As a special for International Women’s Day, Dolly Jain is offering her "updated signature D-coat" (a petticoat) for the perfect drape.

Dolly Jain professional sari and dupatta draper smiling looking to her right in a black sareeDolly Jain
Features Human interest Monday, March 08, 2021 - 11:07

From being adventurous enough to turn sari-draping into a profession, reaching out to celebrity clients including Isha Ambani, Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra and Union Minister Smriti Irani, Dolly Jain is now looking forward to releasing her coffee table book on 365 kinds of sari-drape. The book will include not just the art of draping but will be a veritable record of rich weaves from each state in India, all presented in traditional, contemporary and fusion drapes.

The professional sari and dupatta draper, based in Kolkata has been in her line of work for 15 years and held an online drape-session for the customers of the arts and crafts revival boutique Madhurya Creations (www.madhurya.com) in South Bengaluru, where she said, “Even if you have a small collection of saris to be worn repeatedly, get adventurous and wrap yourself in myriad ways to beat the humdrum. Believe me, people hardly notice the same sari, because draping is an art that opens up the persona of a weave differently.” 

This year’s special release for women in 2021 is her own brand of petticoats called D-coat. “This new generation under-skirt evolved after much observation. We worked and re-worked on it to see people decode their problems of having their drape flowing well. As an experienced drape artist, I feel it isn’t the sari, weave or the fabric at many times, but the petticoat that plays another key role to having the drape right,” explained Dolly, who has all the details of D-coat on her Instagram handle.

As with Madhurya’s online session that was a continuous demonstration without a break for 90 minutes, Dolly says, her video tutorials always have the nuances. Dolly showed how a dupatta can be combined with a sari and worn to showcase a new wave in sari-draping itself. “This dupatta will look like a new pallu to the sari, and so the sari itself gets a fresh look,” she said.


Dolly Jain during her online sari-draping session for crafts-and-weave revival boutique, Madhurya Creations.

The nitty-gritty in every fabric helps have a different drape, she said in the online session. “The reasons I give for ‘the extra pin here and an extra pleat there’ is what gets me the people-connect. I cannot teach with one sari and say replicate it with other drapes. Chiffon and organza are different; I have genuine reasons to have them draped differently.”

Dolly Jain’s online sessions also have question-time earmarked. “I am often asked how a grandmother’s sari and a mother’s blouse can be put to re-use. I guide them on how it can be re-done and re-draped for a fresh fusion retaining the emotions attached,” says Dolly, who also uses lowers as pants, leggings, denims, short skirts and long skirts for draping. She can use crop-tops as blouses and have a tie, belt or broach to have saris or dupattas styled together. She can use a sari and dupatta as an unusual combo. “My motto is to have the young carry forward a legacy, otherwise the sari will fade into oblivion,” says Dolly.

Dolly’s achievements have also made it to the Limca book of Records, Asia book of Records, India Book of Records, and she is registered in Guinness Book of World Records for fastest draper to drape a sari – which she did in 18.5 seconds! She is also a World Record holder to drape a sari in 325 different styles. And how does she go about her bridal drapes? “I try and incorporate the designer’s vision and the bride’s wish. The drape then gets to be immaculate,” says Dolly.

And when is she planning the book release? "Sadly, due to the pandemic my work is delayed and I am completing it in a few months with 365 styles brought in. I have written on important weaves of India that represent every state after analysing them all in-depth with respect to the specialized differences in each weave, which is so time-consuming. Everyone should respect saris and buy them every year as a tribute to weavers who work on hand loom," says Dolly. 

"I was born and brought up in Bengaluru and didn't go on to study beyond schooling. The beginnings in my profession weren't easy as people often underestimated the potential of this matter-of-fact daily-wear garment. Over the years, sari was not considered trendy, but a cumbersome wear by growing youngsters,” Dolly shares. 

But Dolly's family, after marriage, expected her to wear a sari each day. "From handling my drapes that were unwieldy and torturous, to boldly accommodating different styles, I gradually got a creative grip on them. I have created a niche for myself and my work can have students in fashion ruminate on!" says Dolly with pride. She will also be releasing a video on '100 drapes with a sari', a ready-reckoner, that people can access. 

(Photos from Madhurya Creations)

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