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BENEATH THE SURFACE

The International Indian Film Academy's awards weekend comes to Tampa's Raymond James Stadium later this month, the first time the Bollywood Oscars ceremonies have taken place in the United States. With thousands of visitors in the area for the festivities April 23-26 and an increasing number of families of Indian descent in the Tampa Bay area, we take a closer look at one of the republic's distinctive clothing styles. India's traditional dress, the sari, or saree, has a long history that encompasses numerous traditions. With a name corrupted from the Sanskrit word for cloth, a sari is not a dress in the traditional sense but between 5 and 9 yards of finished fabric that is then draped in at least 80 different methods across the subcontinent. In Maharashtra, it is tucked to form pantaloons; in Gujarat, the end is worn over the chest and abdomen; in Bengal, keys are tied to a corner thrown over the shoulder. Most commonly, saris are worn "nivi" style, with pleats tucked into the waist and the end draped over the left shoulder. The sari also has deep roots in Indian mythology. In the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, the princess Draupadi is ordered to be stripped and publicly shamed. After she prays to Lord Krishna, her sari cannot be unwrapped, but unwinds without end.

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Models: Erica Alexis and Renita Singh

Makeup: Suzin Moon, LolaJanes Beauty Lounge, St. Petersburg

Styling: Suzette Moyer

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