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10 Jan

The Design Museum Readies ‘The Offbeat Sari’ for Spring 2023

LONDON Design beyond design.

The Design Museum in London’s Kensington will likely be hosting the primary large-scale exhibition within the U.K. on the Indian sari, titled “The Offbeat Sari.”

The exhibition will run from May 19 to Sept. 17 with tickets on sale now.

Priya Khanchandani, the museum’s head of curatorial, leads the showcase, which is able to bring together greater than 90 examples of saris on loan from designers and studios across India.

“There’s an enormous South Asian diaspora here in London, so Indian fashion obviously connects with them, but I feel the cultural sector is changing and folks from different backgrounds with different voices are being given the chance to inform different stories,” Khanchandani told WWD on the press conference for the exhibition.

The exhibition will unfold in three parts, covering the themes of transformations, identity and resistance and latest materialities.

Natasha Poonawalla wearing a sari with Schiaparelli metal body armor on the Met Gala in May 2022.

Getty Images

The primary section will deal with the sari’s historical context and the way it waned in popularity within the ’90s; the design innovation of the one-piece cloth, and the sari in contemporary art.

Khanchandani wants to make use of the exhibition to tackle any stereotypes surrounding the sari.

India’s fashion scene is one in every of the largest on the earth and it’s time for it to be known beyond its shores,” she said.

“This will not be ceremonial wear or something religious or for special occasions. That is street culture and on a regular basis wear by which young individuals are expressing themselves and it’s extremely relevant,” added Khanchandani, explaining that the sari is a tool which women use to specific and empower themselves. She referenced images of ladies skateboarding and mountaineering within the garment.

The exhibition moves on to unfolding the gender politicalization of the sari. The sari is traditionally made by men, from the embroidery to the craftwork, that are a part of on a regular basis family life. 

Within the exhibition, Khanchandani explores the growing numbers of men adopting the sari across India.

The last a part of the show centers on the technicalities of the sari, which will likely be demonstrated with hung examples quite than using mannequins. The section will highlight India’s expansive textile industry and the best way it’s moving into the twenty first century. 

An example Khanchandani spoke about was Rimzim Dadu’s gold sculptural sari produced from hair-thin chrome steel wires.

“I would like design on this institution to interrupt out into all styles of spaces, but fashion particularly, it has all styles of possibilities that should not often fully explored,” Tim Marlow, chief executive officer and director of the museum, told WWD last yr.

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