In the Rigveda – an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit Hymns, Benaras is referred to as ‘Kashi’, derived from the Sanskrit verbal root ‘kas’ literally meaning ‘to shine’. Kashi is also the spiritual name of Benaras, one of the oldest cities in the world, located on the banks of the river Ganges.
By Payal Khandwala
Apart from being a center of Hindu pilgrimage, Benaras is also home to several Jain, Muslim, Sikh and Buddhist holy sites, and several prominent Indian philosophers, poets, writers and musicians. A hotbed of cultural and artistic activities, it is often referred to as the ‘city of light’, ‘the luminous city’, celebrated as an eminent seat of learning.
Our festive edit this season focuses entirely on our continued commitment to the unparalleled skilled craftsmen of Benaras and the artistry of their silk hand woven brocades.
Our newest explorations, focus on intricately engineered brocade garments that require a distinctly complex process of graphing and weaving on special looms. The research and development spanned eight months, from conception of design, to realization of the textile, and finally to the stitched garment. The challenge was to maintain the design of the necklines, the length, the borders, and the repeats of the motif so as to allow us to size up and retain the integrity of the original pattern, whether the final product was a blouse, jacket or a kurta.
Woven in luxurious silk yarn, metallic gold and silver thread, this collection is an ode to the quiet luxury of this ancient craft, from this ancient city of Kashi reimagined in a slightly more modern context, whilst honoring still, the tradition and skill of these tireless craftsmen.