The most improbable of all contenders for fabric, with regards to the Indian Saree, would quite likely be the net. The saree was traditionally always made of fabrics that were woven from cotton, wool or silk. The weave would include motifs or then plain fabric would be embroidered upon with motifs, in threads that were locally abundant. The mountains had wool, the plains had cotton and silk and the more wealthy had, silver threads and sequins!
The fabric itself remained, well, just fabric.
Till the net came along and changed all that in an elegant, gorgeous and stunning manner. The net had a great advantage over cotton and silk and a huge one over wool, like Pashmina. It has within its netting a maze of a mathematical graph-like precision, to enable embroidery to be executed quickly and with precision. It held brilliant bits of shimmer, mokash, sequins, zari-threads, and despite the elaborate motifs continued to drape beautifully and remain crease-free. It was light, required no-ironing and did not fall prey to mildew and the many insects that feed on silks and wool.
Over the last hundred years, the Net Saree, has emerged from the closets of the decadent royalists and Bollywood wardrobes, to find its own place in the fabulous array of sarees, with Benarasi brocade, Zardozi, Gota-patti or simply elegant festive cholis.
The Net Saree has come of age.
Photos Courtesy: CraftsBazaar