Sari book cover

Chantal Boulanger Publishing presents:

Saris: An Illustrated Guide to the
Indian Art of Draping

Written and illustratred by Chantal Boulanger


Available worldwide: £ 20, US$ 30, Euro 30
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This unique book has step by step, detailed illustrations showing how to wrap 100 different styles of saris (which include men’s drapes like dhotis, etc.).
From the most common sari to the complicated Tamil Brahmin styles, to the little details that make a Maharashtrian sari really fit, this book shows the secrets of wearing any sari to perfection.
If you want to wear any type of sari perfectly, this is THE book. None is as detailed and as comprehensive. The illustrations make it easy to follow, and saris simple to drape.

"Your book has been like a wish fulfilling tree, and each new style a beautiful flower to behold."
Shivani-Latifah Rabb

Look at the cover - look at the back cover
Sample page - Comments from readers
Review from "Hinduism Today"
Download the preview in Acrobat PDF!

1: The research

Few specialists of India or its costumes have even suspected the extraordinary variety of Indian drapes. Up to this day, no exhaustive research has been completed on the subject. The most wide-ranging study has been made by Chantal Boulanger. She has recorded more than 100 different styles of draping.

Her research brings out new ways for classifying Indian costumes and opens different perspectives on the meaning of drapes. It demonstrates that most saris fit in a few "families" corresponding to ethnic origins. Thus, Indian culture can be approached through an analysis of traditional garment. The study of draping reveals the history and ethnic wealth of the Indian subcontinent.

Yet, Chantal Boulanger also discovered that since draping shows one's clear place in the social hierarchy, women tend to stop wearing their traditional drapes and adopt the "modern" sari. Many styles have already been forgotten, and in about 20 to 50 years, most of them will be. This is why she has spent the last 6 years recording as many traditional drapes as she could, and is now able to offer your institution a unique exhibition.

2: The families of saris

To help you understand how the exhibition will be structured, here is a brief outline of the saris' families.

- The "modern" sari belongs to the "nivi" family. These drapes are wrapped around the body from bottom to the top, leaving a bunch of pleats in front. In the "kaccha", a sub-family of saris worn mostly in Maharashtra, and the "upper kaccha", a rare but very interesting (and practical) sub-family, the pleats are passed between the legs and tucked at the back.

- In past times, most drapes were "dhoti". Styles belonging to this family are still commonly worn by men. The cloth is tied around the waist in the middle of its length, and each side is wrapped around each leg separately. "Brahmin saris" have evolved from the dhoti. Here the cloth is passed between the legs before being wrapped around the body.

- Dravidians and Eastern Indians wear saris which have evolved from the "veshti". We can distinguish 3 sub-families : "veshti", covering only the lower part of the body; "Tamil saris" and "Eastern saris", where the upper part is simply thrown once or twice over the shoulder, and not wrapped around the body.

- Tribal women prefer drapes tied over the chest. Some of these saris are a cross between purely tribal styles and styles from other families.

- Many saris of Central India are inspired by Gond drapes. Surprisingly, Ceylonese saris belong to the same family, which starts by the drape of the cloth on the left shoulder.

- Finally, some drapes are unique.

What readers say:

"I have never imagined there are such a lots of draping. Your work is accurate, helpful and full of suggestion. I appreciate your work and detailed research."
Prof. Masumi Tsuji

"We are very impressed with the research that must have been involved. This is a very important book for the documentation Indian culture."
Sukulina Devi Das, Sanskrit Religions Institute.

"I am very happy to have your book, it really is a magnificent acomplishment, something that was really needed---indeed as far as I know it's the only book of it's kind."
Otto Steinmayer

"Thank you for the fine book and congratulations for the good work you have done in preserving part of a great heritage."
Sadhaka Jothinatha

"Thank you I have been looking for a book like this for a long time."
Valerie Hutchinson

"A simply wonderful book!"
Juditha Ohlmacher

Click here to read more comments.

Read the story of a woman who mastered the art of draping despite not being able to use her left hand.

Buy exceptional saris of 6, 8 and 9 yards:

Order "SARIS: An Illustrated Guide to the Indian Art of Draping" directly from us!
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Save the Art of Draped clothes from oblivion!
Look at the "Institute of Draped Clothes" web site
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Last updated in October 2004

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