Gaurang Shah reveals the timeless elegance of Aishwarya Arjun’s wedding saree

Renowned fashion designer Gaurang Shah recently shared the intricate journey behind the creation of Aishwarya Arjun’s wedding saree. Aishwarya, the daughter of the South’s famous action king, actor Arjun Sarja, married director Umapathy Ramaiah, son of celebrated actor-turned-director Thambi Ramaiah, on June 10, 2024, in a grand ceremony in Chennai. Aishwarya adorned a custom-made Kanjeevaram silk saree, an exquisite creation by Gaurang Shah, paired with a zardozi embroidery blouse.

“Aishwarya envisioned a truly extraordinary sari, a masterpiece like no other,” Gaurang began. To fulfill her wish, he and his team embarked on a journey inspired by the essence of Kanchipuram: its beautiful temples. “The design of the sari turned into a canvas, whispering stories etched in stone. The captivating sculptures themselves became our muse.”

The design of the sari was a celebration of traditional Kanchipuram temples, with elements such as intricate floor designs translated into captivating motifs. “The Kanjeevaram fabric itself became a canvas for these stories,” Gaurang explains. “We were inspired by the intricate floor designs in the temples and translated them into a captivating motif that danced across the six meters. The pallu, the most graceful element of the sari, reflected the border and created a sense of harmonious unity.”

Complementing the visual symphony was a blouse made of luxurious, finely woven silk and subtly decorated with zardozi embroidery. “The result was a masterpiece that transcends tradition, whispering stories of heritage while remaining breathtakingly beautiful for a modern bride,” he added.

When asked about the specific theme of Lord Ram’s coronation for the saree, Gaurang clarified that the final design did not address this theme. However, the inspiration from South Indian temple architecture was clearly visible throughout the design. “The intricate carvings, majestic sculptures and captivating floor designs in these temples served as our muse. We translated these elements into a captivating motif that flowed across the Kanjeevaram fabric, whispering stories of heritage and artistry.”

Creating Aishwarya’s dream sari was a painstaking process. “We started with her vision of elegance and our inspiration from South Indian sculptures,” Gaurang said. His team then translated these motifs into a Kanjeevaram design with a complementary color palette. Skilled artisans used the ancient Kadwa weave to bring the intricate design to life, thread by thread. “Finally, after thorough quality checks and a delicate wash, the sari emerged – a masterpiece ready for its big day.”

The creation of this handwoven sari took five months. “The challenge was to translate the intricate motifs inspired by South Indian sculptures into the Kanjeevaram weave,” said Gaurang. “We had to ensure that the motifs were detailed enough to capture the essence of the art form, yet would not overwhelm the overall look of the sari. This included micro-planning the number of threads, placement of motifs and ensuring the design remained balanced and flowed together seamlessly.”

Another challenge was to integrate subtle contemporary elements without compromising the traditional character of the sari. “We had to carefully consider the use of color palettes or possible modern motifs, to ensure they resonated with Aishwarya’s style while staying true to the heritage of the Kanjeevaram fabric.”

Ensuring that the sari complemented Aishwarya’s overall bridal look, including her heirloom jewelry and minimalist makeup, was crucial. “Finding the right balance between the grandeur of the sari and her minimalist makeup was key,” Gaurang noted. “We achieved this by focusing on the delicate details of the Kanchipuram fabric itself. The motifs inspired by South Indian sculptures added a touch of heritage without overwhelming the overall look.”

The color palette of the sari was chosen to complement the heirloom jewelry so that both pieces resonated with each other in perfect harmony. “It was a beautiful synergy between tradition and contemporary elegance, perfectly suited for a modern bride like Aishwarya,” he said.

To achieve the detailed zardozi embroidery and intricate woven designs, Gaurang’s team employed skilled artisans who used various stitches, loops and knots to create the motifs. “The metal wires themselves could have been real gold or silver, or high-quality gold-plated alternatives, depending on the desired weight and effect.”

Preserving the traditional essence of Kanjeevaram silk while incorporating contemporary elements is an art form in itself. “I respect the legacy of Kanjeevaram by using timeless techniques and classic motifs,” explains Gaurang. He also experiments with fresh, contemporary color combinations and innovative motifs so that they reflect the bride’s personality while maintaining elegance. “The key lies in finding a balance between tradition and modernity. The essence of Kanjeevaram silk, its rich history and craftsmanship, should always be clear.”

The most rewarding aspect of designing Aishwarya Arjun’s wedding saree was seeing her adorned in the finished piece. “Witnessing the coming together of exceptional craftsmanship and timeless artistry was truly special,” says Gaurang. “It was a classic, memorable moment that celebrated the collaborative spirit and creative energy that goes into creating a truly unique and unforgettable heirloom.”