Phylicia Rashad said that when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens. And magical it was when on 7 July, nearly 200 saree clad women came together at the Roselea Community Centre and sashayed on the ramp to the tune of Pretty Woman flaunting their beautiful selves draped in beautiful weaves. The air came alive with chirpy conversations as ladies appreciated each other’s sarees and jewellery, posed for photos, made new friends and all this in the name of the humble saree. An event that is the brain child of three friends, Preeti Gupta, Shirley Jacob and Poornima Menon, the Saree Lovers Meet intends to bring women together, so they feel totally fabulous.
The afternoon began with the traditional lighting of the lamp, followed by a short address by an avid saree lover and proud owner of 80 sarees, Jodi Mckay. Her talk was inspirational and laced with humour as she shared her love for the saree and the story behind the saree she had draped, a gift from Bangladesh. The room boasted of different weaves from different Indian states—there was Aparna Mitra in her gorgeous saree from West Bengal, a Baluchari silk with golden thread work, Ravinder Kaur Bali, Sangeeta Upadhyaya and Kalpita Pandit donned the traditional Mekhela Chador from Assam, Sonali Saxena looked resplendent in the her Paithani from Maharashtra and Hema Shetty and her friends were all draped in the KSIC Mysore silk sarees from Karnataka. While there were a number of ladies draped in Kanchipuram silk sarees, there were others in silks from Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and some others were in designer sarees that is very much in vogue these days. These sarees were beautifully accessorised by the gorgeous ladies and it was indeed a sight to behold! (Article continues after the photo gallery)
No ladies event is complete without shopping. The shopping experience was created by the exclusive stalls showcasing sarees, designer blouses, different kinds of jewellery, jackets, pashmina shawls, jootis and gift items. These stalls created quite a buzz. A house of Tambola followed by raffle draws injected fun and added variety to the afternoon. Many attractive prizes were given away. The main sponsors of the raffle draw prizes were Five Pleats, Amarsons Pearls, Krhea, TV Innovations, Spoorthi Handicrafts and Zhuri. The beautiful saree theme cake baked by Lillian Sandra Sarvotham had ladies going gaga over it. The catering for the afternoon was done by Royal India and chef Jacob had a delectable spread that was creatively presented and served. The ladies feasted on the selection of popular Indian street food that included idli sambar, chat and bhel puri, gol guppas and dahi bhallas, spicy chicken sticks, chana batura and kheer with hot and crispy jalebis. All the beautiful moments were captured by iFocus Fotography and DJ Dimple provided the foot tapping music as the ladies hit the dance floor.
This year the Saree Lovers of Sydney supported ICSA (Indian (sub-continent) Crisis & Support Agency) and a portion of the funds will be donated to this organisation. ICSA is the first NGO for South Asian Community in Australia, dedicated to the welfare of people with heritage from the Indian Sub-Continent. The creation of ICSA is in response to growing numbers of migrants from this region who are without specific support services or fall through gaps in the Australian systems. We would like to thank Asha Mehta for her generous donation to this cause. The Saree Lovers Meet 2019 was a huge success and the planning is already underway for the next meet in 2020.