Be it Vidya Balan's iconic look in the movie Parineeta or Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's unmatched beauty in Devdas, I bet you've been mesmerised by Bengali fashion at some point in your life. In fact, every time I attend the Durga Puja celebrations, I am amazed by how beautiful bong women look with their bold and expressive eye-makeup, dark lip shades, high-buns and the perfectly draped white and red silk sarees. While I could easily get my hands on these sarees in my own city, visiting the 'city of joy' and shopping for their traditional Kolkata sarees from their very own boutiques is what I plan on doing, someday.
When it comes to fashion, Kolkata has been ruling the industry (and our hearts) since the very inception of ramp walks and fashion shows in our country. Giving us some of the most talented and sought-after designers in the world like Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Ritu Kumar and Anamika Khanna, Bengali fashion continues to remain indistinguishable till date. These iconic personalities also inspired several generations of designers to follow their footsteps and carve a niche for themselves in the world of fashion. Before we get to know them, let's learn a little about the various saree types famous in Bengal.
Being five yards in length, the creation of Baluchari sarees require weeks of efforts by the weavers of Murshidabad. They showcase stunning, double-shaded colours by interlocking one or two threads together, with independent, floral patterns and mythological figures on the pallu. These are mostly worn on grand events and festive occasions in West and East Bengal.
These sarees are one of the most precious 'gifts' from the handloom industry of our country. They gained popularity during the reign of the Mughals and continue to be worn by women of Bengal on almost every occasion. Taant sarees are extremely light-weight in texture and become distinguishable with their pretty, white hues on the borders of their pallu.
The classic, 'red and white' fantasy of traditional Bengali attire comes alive with these Korial sarees. Bengali women can be spotted in this spectacular colour combination on occasions like Durga Puja, Laxmi Puja and Saraswati Puja. What makes them so admirable is their silky, white border with deep shades of red, which are known to represent the incarnation of Maa Durga or the inner-strength of women.
These sarees are made from a new handloom weaving technique called fulia. They showcase pretty little motifs and traditional Bengali designs but in a very modernistic appeal. They can be created using a combination of yarns and a variety of beautiful fabrics like mulberry silk, tassar, Matka silk, cotton, etc.
All thanks to Mughal artisans, a dhakai jamdani saree is one of the finest productions of West and East Bengal and can be easily found in the wardrobe of every Bengali woman. What makes them so popular is that they are made from pure Egyptian cotton which gives a soft and supple feel to the skin, thereby making it perfect for humid seasons. The layout of the saree showcases floral and figure-designs in the prettiest of colours and is a must-have for events, weddings or grand festivals in Bengal.
A Kantha stitch saree represents an intricately and manually-weaved traditional style of embroidery that's famous in Bolpur-Santiniketan regions of West Bengal. You can easily recognise the pattern of a kantha stitch as its mostly characterised by a running-stitch leading to a unique bunch of floral designs. These are mostly worn with terracotta jewellery to elevate the rustic essence of the attire.
In the past few years, Kolkata saw the emergence of many independent designers who decided to create their own labels and open charming little boutiques. From Taant and Baluchari sarees to Korial and Kantha stitch, these boutiques have it all - and much more. So, if you're looking for that perfect Bong appeal in all that you wear, your search is over. We bring you a list of 10 fashion boutiques in Kolkata that'll transform you into a classic, Bengali beauty.
Celebrating India's handloom and handicraft traditions, Byloom attempts to give all weaving and craft techniques in India an identity and ensures that they are unique and beautiful enough to hold their own march against the global fashion trends. With their one-of-a-kind collections, they re-introduce the beauty of Bengal's ethnic wear in contemporary styles and timeless patterns which makes you look effortlessly stylish without letting you forget your roots.
Address: 58 B, Golpark, Hindusthan Park, Gariahat, Kolkata - 700029
Contact Details: 8902495900
Kanishka's Kolkata has been a pioneer of contemporary, hand block-printing and hand-woven saree collections in India for over five decades. Founded in 1970 by Dilip and Nandita Raja, it is one of the oldest and most famous boutiques in Kolkata and truly one of the best of its kind. It's famous for its unique traditional techniques of producing handloom and block-printed sarees which are so attractive that you wouldn't feel like leaving the store without buying one. Or two, three - you get the gist. Hehe!
