Nine yards of grace at Saree House

Saturday, 22 June 2013 06:15 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cheranka Mendis The months of June, July and September are popularly known as wedding months, a period when saree shops are stocked to bursting point with material and ladies frantically look for something that is both unique and nice, something that they can be sure no one else will be wearing. At Saree House, a small boutique run by Krishna Kamalesh, what you get are one-of-a-kind designs handpicked and brought down from Mumbai, a destination known for its unique creations of the nine yard drapery. Having started the business two years ago, more as a past time than a commercial venture, Kamalesh recalled that it all started happening when they brought down a few sarees upon their visits to India and her friends and family admiring their taste in picking exceptional designs. “I love to wear sarees,” she said. “While my taste is for more elaborate designs and sparkly, bright ones, my husband prefers the simpler ones. Together, what we pick tends to be unique.” Owing to constant inquiries from friends and relatives, they started bringing more sarees down on their visits to Bombay and selling them among friends. “Word got around and soon friends of friends started calling up. It is then that we thought we would display more in a central location where they can come, see, drape and pick their favourite.” A room in their house is now designated as the saree room and over 1,000 sarees are displayed at any given time. They are of varied colours, designs, textures and styles. All beautifully arranged in open cupboards, Kamalesh has no hesitation to pull out what the customer wants. “They might want to see 10 to 15 sarees and drape five to six of them before picking one, or not picking even, but I am determined to give them the best service. I do not refuse to do what they please.” With no middleman in the picture, prices are cheaper than what you find elsewhere as well, she said. There is also a discount for regulars. They display wedding sarees and sarees that are similar for families, sarees for cocktails and evening functions and beautiful sarees for morning functions as well. From grand worked sarees or simple border worked ones to skirt type sarees, Saree House has them all. They also have a beautiful selection of shalwars from Pakistan and India brought down especially for Ramazan. Having picked up on the love Sri Lankans have for Bollywood movies, Saree House also showcases some unique sarees similar to what you see on film. Commenting on the latest designs, she said: “Old type sarees are coming back,” she said. “Also in fashion is a mix of the old and the new – for example the old half saree to new designs.” Sarees with plain or light border work are also in style. Pink seems to be a favourite pick this wedding season as well, Kamalesh acknowledged. As they do it on a small scale, she requests all those interested to call an hour before coming. “I do the housework as well as help my kids with their schoolwork. An hour’s notice would give me time to settle everything else,” Kamalesh said. The shop is located next to Hayleys, down Fountain House Lane. Pix by Lasantha Kumara