Thiruvananthapuram: As temperatures soar it is time to add some summery, light Kota saris to the wardrobe. Sari boutique Czarina’s Kota Utsav makes a splash every year as delighted customers treat themselves to the comfort of the material. An extension of what founder Sheila James prefers to wear herself, the saris are sourced from the Rajasthani
Thiruvananthapuram: As temperatures soar it is time to add some summery, light Kota saris to the wardrobe. Sari boutique Czarina’s Kota Utsav makes a splash every year as delighted customers treat themselves to the comfort of the material. An extension of what founder Sheila James prefers to wear herself, the saris are sourced from the Rajasthani village of Kota in their basic white form and Banaraas where the super net variant is woven before being dispersed to other parts of the country for what the entrepreneur calls “value additions”.
Czarina boutique’s annual Kota Utsav brings the airy, checkered saris in a range of embellishments and prices to suit every occasion
These take place in Delhi, Kolkata, Andhra Pradesh and the like where craftsmen specialising in embroidery, kalamkari, mirror, appliqué, crochet and block printing like dabu, add their magic resulting in beautiful pieces that feel like a breeze to drape in the summer.
“It is an idea that came to me 7 or 8 years ago because I had been noticing that every summer people come asking for Kota saris. We always have a range but I felt it wasn’t enough. So we introduced a special collection and it was a hit in the very first year itself. It ‘clicked’. So I have been organising one every year since.” Sheila reveals that she is a regular Kota and Tussar silk wearer herself apart from the occasional handloom cottons.
The Kota Utsav runs for 15 days in March and is almost always extended by another week owing to customer demand. “It is difficult to accommodate the entire collection in the store at a time so we display them in installments.” Available in variants of cotton, silk and super net, Sheila says the last type is especially popular in the city. “Kota is perfect for our kind of weather. Super net is also a fast mover for us. Rajasthani pure cotton Kota is very soft, almost like cotton, and also in high demand. There are patterns for party wear too, apart from office wear that starts from Rs. 500. That gets picked up in large numbers by customers.”
Sheila’s foray into the business in the 80s also began with her embroidery patterns on Kota which acted as the perfect canvas. Every collection is planned six months ahead. Sheila has been at work on the Kota collection from last October-November. “While WhatsApp is good to follow up on the progress of the work, I prefer to exchange ideas with the craftsman in person.”
Czarina has similar collection sales all through the year. What started as an attempt by Sheila to keep complacency at bay is now something people look forward to every season. “My only intention at first was to stay busy during the off season, especially after Onam, since there is a lull. That is how Tussar Trove took shape. Now we have collections for Christmas & New Year, Kota, the Vishu/Easter collection called Crème de la Crème; an NRI Fest and Mix N’ Match Mania. I am happily busy all through the year. It motivates me to stay updated.”