Get the Alia Bhatt look from these royal ateliers

ByAnshu Khanna

Alia Bhatt is media’s darling. The icon of fashion that every young girl adulates. What she wears becomes fashion immediately. Now, a young girl known for either her laid back, boyfriend shirt look or her chic, moulin rouge avatar, she suddenly brought the arch light on what I call Rajwada chiffons. Emerging as the diva quintessence in bold and luscious ombre dyed saris, coupled with digitally printed blouses and interesting jhumkas, she danced in glee to ‘what jhumka’ and the nation swirled with her. Created by Manish Malhotra, dare I say these saris were straight out of the album of erstwhile Maharanis known for their understated but gorgeous chiffons.
Now, what Alia draped are the kind of saris so many palace ateliers and women of regal descent create. As well as master dyers who have global icons wearing what they make. So here is a list of stores you can safely shop the Alia Bhatt look from.
First stop is of Mohammed Tayeb Khan, the tie and dye master craftsman from Jodhpur, who received the Padma Shri in 2001 for his technique of shaded leheriya or merging of dark and light colours without the use of machines. “Shading is usually done using machines. I invented a technique to do it by hand and to do it on thicker fabrics,” says Khan. Khan’s skill has been perfected over seven generations. “We were associated with the Mewar royal family. My ancestors were known as Raj Rangrez,” says Khan who joined the family business when he was eight. Khan’s vivid use of contrasting colours, his striking leheriyas and fine bandhej with small danas, called raidana as against the large danas are worn by every royal woman of India.
He is a maestro at Bandhani, a tie and dye technique that involves dyeing a fabric and tying it at several points in vivid colours which produce different patterns that are known as Bandhani, Leheriya, Mothda, Chundari, Dhanak, Pomcha, Panchrangi and Satrangi. Jodhpur and Jaipur are the main centres of Bandhani and it is a source of income for hundreds of artisans.
Creating a textural treat on this ombre dyed chiffons, these handmade leheriyas is Just Chiffons, a brand crafted by Kanwarani Dipti Singh of Kachi Baroda and taken forward by her daughter Rohini Gupta. Just Chiffons works white fabric upward to create very diverse ombres, or jewel toned solids that are then embellished with the finest bead work, aari work and of course the forgotten craft of cutwork that Rohini is responsible for reviving. Another classic look for Rohini is the blend of old borders with leheriyas that are hand dyed or painted.
From her store in Indore, we travel to Jaipur to Jaykirti who creates her own digital prints on chiffons. Besides upping the look of solid-coloured chiffons with the daintiest of gota patti, aari and bead work. Hugely inspired by the museum collection residing in city palace, she is also behind some stunning styles in thread worked chiffon saris.
In Pratapgarh can be found pure gold tissues, as well as chiffons rendered beautiful with tukri ka kaam. Created in the atelier of Alka Rani Singh, a daughter of the Pratapgarh princely family, these saris are straight out of Alia Bhatt’s Rani look. Created nearly a decade ago though.
Next door to that are two ladies known for their master strokes in revivalism. Pakke Rang, created by Kanwarani Sunita Singh of Khajoorgaon, her chiffons are hand painted and then delicately highlighted with golden mokaish. Created in Avadh, her hand painted chiffons are reminiscent of the delicate fashion the Thakuranis belonging to the various talukdaris of Avadh were known for. Shilp Manjari by Princess Manjari Singh of Ayodhya recreates the beauty of bead work, the district of Faizabad is known for. She adds to these chiffons her potlis that recreated Indian flora and fauna in beads. Add to that a beautiful chand bali or jhumka from Pushpita Singh and voila, what you have is a splendid series of saris that can help you turn into a Rocky’s rani sans a struggle.