Surrounded by beautiful weaves, HELLO! catches up with four eminent ladies from Bengaluru, as they share their love for traditional, heirloom saris passed down generations and jewellery with memories associated with them.
Chandeliers, luxe wooden accents and marble flooring. At this three-storeyed store in a posh South Bengaluru neighbourhood, home to the House of Angadi’s beautiful saris and rich collections, we are greeted by old-school opulence. Here, popular fashionistas and eminent women from around the city made their presence felt, on the occasion of a special high tea hosted by HELLO!, in association with Khanna Jewellers.
While the women gravitated towards the brands’ fine, handwoven heirloom pieces and exquisite jewellery, HELLO! got together with four society ladies, each a force to be reckoned with in their respective fields: Sarayu Hegde, brand consultant and fashion and lifestyle curator; marketing entrepreneur Anusha Raj; Swathi Shamanur, owner of SS Convention Centre, Davanagere; and textile revivalist Ambika Ghorpade.
Dressed in the finest of heirloom saris from label Advaya by the House of Angadi, accentuated by stunning diamond accessories by Khanna Jewellers, the four women shared their love for Indian traditional wear, all while bonding with each other during this joyous interaction.
H!: The first time you wore a saree...
Sarayu Hegde: “I think it was at the age of six. Like most girls at that age, I wore my mum’s sari while playing dress-up. My first outing in a drape was for my Class 10 graduation. I still remember trying to walk straight in that white organza sari!”
Anusha Raj: “I come from the traditional Mudaliar community, where women wear saris every day even today. I was eight or nine years old when I wore my first one. It was a black Banarasi that I still have in my cupboard. It’s sparingly used, but the zari is still good.”
Swathi Shamanur: “My love for saris started at a very young age, probably when I was around 10. It was my grandma’s pink cotton sari. I still remember gallivanting around her garden, having such a fun time and enjoying wearing the sari.”
Ambikaraje Ghorpade: “The first time I wore a sari was for my school graduation. I never stopped after that!”
H!: The best heritage saris in your wardrobe...
SH: “The heirlooms from my grandmother and mother are the most prized possessions in my wardrobe, along with this one beautiful vintage red Banarasi I picked up from the bylanes of Jaipur while travelling. I think the sari found me organically. I love the mystery of not knowing who it belonged to, and I’m thinking of upcycling it.”
AR: “The best heritage sari I have is a full gold and greenish, heavy brocade Kanjeevaram, which my aunt wore for her wedding. It probably weighs 5kg.”
SS: “They include a wide variety of different weaves, including Chanderi, Ikat, Paithani and many more! I inherited a lot of Kanjeevarams and Banarasis from my mother. I hope to pass them on to the next generation with love, pride and the stories to go along with them.”
AG: “I have many, but my favourite is the real zari tissue saree with a brocade woven border.”
H!: Do you have a rough estimate of how many saris you own?
SH: “There are too many as my mom loved wearing saris. But my best preserved are the Kanjeevarams and her wedding sari, which is a deep burgundy Banarasi with zari and the traditional mango motif all over. My mom always told me to keep them folded and covered in muslin and to air dry them regularly to preserve them for generations.”
AR: “I inherited three cupboards full of saris from my mother and grandmother! They are mostly Kanjeevarams. I preserved each of them by wrapping them in soft mull.”
SS: “My only guilt-free shopping is for saris. I own almost 100 now!”
AG: “I never counted, but it must be close to 700! I inherited Patolas, Jamdanis, Ashavalis, tissues, French chiffons, Tanchois and Banarasis from my mother.”
H!: What was the first piece of diamond jewellery you bought or acquired?
SH: “Back in the day, my mother, like most traditional Indian women, started collecting wedding jewellery for me and my sister when we were just 12 years old. That’s also when I got my first diamond earring.”
AR: “The first piece of diamond jewellery I bought was a ring, for which I saved my salary from my first job for six months.”
SS: “It was a diamond bracelet mother gifted me after Class 10. It was a very special moment.”
AG: “I bought my first diamond bracelet in Switzerland several years ago.”
H!: Your most treasured piece of heirloom diamond jewellery
SH: “My grandmother’s vajrada bendole (diamond earrings). It’s over a century old. I love that it’s a traditional earring worn by the women of my Bunt community. It’s symbolic as it’s part of my ancestry.”
AR: “The diamond adigai (choker) that nearly all women from South India pass on to their daughters for generations.”
SS: “My engagement ring. It belonged to my husband’s grandmother, who left it behind specially for his future wife. It’s exquisite and royal, and will always be my favourite piece of jewellery.”
AG: “My favourite is a pair of Cartier diamond clips that my mother gave me!”
Interview: Nayare Ali; Photos: Lucky Malhotra; Styling: Akshat Kapoor; Makeup: Roshni Safir for Sarayu Hegde, Anusha Raj & Ambikaraje Ghorpade; Panna for Swathi Shamanur
This interview has been adapted for the website from an interview that was originally published in HELLO! India’s January 2023 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!