The sheer brilliance of the Banarsi fabric, the huge design vocabulary, the dazzling colours and the detailed workmanship is legendary and feted by the who’s who of the world. Leading textile label Ekaya reintroduces this ever-evolving artsy narrative of one of the world’s oldest cities, Varanasi, to connoisseurs of fine tastes. Over the years, various creative collaborations have helped Ekaya expand its oeuvre, even taking the rich textile tradition to Paris, to design chic French wedding gowns. Palak Shah, the fourth generation of the family running the over 70-year-old textile manufacturing unit based in Varanasi, talks to Wedding Asia:
What would you recommend for the bride-to-be?
Well, a real zari masterpiece is a must-have in any bride’s collection, as the art is soon going to become extinct, and such pieces are like heirloom treasures. A Banarsi lehenga can be paired with a crop top to look modern. For lighter occasions, the lightweight gossamer khadi sarees are a big hit. Geometrics too look very contemporary. So, there are many ways you can wear tradition with elan and look chic.
What are your masterpiece recommendations?
Every piece is special as the time and effort taken to create each is immense. A lot of history, art, tradition, fashion sense and cultural identity goes into each masterpiece collection. I would recommend our Parsi collection and the chikankari “Mehfooz” collection that is a showcase of textile engineering.
How are you approaching the current lockdown scenario?
We were not a mass brand, so for us, it’s more like “By appointments” business, coupled with our online foray.
SEPARATE BOX in the banarsi feature
HL: Know Your Banarsi
Banarsi is an ancient weaving style from the holy city of Varanasi. Here’s a look at a few typical Banarsi weaving heritage styles:
KADWA: Each motif is woven separately as opposed to other styles (also known as “phekwa” or cutwork style).
KADIYAL: These have contrasting colour borders. This style requires careful dyeing and setting of the warp in different colours.
MEENAKARI: This style has supplementary coloured resham threads incorporated into the hand-weaving process.
TANCHOI: This is a weaving technique that involves a single or double warp and multiple (usually two to five) coloured wefts, often of the same or very close shades.
JANGLA: This is one of the oldest weaving techniques practised in Banaras. It has all-over jaals, flowers and creepers.