Ninety Kilometres South West of the modern City of Chennai – lies a town that lends its name to one of the most celebrated textile genres in the history of our civilization.
Deepika Padukone’s Kanjeevaram sari from luxury label, Advaya from the House of Angadi, has stirred the bridal fashion pot late last year and early this year. The Bangalore-based sari house is now in the news for its exquisite bridal Kanjeevarams and its innovative approach to the traditional weave. The fact that a celebrity like Deepika asserted her Kannada bridal roots with the Advaya sari not only made people sit up and take notice and got accolades for the House of Angadi. But for the design house, headed by Mr K Radharaman, the label’s popularity has always been the same, it’s a well known destination for South Indian brides around the world.
The rich cultural heritage that has been bequeathed to us by our ancestors is a source of great strength and pride to each one of us. I have always held that our cultural values were the source of our greatness as a civilization and shall remain at the core of our future progress as a nation.
The year was 2009 . The idea of a linen-blended Kanjeevaram had been brewing in my mind for some time but the thought of transforming the basic construction of a genre that had been unaltered for centuries was daunting. What if it did not drape well? Will customers accept it as a Kanjeevaram? What motifs can we use that will enable the zari to stand out? What “weaves” should we use? How can it be simplified for the weaver to understand? These were some of the questions that I wrestled with.
Meet textile designer K. Radharaman, the man who modernised the age-old weaving traditions in the country. The Angadi family belongs to the Padmasaliya community – a traditional silk weaving community of South India. We started out as court weavers to several royal families. The Padmasaliyas are in fact credited with being the community that introduced silk weaving to Kanchipuram several centuries ago when they migrated from their ancestral hometowns to what is now Telangana.
In an age when every designer aspires for successful actors to be seen in their creations for social media bragging rights, K Radharaman is an exception. Radharaman, who is CEO and Design Head at the House of Angadi has been discreet about publicity when actor Deepika Padukone shopped for her wedding saris at his family-run store.
Long before we saw the actual proof, it was clear that Deepika Padukone was going to be a Sabyasachi bride. But one of the key pieces in her wedding wardrobe—the Kanjeevaram sari Padukone wore for her Konkani ceremony—was discovered to be not from the designer’s repertoire, but a gift from her mother Ujjala Padukone, that was finished and styled by Sabyasachi Mukherjee for the actor.