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.

luxury special occasion sarees saris and lehengas

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.

luxury indian sarees saris

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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