Address: 2/1, Hindusthan Road, Dover Terrace, Ballygunge, Kolkata - 700019
Contact Details: 033-2463-0465
If you're in Kolkata, Weaver's Haat is one boutique that you shouldn't miss. It offers a stunning range of traditional Bengali sarees in pure silk, cotton, handloom, and Kantha stitch, textured with exquisite prints, dyeing techniques and carefully-tailored designs that'll make you go gaga over their simplistic yet oh-so-attractive couture. This gives them a huge clientele base which keeps the store swamped with women from all corners of the city during Durga Puja or other days of grand festivities.
Address: 7/64 A, Amiyo Apartment, Netaji Nagar, Kolkata - 700092
Contact Details: 9163677704
If you feel like shopping for some unique ethnic wear, Adi Mohini Mohan Kanjilal is the store every Bengali will suggest you to visit in Kolkatta. From their eccentric collection of Bengali silk sarees, Banarasi sarees, Dhakai Jamdani sarees and designer sarees in Kolkata - the store will spoil you for choice. Their plethora of beautiful handloom sarees will also take your breath away and transform you into a radiant and alluring, Bengali beauty. Apart from this, they also offer an insanely stylish, treasure trove of indo-western wear that you just can't resist.
Address: 79/2, Mahatma Gandhi Road, College Street Junction, Kolkata - 700009
Contact Details: 9883982246, 8336905117
Manjari Selections is your one-stop destination for all things ethnic AND western! Although the boutique has been predominantly famous for its traditional banarasi, brocade and handloom sarees, its indo-ethnic and western range also remains in constant demand. With unique design sensibilities, detailed craftsmanship and intricate embroideries, their collection represents an enchanting romance between traditional grandeur and contemporary perspective which makes their customers come back to them again and again. So, if you're in Kolkata, this boutique is a must-visit!
Address: 246/247, Block A, Lake Town, Kolkata - 700089
Contact Details: 9007123318
When it comes to saree shopping, Priyo Gopal Bishoyi will be your new best friend in Kolkata. From Banarasi silk, Taant and South silks to Ikkat, Baluchari and Bomkai, this store offers the widest and the most breathtaking range of sarees. What's special about this boutique is that its Baluchari silk sarees can also include custom-made designs with scenes and figures from epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana or of marital love stories, carefully embroidered on the pallu. This gives their sarees a much more royal appeal, perfect for weddings.
Address: 113/1 A, Rashbehari Avenue (Opposite Triangular Park), Kolkata - 700029
Contact Details: 033-2465-8246
Anchal Boutique is a popular name in Kolkata and if you're in the city, you'll be recommended to visit this boutique by almost everyone you meet. Showcasing a wide array of sarees like Taant, handloom, Kantha stitch, Tassar silk, Matka silk, cotton, pure silk, Banarasi, hand-printed - you name it and this store will have it. Apart from their traditional Bengali sarees, they also customise sarees as per your liking by providing a beautiful variety of fabrics, colours, designs and patterns to choose from.
Address: 3D, Kali Charan Seth Ln, Peerabagan, South Sinthee, Dum Dum, Kolkata - 700030
Contact Details: 09674866837
Tantuja Boutique was established in 1954 with an aim to develop the handloom sector of the state and soon became one of the most sought-after clothing boutiques in Kolkata. What makes this store unique from others is its selection of classy and elegant sarees. The boutique showcases a rare collection of sarees such as Jamdani, Tangail, Begampur and Dhanekhali along with Baluchari, block-printed silk, battick and hand-printed clothing materials. Apart from this, they also sell towels, handkerchiefs and scarves - all hand-printed and pretty to look at!
Address: Block DD, No. 18/4, Bidhan Nagar, Sector - 1, Kolkata - 700064
Contact Details: 033-2334-8723
Feel like doing some *early* Durga Puja shopping, don't you?
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