PRINT October 1995


Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the book and talk that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence.

—E. M. Forster, A Passage to India, 1924

INVENTIVE IN CONCEPT, prosaic in its reiterations as a clothing standard, dazzling in its transmutations through ordinary and extraordinary textiles, the sari is an ancient device and decorum of Indian dress. Clever at its matrix, it is a fixed template, allowing no meddling or whim to its fundamental form. We Westerners are clumsy and colonial in our inevitable discontent with dress that is ideal and unchanging. Dull though such forms of dress may be to our jaded sensibilities, they have clothed more people more effectively than all our ateliers or even our sweatshops.

Gianni Versace’s Evening Ensemble, from his 1994 Spring/Summer collection, takes the

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