7 Shades of Summer: Fashion

The age of the Sari Bikini

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It could say a lot about what Indian women think is their best asset
Akanksha Redhu loves to hit the beach in the summers. Her swimsuits have to be comfortable but also stylish “Never buy something without trying it on, and always keep your mood in mind,” says the fashion blogger. As an Indian girl, she feels that high-waisted bikini bottoms are ideal for the average Indian woman, but it’s all about deciding which asset you want to flaunt. “Choose solid colours first and then introduce prints,” she says. To shop for a bikini, the three main elements to look out for are colours, cuts and prints. Whatever size you may be, the Indian market has a bikini for you. Karan Behal, founder and CEO of, informs us that their best selling model is a paisley push-up bikini. It could say a lot about what Indian women think is their best asset.

However, if the swimsuit scares you, designers Shivan and Narresh, who are considered bikini specialists, have the perfect solution with their sari bikini. Narresh talks about a client who “was a size 14 but used to travel every year to St Tropez to vacation on a yacht. She wanted to look sexy. We gave her our Sari Bikini, which is a bikini top with a sari draped over it. She loved it.” Bipasha Basu and Neha Dhupia have both given it their approval. As Shivan and Narresh say, “There was a visible need in the market for a silhouette for women which kept them culturally rooted while being appropriately dressed when out on a holiday. We, as designers, were tired of seeing Indians being misfits on resort and cruise holidays in cotton/silk saris or salwar kameezes. The sari counterfuses two diverse elements: the boldness of the bikini with the modesty of the sari.”

The choice of material—Italian swimwear jersey—makesthe garment apt for holidays as it is resistant to UV rays, sunscreens, body oils, creasing and pilling. It’s been a bestseller for the designers ever since 2011, when it was first put out in the market. As a client, Priyanka Kapur, 30, who always had a problem finding swimwear that covered her hips, says, “I own three. They are sexily cut and have Swarovski crystals on them. I wore them last when I went to Vegas. I like it low cut at the back. They also come with great cover-ups that flatter you even more.” The perfect bikini could just be the one that, as the designers say, “makes you fall in love with yourself.”