Ritu Kumar's Panchvastra Collection

2012 Mar 12 - by Preeti
Ritu Kumar unveiled a couture collection six years in the making: Panchvastra. Meaning 'five threads,' the collection centers around five of the most important women in the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata is one of two Sanskrit epics written in the 4th century BCE; the other being the Ramayana.

Anita Ratnam, Dia, Kirron Kher, Seema Biswas, Sushmita Sen and Ritu Kumar

The Mahabharata is one of the longest written stories to exist and tells the tales of war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. In there, five women: Ganga, Draupadi, Kunti, Amba and Gandhari face fear, anger, exile, rejection, and redemption.

Ms. Kumar's collection is an interpretation of these five women's lives told through the eyes of textiles and colors. Gota work, a type of metallic embellishment is prominent in the collection.

Lenghas, anarkalis, phulkaris, and saris all take the stage.

Each part of the collection tells part of the story of these strong women and the colors and styles associated with them.


She is incarnated after King Shantanu requests her to be his wife. His family, the Vasus, have been cursed by the sage Vasishta to have children born as mortals. Ganga demands of her husband to never question her. In turn, she drowns the first seven children to receive absolution. The eight child, Bhismha, remained a mortal human after King Shantanu opposes Ganga.

Style - Purity - Flower garlands, purity, whites and blush pinks.



Considered extrodinarily beautiful, Draupadi becomes the wife of the five Pandava brothers after Arjuna wins an archary contest. She is also one of the Five Virgins, Panchakanya.

Style - Seduction - blacks, reds, and bold colors; huge red bindis.



Given a special boon, Kunti could have children with any deva (god) she wanted. She chose to have only three children who became the three oldest Pandava sons.

Style - Illusion - heavily embellished lenghas, head pieces, tight buns, glittering Swarovski crystals.



Rejected of a hand in marriage by the king of Salva and later Bhishma, Amba vows revenge.

Style - Exile - bright colors of oranges, golds and fuschias; draped with chunnis (being "exiled")



With a blind husband,Dhritarashtra, Gandhari voluntarily blindfolds herself throughout their marriage. Gandhari became mother of one hundred Karava sons and one daughter whom all perished in the war with the Pandavas. Power plays between her and Kunti eventually materialized into dejection and remorse and they eventually bonded together. Together with Dhritarshtra, and their followers, they perished in the Himalayas.

Style - blacks whites, and reds; sheer blindfold over the eyes (being blind).

What a fabulous collection by Ms. Kumar!

Photos courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/RituKumarFashion