How she converted Saree draping into an art and a niche career | Dolly Jain dresses Isha Ambani
Dolly Jain, a housewife, has entered the Limca book of records for draping a saree in 325 different ways and taking as low as 18 seconds to drape a saree
The last month of 2018 has seen celebrity weddings in India, that has viralled across the globe in humongous proportion. Be it the Priyanka Chopra – Nick Jona wedding, Deepika Padukone – Ranveer Singh wedding or the recently concluded Isha Ambani-Anand Piramal wedding, which had plenty of Udaipur flavor to it, have one thing in common. The Saree draper for all the three brides was Dolly Jain. Dolly has converting Saree draping into an art form, and she has a growing list of celebrity brides and well known Indian women as her clientele.
Dolly Jain is based out of Kolkatta and her recent work with Saree draping for the three famous ladies of India – Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Isha Ambani was well received in fashion circles. Dolly, a home maker, was always complimented for the way she dressed and wore her sarees. This led her to helping other ladies drape sarees and passed on the skills to them.
“Earlier girls would go to their mother or aunts to drape a saree (or) people would call beauticians from local parlours…but now they realise that a professional draper can add so much value to their appearance”, – Dolly Jain in an interview with Economic Times.
It was at one such event, that she was helping the bride with a very heavy dupatta, that Sandeep Khosla, of the designer duo Abu Jani – Sandeep Khosla observed her meticulous attention to detail. Dolly says that Sandeep was impressed and recommended her art to celebrities. On one such occasion, when she was helping Sridevi drape a saree, that the late diva complimented Dolly on her skills. Sridevi told Dolly that she had magic fingers and that she should convert this art into niche and full-fledged profession – this is when the idea originated.
Having received the Limca Book of Records recognition, she had draped a Saree in 325 different ways. Her record for draping a Saree is as low as 18.5 seconds. She recently helped Smriti Irani, Union Textile Minister, drape a Kanjeevaram Saree.
Dolly says that though the bride is always the priority, she attempts to integrate the designers vision with the brides wish. Dolly adds, “Each bride is different. Deepika likes her pallu long, open and resting on her arm, Priyanka likes a lose drape, while Isha likes her sarees and dupattas pinned and well-fitted for a neat look.”
“I would go anywhere to drape anyone. Each woman was a learning for me, because her structure and taste were different and even the textile was different. They say making a woman happy is tough, and I did that every time. I practice draping sarees on a mannequin every day in the morning for the last 15 years, just as a singer does ‘riyaaz’.” says Dolly, on how she practiced to hone her skills.
From using hair straightening iron to fix the pleats of a saree to sewing a comb on the pallu to fix it on the head to prevent it from falling, are some of the tricks that Dolly has up her sleeve when it comes to dressing a woman.
Though a beauty parlour charges around Rs 500 for Saree draping, Dolly charges a fees of anywhere between Rs 35,000 – 2,00,000. The beauty parlour task is done as a part of the other work, but in Dolly’s case, it is a full fledged professional service.
“Weddings are the main source of business for us. Celebrity jobs and photoshoots do not pay as much; they give me visibility and photo-opportunity with stars, which helps my brand though”, adds Dolly.
Jain recalls the time when she was draping a bride at a destination wedding in Ko Samui, Thailand, and realised that the lehenga would be short if the bride wore heels that she planned to wear to match the tall groom. Some quick thinking and she used a borrowed kanjeevaram to make small pleats and made the bride wear it below her lehenga so that the gold pleats added a layer to the lehenga and increased the length.
When she went to drape late former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa some years ago, the latter’s security would not allow Jain to carry her belongings inside the premises, and objected to the huge numbers of safety pins she carried. “I had to tell them I need it for her saree, I can’t possibly murder someone with safety pins!”, say Dolly. “Amma” though opted for a traditional and safe draping, so the final event was less dramatic.
“If you want out outfits to look prettier and make you look slimmer, Dolly is the girl to go for draping. I work a lot with her,” – Manish Malhotra, Celebrity designer.
Jain is booked almost two-three months in advance. “I try not to say no to any bride who comes to me because it’s her special day,” she said. In case the bride’s budget cannot afford her services, she plans the look and delegates someone from her team of 25 girls.
“Saree draping is an Indian art which is getting lost. I want to convert the next generation who has never been taught how to wear a saree into regular saree wearing people. I tell them to bring whatever they have, and teach them how to rock a saree even with canvas shoes or their favourite Gucci belt.” – Dolly Jain on how her mission is to popularise Saree with the younger generation.Source Courtesy: Economic Times | Indian Women Blog Photo Courtesy: Instagram