But the year turned and the black saree got the sartorial upper hand in one clean sweep of the chiffon pallu. It started last year when Kareena began wearing sarees because Saifoo apparently likes them. She came to the Saawariya premier in Manish Malhotra’s six yards of black net with a bold red and blue border.
Tabu and Aishwarya, chronic saree wearers, are often seen in black diaphanous numbers, though the new Mrs Bachchan’s uniform used to be pastels.
The saree is the stuff of dreams, drenched with the possibility of an unseasonal shower. It twinkles with sequins, diamantes or pitta work. Draped tightly around the hips, it has a better fit than a Parisian gown. The sheer material showing off those slender hips, leaving the face, arms and neck glowing in contrast to the dark swathe. Most importantly, you can’t march down the street in a saree. Your steps have to be small and slow, hips rolling from one side to the other, the gait of a swan. It would take more than a skewed fashion sense to look bad in a black saree. There is an unspoken agreement on how to wear it: the material has to be diaphanous, the choli, spaghetti or halter with the pallu tantalisingly draped, almost – but never really – slipping off the décolleté.
Diamonds in white gold melting, must spill over the shoulders, the neck almost bare, a statement ring or cuff on the hands. But most importantly, the black saree follows the first rule of seduction – igniting the viewer’s imagination.