The double saree drape is a unique and innovative saree draping style developed by Indian fashion designer Shaina N.C. This style essentially includes draping two sarees together in a seamless way, creating a distinctive and voluminous look. This is a trendy way to style sarees of all types, and is a great alternative to the traditional single saree drape.
The style of draping two sarees in one single saree outfit was introduced by Shaina Nana Chudasma, also called Shaina N.C., an Indian designer, politician and social activist. She is known as a ‘drape specialist’ and apart from being an expert in the traditional drapes of India she also introduced many new and unconventional styles of wearing a saree.
The double saree drape was first introduced by her in 2002 as part of her innovative saree draping workshop series held in collaboration with Taj Group of Hotels. These were held in different cities around the country, occasionally as a part of major fashion events like the 2002 All India Clothes Show and Femina Clothes Show. Apart from the double saree drape, she introduced many new styles of wearing the pallu (over both shoulders, around the neck like a scarf and twisted around the hand) and new saree styles like the ghagra saree, saree with trousers and pre-pleated saree.
Sources of Inspiration
Shaina N.C. has created many innovative drapes as part of her efforts to bring the saree back into fashion and make it more fashionable for young girls. According to her, simply changing the drape was a great way to make the saree look funky and fresh without giving up on the traditional fabrics and designs. Styles like the saree and trousers combination or double saree drape were developed to make the traditional saree seem more innovative and appealing to the new generation who associated sarees with older women. Moreover, she wanted to create a saree innovation that could be created with traditional sarees as well as the designer or modern ones, so that women could easily adapt their existing wardrobe to the new drape.
Style and Variety
The double saree can use any two types of nine-yard sarees with broad borders, with the innovation coming in with the draping style rather than the saree itself. Thus all types of sarees including traditional, designer, modern, plain or embroidered varieties can be combined, as well as sarees in different materials or colors. The double saree drape creates a very rich, colorful and voluminous overall look, similar to a ghagra, which is why it is very appropriate for bridal wear.
Another attractive feature of this drape for brides is that though it creates a heavy and wedding-appropriate look i.e. each individual saree need not be rich and elaborate, and hence can be worn separately at later occasions. The same cannot be said for most other Indian bridal wear. Slimmer women who want to create a more voluptuous contour for themselves can also choose to wear this drape.
Typically, two sarees in complementary colors are chosen when wearing this drape, which can be draped in two ways:
- One saree is draped in the normal way, but with the pallu kept in front on the left side, while the other saree is pleated and draped from the back on the right side.
- While one saree is pleated on the right and draped in a conventional way over the left shoulder (usually it is pleated as well), the other one is pleated on the left side and draped over the right shoulder in neat pleats.
The double saree drape is considered a trendy and innovative way to wear a saree to this day which is why many women prefer to combine with more conventional or classic sarees and let the drape be the only innovative element. Nevertheless, certain new fashion trends have been combined with this type of drape, the most prominent of which is the contrast saree trend. Rather than using sarees in complementary colors, sarees in contrasting colors (or even with contrasting patterns or designs) are seamlessly combined using the double saree drape to create an effervescent and vibrant look.
Wearing the Attire
The double saree drape is achieved by pleating and draping two sarees in such a way that they merge together to create one garment:
- First, one saree is pleated and tucked in the centre left of the petticoat in the usual style, with the tucked saree falling an inch short of the floor.
- The remaining pallu end is then pleated neatly and brought round to the front before being draped over the left shoulder and pinned in place, with the pallu end hanging loose.
- The second saree is then pleated and tucked into the centre right of the petticoat, overlapping with the other saree’s pleats.
- The pallu end is once again neatly pleated, but this time brought around the back from the other side, to hang in front over the right shoulder.
It is essentially to use pins to hold the two sarees neatly in place when wearing this drape, to ensure it looks elegant and put-together at all times. It should also be draped only after wearing the shoes for the event, so that saree falls properly.
This drape brings in a lot of volume and drape and hence has the styling becomes quite crucial. Most gold Indian jewelry like necklaces, bangles, earrings, mang tikkas and anklets would match well with two traditional sarees while with slightly more modern sarees, pearl or diamonds jewelry can be worn. The blouse can be the color of either saree, if they are contrasting, or it can be a neutral color that matched with both. For instance, if wearing a green saree and a pink saree, a pink or green blouse can be worn, while with a white saree and a red saree, beige or gold colored blouses would be a good choice. In terms of shoes, high heels are the best choice as they enhance the drape beautifully.
Facts and Trivia
- Many of the drapes, including the double saree drape, introduced by Shaina N.C. in the beginning of the ‘00s went on to directly influence huge designer trends like the half and half saree and saree with jeans.
- Part of the proceeds from the workshop that introduced the double saree drape was given to the Cancer Patient’s Aid Association, a charity supported by creator Shaina N.C.
Video on how to wear double saree drape