The name Bela Shanghvi and her label “Purnakala” has been around for 35 years reviving the gorgeous woven textiles of India. Lovers of heritage have coveted her Aashaval, Patola and Paithani designs and it is said that nearly every bride must have a Bela Shanghvi sari in her wedding trousseau.
Bela’s work with the revival of handlooms and textile techniques in India has taken her creations to 23 countries via exhibitions, stores and museums including the Los Angles County Museum of Modern Art. She has been invited by UNESCO to speak on the glorious art of ikkat, brocade, natural yarns and dyes.
Bela’s ‘Purnakala’ brand has revived the antiquated handloom styles and just like the meaning of the word ‘Purnakala’ – complete knowledge of art, Bela has recreated and redesigned the handlooms and handicrafts hence improving them.
Bela’s latest collection ‘Kishangarh’ is a symphony of stunning saris that are inspired by the sheer fabrics with bold designs worn by the Nayika and Nayak in Kishangarh paintings of Rajasthan. Here, Bela has merged skilfully the beauty of the everlasting Aashaval with the sensuous Chanderi handloom and the result is a grand amalgamation of timeless creation.
The Aashaval of Gujarat is renowned for its intricate brocade and characteristic weaving of motifs and has been identified with royalty for centuries. The beauteous Chanderi from Madhya Pradesh is the most sensuous of Indian textiles that features elegance and comfort. The Patan and Rajkot Patola and the Paithani have also been given a revitalised touch by Bela.
What is wonderful about these saris is that they are woven with love by master weavers and could take months or even years and hence they are heirlooms that are treasured by generations. Prices for such heritage textiles could start from Rs 5000 and move up to lakhs of rupees, depending on the intricacy of the weaves. The terms of doing business vary as per customer needs and requirements.
Meher Castelino is one of India’s best known fashion journalists and commentators. Long before India was recognised as the home of style and beauty queens, Meher was crowned Miss India. Way, way back in 1964! She has also mentored many emerging divas, including a certain Aishwarya Rai. Meher writes in many Indian and international publications. For Xyngr, she stylegazes every Wednesday.