Spectacular saris to mark Singapore's jubilee

Spectacular saris to mark Singapore's jubilee
Resplendent in their saris are (clockwise from far left) Ms Reena Ahuja in black and green, Ms Ritu Patro in turquoise, Ms Jayashree Ashok Krishen (standing), Ms Bhanu Jayanth (in blue), Ms Latha Vinod Krishnan, Ms Smita Sharma, Ms Malini Shekhar, Ms Shagun Chand, Ms Shanthi Chandrasekar, Ms Rakhi Gupta, project leader Mrs Ruby Shekhar (seated in beige) and Ms Dipti Sharma.

A group of women are marking Singapore's jubilee year in style - by having their pictures taken at 50 iconic locations around the island while wearing the sari.

The idea for the 50 Sari Shades of Singapore project was spun by 52-year-old Mrs Ruby Shekhar, who is originally from India but has been living here for nearly two decades and is now a naturalised Singaporean.

The owner of two enrichment centres for children started the Facebook page Demure Drapes last year to share her passion for saris and pictures of her friends in the traditional Indian dress.

Mrs Shekhar said the sari has seen a resurgence in popularity in India, thanks to designers' modern interpretations of the dress and Bollywood actresses who often wear it at gala events.

"I wanted to get Indians in Singapore interested in the sari too, and thought I could do so with social media," she said.

"Then I thought that taking photographs of ladies in saris around Singapore would be a fun and meaningful way of celebrating Singapore's 50th birthday, as well as the beauty of the sari," added Mrs Shekhar.

It did not take her long to find 50 volunteers.

Ms Dipti Sharma, a housewife from India who has been living here for two years, explained that the sari holds a special significance for many Indians.

"To me, it represents heritage," said the 33-year-old who was photographed at the Merlion dressed in a pink sari with silver threads, which she had worn on her wedding day.

The sari was passed down from her grandmother.

Ms Malini Shekhar, a 34-year-old housewife who wore a bright pink sari with gold trimmings at the Esplanade, said her 10-year-old daughter has cottoned on to her growing interest in saris.

"I am happy that my daughter likes wearing the sari too. That helps her stay in touch with her roots," she added.

So far, Mrs Shekhar has taken photographs of the women at 28 locations, including Gardens by the Bay, the Botanic Gardens, Boat Quay and East Coast Park, with a DSLR camera.

They are uploaded on her Facebook page, with a short write-up by her "models" on their appreciation to Singapore. She aims to cover all 50 places by the end of next month.

There are plans to hold a fashion show featuring the 50 women at Katong Community Centre on National Day and compile the pictures into a book.

Mrs Shekhar said the project has also won the women some compliments. "Some members of the public had come up to me to ask if the ladies are actresses when we were out taking pictures," she said.

"The response has been very positive."


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