Onam weaves for 2022 come to life with Kerala-themed flowers and patterns

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Designers dress traditional cream and gold Kerala cotton with hand-painted designs, embroidery, trimming and more

Designers dress traditional cream and gold Kerala cotton with hand-painted designs, embroidery, trimming and more

Shades of cream, ivory, off-white, gold and silver capture the festive season in the warp and weft of hand-woven textiles purchased like Onakodi, new garments specially purchased for the festival. Over the years, special Onam collections celebrate the harvest festival with patterns and colors that symbolize the season. And what better way to welcome the festival than with flowers? Flowers are an integral part of Onam, when the paddy fields turn golden and nature is decked out in her best.

To capture the harvest vibe, Kochi-based actor-designer Poornima Indrajith’s festival collection showcases sheaves of ripened paddy on sarees, gold-trimmed Kerala cotton garments zari and custom embroidered blouses. She explains: “As part of my duties to create something special for Onam, I decided to focus on nellkathir (ripe, golden paddy panicles), which symbolizes prosperity and abundance. Hand-embroidered on the saree, the pattern gives a three-dimensional effect. The collection, Nellu: Seeds of Hope, has the pattern paired with colors such as mint green, orange, and red,” says Poornima. Saris, salwar suits and dresses have her signature nellu reasons this year.

Valentina Abenavoli's Onam line embroidered flowers on Kerala cottons

Valentina Abenavoli’s Onam line embroidered flowers on Kerala cottons | Photo credit: special arrangement

In Thiruvananthapuram, Valentina Abenavoli wants to usher in Onam 2022 with a bouquet of flowers. Sprigs of dark yellow laburnum, red hibiscus and delicate pink and blue flowers bloom on cream and gold Kerala cottons, the traditional hues of Onam. The floral accent also shows through intricate cut work on the sarees. The Blooms collection from Ethnic Weaves, a boutique boutique, showcases Valentina’s evergreen garden.

Nivethitha Sanjay’s offer for Onam shoppers features flowers from all over Kerala cotton sarees. Nivethitha, a resident of Kochi, says, “Besides flowers such as hibiscus, sunflower, gulmohur and boungainvillea, I have used cherry blossoms and orchids to adorn my sarees under the Turmerik brand. The block printed flowers are hand painted to provide the finest detail.

    Flowers painted on Kerala cotton sarees are the USP of Nivethitha Sanjay's Turmerik brand

Flowers painted on Kerala cotton sarees are the USP of Nivethitha Sanjay’s Turmerik brand | Photo credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Designer Sreejith Jeevan of Rouka in Kochi laughs when he says that since his 2019 Onam montage, which celebrated flowers, the mural craze on cotton sarees in Kerala, dhotisshirts, long skirts and the like were overshadowed by flowers.

“Working with a group of hand weavers in Chendamangalam, my effort has been to find out how to overcome this cyclical purchase related to the Kerala festival. kasavu (the gold and silver border) sarees and dhotis and give it a contemporary touch to integrate it into the daily wardrobes of women and men of all ages.

Shanghupushpam is one of the Kreala themed designs from the collection curated by Sreejan Jeevan for Onam

Shanghupushpam is one of the Kreala themed designs in the collection curated by Sreejan Jeevan for Onam | Photo credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

For this Onam, Sreejith has cream dhotis edged in gold kasavudecorated with embroidered designs of traditional lamps, elephants, dragonflies and lotuses on the side of the vertical kasavu. In addition to sarees with applied hibiscus, gulmohur and shankupushpamit also offers mix-and-match options with duppatas and world. “It can be used as a traditional mundu-neriyathu together and the neriyathu doubles as one dupatta too,” he added. Then there are ruffled sarees in red, black and cream.

He says applique details in pastels and bold colors have flowers and patterns such as banana leaves, stripes, elephants and more, as part of the “#everyinchoffabric” initiative. Unfinished edges are part of the design sensibility.”

Lightweight Mangalgiri sarees with gold and silver trim are part of Czarina's collection for Onam

Lightweight Mangalgiri sarees with gold and silver trim are part of Czarina’s collection for Onam | Photo credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

While Kerala sarees adorned with hand-painted embroidery and flowers are part of Sheila James’ Onam selection, she has a curated collection of Mangalgiri tussars and silks in off-white with gold and silver trim in her shop, Czarina, in Thiruvananthapuram.

If you are ready for the festival, is your house ready for Onam? Cushion covers, table runners, bedding, pillowcases and more have cream and kasavu (gold and silver) with embroidered flowers, designs and paint as Onam-themed linens make a statement in the market.

Mini Eappen's Onam themed linens, Lilza Green, have hand painted and embroidered designs

Mini Eappen’s Onam themed linens, Lilza Green, has hand painted and embroidered designs | Photo credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Treasure Me, an online store launched by Manojna Tarin and Thomas Vaidyan, offers an exclusive range of bespoke linens to bring the joy of Onam into homes. Cotton crochet lace, pleats and embroidery are used to enhance the cream appeal and kasavu design linens.

A gift basket from Treasure Me is for Onakodi gifting

A Treasure Me Gift Basket is for Onakodi | Photo credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A festive themed basket is in high demand, says Manojna. “Many people buy it as a gift for friends and relatives. The cream-and- kasavu the cart costs ₹400 and shoppers can choose what they want to fill the cart with. Choices range from clothing and linens to thorhu and banana wafers.

She thinks the trend for linens started during lockdown in 2021, when most people were at home and had time to pay attention to home decor.

Ammu Cherian's collection, Gold is a Neutral, has pillow covers designed by her under her label Amu Cherian LLC

Ammu Cherian’s collection, Gold is a Neutral, features pillow cases designed by her under her label Amu Cherian LLC | Photo credit: special arrangement

Sparsh, a shop in Thiruvananthapuram, offers cushions, table runners and placemats in cream and gold with delicate gold floral embroidery. Mini Elizabeth Eappen, under its Lilza Green brand, offers linens that are hand painted or embroidered with motifs related to the festival and Kerala. The embellishment is done on ecru cottons with kasavu accents.

American designer Ammu Cherian offers a range of Onam-themed pillow covers under her Amu Cherian LLC label. Working with weavers in Kerala, she says her linens, again a fusion of cream and kasavuis aimed at Keralites who wish to have a state signature at home.

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