Chikan work (also known as chikan kari) is a classic form of embroidery that originated in Lucknow, India. To create chikan work, thread is woven onto a saree or salwar to create elaborate, floral or paisley designs. Although it’s usually done with white thread, modern designers are pushing the chickan kari envelope by using other colors as well. Whether it’s used in a traditional or more contemporary way, chikan work evokes the traditional beauty and intricacy of Indian design. Needless to say, wearing a chikan saree will always get a nod of approval from your family. This Tonal Chikan Work Saree by Nikasha from Luxemi’s collection uses chikan work to give added dimension to its stunning ombre color pattern and gota work.
Modern designers are using chikan work to elevate their designs, combining it with other embellishments to add some ethnic flair to even the most glamorous outfits. During recent runway shows, tastemakers like Anita Dongre are using chikan kari in transformative ways, using colored thread and pairing chikan work with contemporary elements like western jackets (see above).
Most of Luxemi’s pieces are hand-embroidered, which adds not only to their quality, but also to their authenticity. Part of the beauty of investing in a chikan saree is knowing the labor of love that went into creating it.