Kolkata boy Rahul Dasgupta’s spring-summer showcase Shetu on the FDCI x Lakme Style Week in New Delhi, in March, featured a striped silk Chanderi sari with peeta-embroidered border, styled with a basic black Jodhpuri jacket, on a male mannequin. The look was so putting that it was one in every of our factors of dialog whereas chatting with Rahul in regards to the assortment, which was a play of patterns and textures. By the top of our chat, we had brainstormed a sari shoot with an all-male mannequin line-up. Rahul styled minimal saris on 5 male fashions — Souveck Saha, Mohammed Iqbal, Rahul Ganguly, Umer Mushtaq and Udit Pande— and coined the marketing campaign “9 yards of braveness”.

Submit-shoot, Rahul instructed us what the sari meant to him and why this was an vital shoot.

As a person, what does a sari imply to you?

My thought of sari has at all times been “prohibited clothes” since I used to be a child. I’ve at all times been a female child and when my ma wasn’t round I used to drape it on me at all times fearing if I obtained caught. The concern of not dressing proper or dressing in keeping with my gender is what sari means to me.

As a inventive individual, what does it imply to you? How did you strategy it the primary time you considered dabbling in it?

At this time once we discuss sari, the very first thing that involves thoughts is the quintessential conventional Indian piece of clothes for ladies. But when we return in Indian historical past of style when clothes originated, sari was nowhere there. Individuals used to put on three items of clothes —“uttariya” (a strip of cloth to cowl their higher torso), “antariya”, which was extra like a dhoti wrap, and “kayabandh”, which is a broad cloth belt to safe the dhoti drape, and these items have been worn no matter gender, a lot later “stanpatta” got here to cowl the breasts of ladies. So sometimes that was our Indian origin of clothes.

Sari got here a lot later throughout Indus Valley Civilisation and sometimes obtained reserved for ladies… I at all times query why and the way. So my journey of exploring concepts began from right here. If “antariya”, a dhoti-like draping type was once worn by each the genders, why not sari?!  Additionally as a designer I discover this idea of gown code to mark the gender extraordinarily frivolous. The concept of clothes got here to guard ourselves from the surroundings, now we gown to look good, that’s it. Put on no matter you want to put on and what makes you content, be it a dhoti-style draping or a sari type.

What have been your apprehensions about this shoot?

To be trustworthy my solely apprehension was if I may make this work as a designer. I didn’t desire a gimmick however to effortlessly put the “sari”-draping type in males’s clothes the place the persona of every mannequin comes by. These 5 individuals are extraordinarily totally different from one another and everybody had a approach of carrying the sari, which was fascinating. I’ve a really refined, silent strategy to my designing sensibility so even after I showcased a person’s sari on the ramp, it wasn’t a scream. This time 5 males sporting saris was a little bit of a screaming thought for me but in addition I realised it wanted to achieve extra individuals and this may very well be a approach for certain.

What was your required final result from this shoot?

As a designer, I really feel lucky that I’m able to inform tales by the work that I create. The concept behind this shoot was to liberate my childhood concern of getting caught red-handed for sporting my ma’s sari. Additionally to coach individuals about gender neutrality and non-binary clothes. Individuals have to know that it’s completely okay to put on no matter they want to put on and no matter makes them glad. From this marketing campaign even when a minimum of one man will get the braveness to put on a sari drape, it’s successful for your entire t2 workforce and my label. So, sure, this was a vital shoot certainly.

What was the general styling ethos?

For the general styling, I wished a laid-back, informal draping type and never clear pleating, like how a person casually would drape it round.

Will saris be part of your inventive course of from hereon?

My inventive course of is sort of strong. At this time an thought comes and I fall in love with it and tomorrow my love goes to one thing else however no matter I do, I do it with full honesty. This man’s sari is not any totally different. Deconstructing the sari-draping type and creating one thing actually attention-grabbing for a person to put on will likely be a pleasant derivation to take it ahead from right here for certain.

Photos: Pabitra Das

Hair and make-up: Meghna Balmiki

On Umer: A gray half-and-half sari teamed with a gray silk Chanderi kurta and a pair of sneakers. The sari has Rahul’s signature shibori-dyed twine texture on the palla with a heavy satin border.

“That is my first time in a sari and it was so snug. I requested Rahul (Dasgupta) a whole lot of questions and when he defined, I discovered it actually attention-grabbing. I’ll after all attempt sporting it in future too”

Umer Mushtaq

On Udit: A silk Chanderi sari teamed with a textured cream shirt and a black Chanderi overshirt and paired with a sneakers. The striped silk Chanderi sari comes with a distinction black embroidered border.

“I personally haven’t any drawback even when somebody asks me to be bare as a result of I do know it’s artwork, one thing which we’re working in direction of and it has that means. It doesn’t matter if two individuals from that home or two individuals from my home perceive it or not. Even whereas sporting a nail polish I hear a whole lot of issues. That is my expression and as a mannequin, that is my job. I’m an artist. I’ve this female factor to myself and rising up, I at all times wished to put on one, however little issues obtained me into bother. So, the sari was an enormous deal. Rekha ma’am gave Sushant Divgikr (an artist who’s representing India at RuPaul’s DragCon) one in every of her saris. It’s my dream if Rekha ma’am offers me one too. I’m actually optimistic. I didn’t really feel any totally different in a sari. It’s as regular as sporting denims and a tee. It’s the way you drape and carry it. For certain, I might like to put on a sari. My favorite sari reminiscence is my mother sporting it. She has saris which my nanaji gifted her. They’re correct Benarasis and even when it’s torn, she has saved it. I do know someday, I’m going to ask her for all of these.”

Udit Pande

On Rahul: A striped silk Chanderi sari with a shibori-dyed palla and heavy satin border with shibori-dyed again, teamed with an uneven achkan and a pair of sneakers.

“I used to be fairly certain that it’s going to be a cool factor. Rahul styled it so properly, not like a typical drape, which anybody can attempt. This was my first expertise of sporting a sari and it was tremendous. I used to be very snug. I’ve seen my mom and grandmom put on taant and silk saris”

Rahul Ganguly

On Iqbal: Black silk Chanderi sari teamed with a black bandhgala jacket and a pair of sneakers. The sari has a reflective tape border and a geometrical tape element on the palla.

“This was the primary time I used to be sporting a sari and it was nice enjoyable. I by no means knew saris are so snug. I used to be very snug. Anyone can put on a sari now as a result of we live in a society the place issues are getting accepted and there may be gender equality as properly. Actually I used to be slightly sceptical, as a result of I assumed it could be like Akshay Kumar’s look in Laxmii. Later after I noticed the references, I assumed this may be a enjoyable shoot. My favorite sari reminiscence must be Tip tip barsa paani!”

Mohammed Iqbal

On Souveck: A silk Chanderi sari teamed with a corded Jodhpuri jacket with a drape and a pair of sneakers. The cream silk Chanderi sari has a shibori-dyed cord-detailed border and palla.

“The very first thing that involves thoughts once you consider a sari is that it’s a lady’s outfit. That is additionally an idea by society. Outfits and colors don’t have any gender. It’s all about the way you carry the outfit and your persona. I actually favored the idea. I’d put on a sari after at this time, if the place and event permits. I might say it’s far more snug than conventional males’s clothes! I actually favored the way in which Rahul styled it. I’m a Bengali and my origin is from Bangladesh. My grandma in aat poure sari is a fond reminiscence. You may type it with a jacket”

Souveck Saha