouse is being worn by someone thinner one can add more puffiness to the sleeve and if the person is n the heavier side one can simply add the little frill at the base of the blouse sleeves to make the arms look lot less heavy. Do note the important addition of the golden tissue which is making the blouse come together cohesively with the saree in the same combination.
While cotton may be your top most choice for blouse material for such pairing, do remember than there are very fine blended fabrics available today that are sheer in nature and can be given a lining and worked on with any amount of embellishment despite being very fine in quality. In the blouse below the celebrity has worn the sleeve right down to the elbow which gives a more formal look to the saree while the shorter sleeves will make it look more festive and young. Anyone with heavier arms is advised to opt for longer sleeves that can end in a gold border.
Create the look of contrast with any kind of hand embroidered fabric that one can find-be it Gujarati stitch, Kantha or kutch work. How will the effect be –well, simply astonishingly different. Here the plain Kasavu has been given a black blouse that has hand worked motifs, the smaller design looks as charming as larger motifs. Maybe one can go for larger design at the back worked on gold. Think of black satin blouse that has gold zari embroidery with an ‘ambi’ pattern and the same can be worked on the pallu of the white saree. That would be as traditional as it can get yet gives a bold new look to the Kasavu.
Here is another look at combining something brighter with the Kasavu-the red blouse is made of raw silk and apart from v –neck, it could also be given a dori tie up back. The design in gold is all over the back and the front of the neck. The saree and blouse gets more coordination from the fact that it has some red painted mural work and floral work on it. A red blouse has always been one of the colors that combine well with whites and off whites
Consider also this red blouse that could be worn with heavier kasavu sareees. The fabric chosen for the blouse is a heavy silk and the work is basically composed of pearl work and zari work that is making this a special occasion blouse. Note the triangular back opening that gives so much to appreciate as the linear design worked all along the edges gets more prominence.
The three blouses below carry along the traditional blouse design preferred with Kerala cottons that has short sleeves mainly-young and very trendy, some have a little embroidery along the cut of the arm or along the edges. Note the golden frill along the neckline and the sleeves that gives such a youthful look and a very Westernized 1940s twist to the look of the blouse.
The inclusion of net is not an unknown phenomenon. While the Kerala saree remains steadfast mostly with its traditional look, here is one blouse pattern that would look splendid with it. Note the high back and the neck and the sleeve that has the usage of net in black and gold that look great with the golden border of the saree. The same could work well with Kerala cottons too.
Another blouse pattern that lays a lot of emphasis on the sleeve sis this pleated in tissue sleeved blouse that would look great with bridal kasavu sarees. You can see not just the sleeves that give it more definition but also the edging on the sleeves as well as thin but visible lace in gold across the neck line as well. Try this design if you are trying the Goddess look at a wedding.
Can multi colored blouses work with Kasavus. However strange it may seem the off white and gold is such a wonderfully accommodative combination that colors as earthy and the lightest possible shades too could be made to work with it just fine. You can see the magic of block printed blouse in patches of different colors working just fine.
Another lovely choice would be the net blouse in a nude shade or beige, that will looks ethereal with such sarees. Note the keyhole back pattern that will add all the pizzazz to this more modern look
Add more style to your Kasavu saree by creating a black thin border all through its length and width and the match it with this kind of a chintz printed silk blouse fabric that has been given the typical traditional dori design. It’s really a marvel how the black blouse matches creating such an unconventional looking duo.
In all three pictures below you can see the Kerala saree looking quite refreshingly different when combined with Kalamkari blouses in different styles-the one that of course catches the eye, is the net backed one that combines modernity with tradition so wonderfully.
And lastly the blouse pattern that will surely look fabulous with a Kerala cotton-it’s this high necked design that could be made in red or green and with gold work on the front and back with short sleeves. Great as formal wear weddings and special occasions.
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