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Kanjeevarams Can Be Worn Everywhere. These Celebs Show Us.

M S Subbulakshmi

Instagram is the best place to catch the fashion trends and follows what best dressed and trendy women are wearing. We did a quick search for #kanjeevaram and found women from all over the world donning the nine-yard kanjeevaram. Weddings, parties, awards, concerts and other special occasions, the kanjeevaram saree made the occasions even more special. Here are some of the celebs and well-known women – singers, actors, and politicians, among others – who wear kanjeevarams.

Kanjeevaram + Bollywood

Rekha. We could write a book on Rekha and her love for sarees. Few actors have carried kanjeevarams as gracefully and proudly as Rekha has, for years. Very recently, she was seen in a gorgeous pink kanjeevaram at the wedding-of-the-year, Virushka’s reception party. She is known for donning the kanjeevaram on the red carpet for years and joining in the style statement are actors Vidya Balan and Deepika Padukone. “Every woman must have a kanjeevaram or a Banarasi saree in her wardrobe,” said Balan in an interview published on Huffington Post. Padukone was seen clad in a red kanjeevaram at the HT Style Awards this year, which was gifted to her by Rekha. Late Sreedevi wore a golden and red kanjeevaram at the Zee Cine Awards earlier this year.

Rekha at a wedding reception


Kanjeevaram in politics

Actor, dancer and politician, Hema Malini wore a kanjeevaram at her daughter Esha Deol’s wedding and another one at a puja on Ganesha Chaturthi. The late CM of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa, was most known for her collection of silk sarees, among them kanjeevarams.


The song and dance of kanjeevarams

Think about singers who wear kanjeevarams and the most probable names that pop up in our minds are Usha Uthup and Shubha Mudgal. Apart from her coarse voice, Usha Uthup’s rich kanjeevaram sarees complemented with gold jewelry and a gajra in most of her performances and videos makes her equally unique. The Carnatic vocalist and the first Indian singer to receive the Bharat Ratna Award, MS Subbulakshmi, is known for wearing kanjeevarams for her performances.

Singer Usha Uthup in a Kanjeevaram saree

Anoushka Shankar who describes her style as feminine and also psychedelic and Gothic-inspired owing to her teenage years in San Diego has chosen to wear a kanjeevaram saree for some of her performances. “I also love to wear the very traditional kanjeevaram saris I can steal from my mother’s closet.”


Apart from being a social activist, publisher and filmmaker, the famous Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancer, Mallika Sarabhai, has adorned the kanjeevaram in many of her stage performances. Wearing a kanjeevaram is as much about wearing complementing and matching accessories and jewelry, as writer Shobha Narayan writes in an article in Live Mint, “The best way to see how a Kanjeevaram and its accessories ought to be worn is to watch Carnatic music singers on the dais—Sudha Raghunathan with her gold jhumkis; Aruna Sairam and her nose-rings; sisters Ranjani and Gayatri in tandem, one sister’s sari-border colour woven to match the body of the other’s sari and vice versa, and, of course, M.S. Subbulakshmi and the whole nine yards. These women look like they are styled for a shoot because their accessories and jewelry match their sari just so.”

Mallika Sarabhai


Other fabulous women

Indra Nooyi became the first independent female director of the International Cricket Council in February 2018. She has consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women and she’s chairwoman and CEO of PepsiCo. Nooyi wore a Kanjeevaram when she received the Padma Bhushan in 2007. In her book, Superstar India: From Incredible to Unstoppable, Shobha De writes, “Nooyi was given a prestigious national award in 2007 (the Padma Bhushan). At a grand function, she received it from the prezzie, clad in a traditional south Indian kanjeevaram saree. India was agog. Wow, we all said in unison, now here’s a power lady… and most importantly–so ‘Indian’.


Vidya Balan

These are just a few of the gorgeous Indian women who wear the kanjeevaram with pride to various functions. Wearing this rich nine-yard cloth is about carrying the garments grace, vibrancy, colors, richness, workmanship and an age-old legacy. Let’s give women in kanjeevarams a well-deserved applause.

#madeinindia #kanjivaram #sarangi #chennai #traditional

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