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The three-piece wonder langa-davani

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By Neeti Sarkar


The langa-davani is back with a bang.  Once upon a time, it was the everyday garb of the traditional teenage girl. A tamed sartorial beauty of south India, the half-sari, popularly called langa-davani in Kannada and pavadai-thavani in Tamil has metamorphosed and made a comeback as a glamorous must-have in wardrobes of young girls and Bollywood actresses.

While south Indian beauties like Vidya Balan and Asin have been able to carry off the half-sari very  naturally, Priyanka Chopra in her red half-sari in Agneepath is the one who brought this garment back in focus.

“What I love most about the half-sari is that it lends grace to one’s figure. It’s traditional yet contemporary (depending on the lehenga and the choli). It’s also comfortable and very easy to drape,” says Akshaya Raju, a collegian.

Fashion designer Sanchita Ajjampur points out: “The half-sari made its resurgence since last    year in the form of lehenga-saris and has been steadily gaining popularity. Recently our celebrity brides have been adorned resplendently in both heritage and modern styles of half-saris. It’s an awesome hybrid of the lehenga and the sari. The mixing and matching aspect of the half-saris with contrasting dupattas makes it more interesting. Alternatively, all the three pieces can be in stark contrasting colors. There is no thumb rule that the lehenga and the dupatta should match.” While many women are skeptical about trying this outfit, designer Ameetha Mathew says: “The beauty of the half-sari is that it suits just about any woman. It is worn by both heavy and lean women but as is obvious, it looks better on a leaner frame. The half-sari accentuates the curves only where it is necessary unlike the full sari but again it depends on the lehenga the person chooses to wear.”

Providing pointers for those who might want to try the langa-davani, Sanchita suggests: “Play with contrasts and embroideries lavishly with floral motifs, floral patterns and decorative motifs embellished with silk, stones and bugle beads. Combine studding and embroideries with prints for feminine detailing. For a very ethnic/ traditional look choose brocade silk with zari embroidery or pure silk with embroidered motifs, sequins. With sheer silks and chiffons you can create a touch of softness. Simple folkloric Indian paisley prints and embroideries lead the way for a relaxed look.”

Getting a tasteful half-sari and wearing it right is only half the job done. Accessorizing is equally important. According to Ameetha, “The half-sari looks outstanding if the person pairs it with a pretty pair of high heels. The added benefit of heels is that the fall of the lehenga will be better as well as the posture of the wearer. A clutch will do to carry minimal necessities. The jewelry completely depends on the design, whether to keep it minimal or a little heavy. In terms of hairstyles that go with the attire, braids are in.”

Now that you’ve got your half-sari fashion fundas in place, maybe it’s time to bare that midriff in a village belle meets city gal style!