Although the basic silhouette has remained unchanged for many years (because it has proved to be comfortable and popular), the appearance of the Naksha skirt changes from season to season. Based on the colours and patterns in the saris that the weavers are producing at the time, as well as the inspirations of the moment, the look of the skirt can be quite different.
For example, a few years ago I was experimenting with crochet techniques and created a line of skirts with a crochet waistband. Another waist variation had skirts with a drawstring waist instead of our standard, wide elastic waistband.
One theme that I have repeated because some clients like it a lot, is skirts with a strong Madras Check pattern. Some seasons emphasize earthy colours, others 'pop-out' art colours, and some are in classy time-tested 'tone-on-tones'. In terms of texture, I have created skirts filled with 'Butis' a sort of Jamdani hand-embroidered polka-dot, and this season's Jamdani Lace features very rich full floating motifs.
In the past year or so, I have created 2 "capsules" of Nakshas. The first was part of my Indigo In-Love line of naturally dyed Art Wear, the second is a collection in what I call Jamdani "Lace".
As many of you know, my signature fabrics are the Bengal handloom muslins, created by the Tangail community of master weavers. One of the characteristic features of this fabric are the patterns and motifs, created with extra-weft threads. These threads are in-loom hand-embroidered into the fabric during the process of weaving.
The weaving technique, known as Jamdani, is so precious that it was declared an "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO in 2013. Contemporary Tangail fabrics incorporate a combination of hand-embroidery and Jacquard to produce the Jamdani motifs.
Since the muslins are traditionally woven from extremely fine threads, the jamdani patterns appear to float on a translucent surface. The patterns range from simple butis (old school polka dots) to repeated motifs depicting fish, mangoes, mountains, sacred geometry and many others.
In most saris, these motifs are limited to the borders or shoulder piece (aanchal or pallu) of the sari.
The most gorgeous and expensive saris feature complex Jamdani patterns throughout the entire fabric. I call this kind of fabric Jamdani Lace since it resembles the finest hand-embroidered lace.
This latest collection stands out with monochrome lace-like floating Jamdani motifs. The fabric is a sheer mulmul cotton with a weave that resembles organza. In my 20 years of working with Jamdani, I have not come across this look before.
You will notice the sheerness, play of light and the contrasting colour of the underskirt, creating a trompe l’oeil effect with the in-loom embroidered motifs.