Drape it like Dolly!

Alisha Shinde
Thursday, 3 January 2019

Celebrity stylist Dolly Jain, who has helped everyone from Isha Ambani to Deepika Padukone look their best in their wedding ensemble, talks about her journey 

The year 2018 saw a host of weddings — Sonam Kapoor-Anand Ahuja, Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra-Nick Jonas and the most extravagant of the lot Isha Ambani-Anand Piramal. All of them owned their wedding looks and their designer clothes will surely go down in history as some of the best wedding ensembles. But what made them feel special was how the outfits were draped onto them for their d-day. 

It was Dolly Jain, a professional saree and dupatta draper based out of Kolkata, who helped these celebs look their best in the most beautifully draped sarees and lehengas. Talking to Jain, we find out about her journey into the world of drapes and the appeal of the traditional six yard fabric.
Jain says that the family that she is married into, she was expected to wear just sarees. “Since I never got a chance to wear anything else, I made sure that I did a bit of styling in terms of how it was draped,” says Jain. She adds that whenever she did so and attended social functions, people would appreciate her styling and would ask for tips. 

 “I knew that I was born for a reason and god had a plan for me, but I just wasn’t sure what it was. After receiving a lot of compliments from friends and family and after the birth of my younger son, I decided that it was time I did something, and that’s how it started,”says Jain, who initially began teaching a batch of young girls how to drape the six yards and then quickly got another batch.
As for her big break with celebrities, Jain recalls that during one of the weddings, when she was helping a bride with a really heavy dupatta, she was spotted by a celebrity designer. The designer then started recommending Jain to celebrities and since then there was no looking back for her. 

Draping a saree for a bride is an intimate matter — usually the mother of the bride or a close relative drapes the saree for her, but with passing years, women have lost the knack of draping and with designer sarees, it becomes even more difficult to drape and manage it. “Moreover, the new age bride wants to look different from every other bride. They have a certain vision in mind which I feel is important to cater to,” says Jain. 

She explains, “Each bride is different. While Deepika likes her pallu really long and resting on her arm, Isha prefers sarees and dupattas pinned for a neat look, and I do whatever it takes to make them feel good about themselves and most importantly, be comfortable on their big day.”
Jain is of the opinion that draping a saree is an art which has evolved over the past few years. “About 5000 years ago, when women wore sarees, they never really had a blouse or a petticoat, the saree itself was draped in such a way that it covered them decently. With passing years, blouses and petticoats came in and the fabrics too evolved.” 

She adds that in recent times, the art of draping a saree is getting lost and she wishes to revive it. “It’s good to see that the millennials are actually investing in the elegant six yard and even though they are not in for regular saree draping, they do bring creativity to the table which is really mindblowing,” adds Jain.

“What fascinates me is the fact that these days, any female who attends a wedding even as a guest, is so decked up that she herself ends up looking like the bride, sometimes stealing the bride’s thunder too,” she points out, adding that she therefore likes to add a bit of drama to the bride’s look. “Since lehengas are really in, what a bride can do is wear her saree over it, or carry three dupattas — two on the shoulders and one over the head as a veil — a veil is something only a bride will wear which makes her stand out from the crowd,” says Jain.

She says that since saree is so versatile, it can be worn whichever way one wishes to and it will still look elegant. “Don’t just team it up with a matching blouse and petticoat. Open your wardrobe, pull out your favourite crop top or pencil pants that go with the saree and wear it with confidence and grace,” she says.
Jain, who has invented over 300 ways of draping a saree, is of the opinion that saree is the most versatile Indian garment. She says that since she has been draping the saree for the past 15 years now, she has one vision in mind. “With my dedication and focus, I wish to revive the long lost tradition of saree for the young generation so the legacy of this elegant piece lives on and it becomes more than a bridal trousseau.” 

Jain has some handy tips to share when it comes to sarees

  • Always wear your heels before draping the saree
  • If you are planning to wear a heavy blouse for your wedding, make sure to wear underarm pads. This will help you not only in controlling sweat but also protect the fabric of the blouse
  • Hair straightners are a go to tool for the perfect crisp pleats. Make sure you don’t overheat the hair straightner.
  • If you are opting to wear stone-studded footwear for your wedding, there are chances that the holds of these stones will probably rip and tear the bottom of the lehenga or the saree. To avoid the same, it is best to use cling wrap to cover the stones and use a hair dryer so that the plastic wrap clings onto stones, eventually protecting the saree. 
  • Whenever the sarees come back from dry-cleaning, make sure to open the existing fold completely and fold it in a different way and then store it.

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