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Saffron Rare Threads
The Art of Versatility
by Nirmala Nataraj on Oct 02, 2004
When Priya Saraswati and Yugala Priti launched Saffron Rare Threads a little over a year ago, they were very precise in the selection of their name. It takes a thousand hand-picked threads of saffron to create a single ounce of this flavorful substance. It was the perfect embodiment of Saraswati and Priti's initial concept -- to create a line of clothing that symbolized the same impeccability and vividness as the world's most coveted spice. The fruit of the women's labor is a streamlined, elegantly tailored line of clothing for the fall that has both intimations of the exotic and an irresistibly utilitarian feel.
Saffron Rare Threads stemmed from the two women's partnership, which began in 2003 when both met at A Motion Studio, a fashion and textile design company based in San Francisco. Saraswati, a former investment banker who had been mulling over the idea of starting her own fashion line, was instantly drawn to Priti's innovative designs. "We immediately bonded," says Saraswati. "I told her about my idea of creating a line of clothing that would be able to pull off this versatile, day-to-night thing in a good way. Her design style completely matched my concept." In addition, both women shared an Indian heritage in common, which would inspire the cross-cultural sophistication of Saffron Rare Threads.
"We basically want these clothes to match the versatility of the women who wear them," says Saraswati, who describes Saffron's target audience as women between the ages of 25 and 55. "We have a very contemporary and classic feel. We want women to be able to reach into their closets again and again and be able to wear the clothing in different situations."
Saffron's designs, which are largely created by Priti, are profuse with hidden details, iridescent linings, and changeable collars. "There are at least four or five different looks you can create with our line of clothing. We don't have anything that's too trendy -- the basic idea is that you can change your look really easily -- wear a zipped-up skirt to work, and at night, pull the zipper up a bit to reveal the shiny lining, for something more dressy," says Saraswati.
The fall line of clothing consists of nine pieces that range from sizes XS-XL: two jackets (one of which comes in both short and long styles), a pencil skirt, two pants, and three tops. The signature item in the collection is the Ananda jacket, a ¾ length, form-fitting coat in Italian fabric, with original sleeve detail and a bright lining that's a nod to India, according to Saraswati. The Ananda jacket comes in two different styles: the Italian fabric one, in a funky, geometric navy/gold print, as well as a version that matches the fall line's suit colors: wine, chestnut, olive, black, and charcoal.
Saffron's Bhava blazer, which comes in both long and short styles, is one of the line's most versatile pieces, emphasizing Priti and Saraswati's philosophy of adaptability. The blazer can be worn unbuttoned, buttoned up, or buttoned up with a Mandarin collar.
The tops are perhaps the most versatile and inspired designs in the collection, with their combination of romantic chic, sex appeal, and business sophistication. The collared Devi top presents a structured, boardroom look with a twist. Rather than buttons, it has an internal zipper, with ruching at the bustline. The Chintamini blouse, a flirty silhouette in 100% silk georgette, presents a softer look, with romantic bell sleeves and strings at the neck that can be tied at the back or front. The Amrita top is a sexy rayon/spandex blouse with a cut-out in the torso, which can also be worn front or back, while the Bhakti top boasts a flattering ¾ length shirred front.
"Little details really make all the pieces," says Saraswati as she demonstrates the difference between the Bala trouser pant and the Ananta wide-leg pant, revealing that the charcoal version of the trouser pant has a single pinstripe down the side of each leg.
Both women have already been getting quite a few nods from the fashion world. As recent exhibitors at San Francisco's first Fashion Week back in August, they received a wide variety of feedback from enthusiastic customers, who made several individual orders. This fall, Saffron Rare Threads designs can be found in Pixie, in North Beach, and Rabat, in Noe Valley.
While Saraswati and Priti are just beginning to market their fall line, they already have their entire spring line ready. "It's flirtier, more fun," says Saraswati. "We wanted more vibrant colors, lighter designs, a more amped-up versatility." The spring line offers a twist on the complete suit, with its tank tops, pants and jackets (both long and short), all in the same lightweight material. According to Saraswati and most admirers of Saffron's unique, simple, and elegant style, the main draw for most customers is that "anybody can wear the clothing. Most of the pieces have variations in color and length, so while the overall look is the same, you can have fun and change it up a bit if you want to."
Available at: Rabat
by Nirmala Nataraj on Oct 02, 2004