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Indian Fashion 101 – Banarasi Work Is Heavy on Luxury

Every girl should own a classic saree that can be dressed up for an evening out. But on that special night when you’re attending a Black Tie event, getting married, or walking the Red Carpet, it’s fun — and only fitting! — to wear something really spectacular. Luxe fans, meet the Banarasi work saree.

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Meticulously hand-crafted by artisans in Varanasi (a city also called Benares), the Banarasi saree is the ultimate sign of luxury. The historic city became known for its fine silk sarees and opulent weaving in the Mughal period, when emperors with a penchant for rich textiles poured their money into the local weaving industry. Because of this, Varanasi artisans often incorporate intricate Persian and Mughal-inspired brocade designs into their garments.

Benares became known for its gorgeous silk work in the 1600s, when a famine in neighboring Gujarat caused many silk weavers to migrate to the city. Centuries later, Varanasi artists are still hand-crafting opulent sarees with floral motifs and stunning silk textiles.

How will you know a Banarasi saree when you see one? The first thing to look for is its signature floral patterns called kalga and bel, which are intricately hand-crafted using metallic zari thread. Banarasi artisans also typically line the border of their garments with gold or silver upright leaf shapes known as jhallar. This all-over threadwork makes Banarasi silk sarees heavy, another sign of luxury and high-quality work.

Although these zari motifs and borders may look like brocade, what sets Banarasi sarees apart is the extreme care that goes into each stitch. Artisans spend anywhere from 15 days to 6 months on a single saree, hand-crafting each motif with fine details that sets this technique apart from typical brocade.

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Whether you’re getting married or attending a special ceremony, your Banarasi saree or salwar will let your grace and sophistication shine, while keeping the Banarasi artisan tradition alive. Luxemi loves the traditional Mughal floral motifs and rich silk work on this Black and Gold Benares Print Lehenga by Mallika Mathur.

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And we’re so excited to have this gorgeous gold Banarasi saree in our new collection. It features disk-shaped floral motifs and a chic double border that makes this saree perfect for any formal occasion.

Be sure to check back with the Luxe Report weekly for more Indian fashion 101, trend reports and East-meets-West fashion inspiration. And stay tuned for our new collection of sarees, salwars, Amrapali jewelry and accessories, all coming soon!

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Paris Fashion Week – Manish Arora + Amrapali’s Bold Jewelry Collaboration

If you’re anything like us, you’ve spent the last few months awing over the fabulous fashion at Paris, Milan, New York, London and Lakme fashion weeks. But of all the designer collections we saw coming down the runway, nothing made a bolder statement than Manish Arora’s use of eclectic Amrapali accessories in his Spring 2013 collection. This collaboration is definitely a match made in fashion heaven!

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Manish Arora was paying major homage to India with his Spring 2013 collection. Between the Gota-inspired borders on his dresses, the vibrant hand embroidery, and the opulent brocade, these looks brought a unique Eastern flair to Paris Fashion Week. Our favorite look was this regal black dress, with its unique neckline and intricate embroidery work. It’s a new take on the salwar that would command attention at any formal event.

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But what really made Manish Arora’s designs shine were the accessories. Inspired by Indian royalty, Amrapali handcrafted each vibrant piece to bring a funky, modern vibe to Manish’s garments. Colorful pompoms, quirky animal motifs, floral designs, and chromatic beads made these reimagined tikkas, hand chains and jhumka earrings the perfect ethnic additions to Manish Arora’s India-inspired line.

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We’re loving the delicate enamel work on this lotus hand chain, which lent a major dose of the wow factor to Manish’s yellow dress. And we can’t forget how festive one model looked wearing oversized jhumka earrings and an eccentric pink tikka.

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Statement jewelry can make all the difference in your style. For an instant hint of Indian opulence, try pairing your outfit with Luxemi’s Victorian Crystal and Black Stone Tikka or our Gold and Pearl Hand Jewelry. We also love the versatility and vibrancy of Luxemi’s Faux Pearl Belt with Emerald and Ruby Quartz, which will add the illusion of embellishment to a simple saree.

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To emulate the earring looks in the Manish Arora collection, try these Sterling Silver and Pearl Jhumka Earrings and intriguing Kashmiri Kundan Wrap Around Earrings, which are definitely more subtle than the Amrapali pieces but still bring an eclectic ethnic vibe.

If the Manish Arora collection is making you crave all things Amrapali, be sure to check out the design powerhouse’s exclusive interview with Luxemi! And while you’re at it, explore Luxemi’s accessory collection, which features statement pieces to elevate any outfit.

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