Vattam: Kalki’s Sungudi Collection
Pinch, knot, dip, dye, untie…
The resplendent ringed circles spread across the Sungudi fabric are richly evocative – the sunnam or round paying homage to the sun; their scattering across cloth mirroring the constellations in the sky; their harmony inspired by the dotted flour-laced melodies that are kolams. While Sungudi is as synonymous with the city’s cultural landscape as the effulgent Madurai malli, the kai kattu or the hand-knot, which makes every luminous loop one-of-its-kind, has lost out to wax-dyeing and machine printing over the last decade.
Vattam comes full circle. Tied and dyed entirely by hand, every piece in the collection – from a singlet to a layered dress – features delicate pleats, gentle folds and graceful flounces woven around the enticing dot motif, whose organic simplicity is old and ever-new. Splashes of embroidery add a subtle tactile dimension that lifts each garment. From alluring reds and deep maroons to lush coffee browns, every colour is signature sungudi, while every Vattam is a spirited picture of uncontrived femininity.
About the tie-dye tradition:
Tracing back to the ancient Harappans, tie-dye traditions evolved over time into a highly-skilled craft with techniques that creatively manipulated cloth to achieve arresting patterns. Migrant weavers from Saurashtra brought it down to Madurai in the 16th century, where it thrived and came to be called sungudi.