Future Exhibition TICKETS NOW ON SALE

The Offbeat Sari

A major exhibition celebrating the contemporary sari. Curated by our Head of Curatorial, Priya Khanchandani, this exhibition will unravel its numerous forms, demonstrating the sari to be a metaphor for the layered and complex definitions of India today. It will bring together dozens of the finest saris of our time from designers, wearers and craftspeople in India.

What to expect

Worn as an everyday garment by some and considered by others to be formal or uncomfortable, the sari has multiple definitions. Conventionally an unstitched drape wrapped around the body, which can be draped in a variety of ways, its unfixed form has enabled it to morph and absorb changing cultural influences.

In recent years, the sari has been reinvented. Designers are experimenting with hybrid forms such as sari gowns and dresses, pre-draped saris and innovative materials such as steel. Young people in cities who used to associate the sari with dressing up can now be found wearing saris and sneakers on their commutes to work. Individuals are wearing the sari as an expression of resistance to social norms and activists are embodying it as an object of protest.

Today, the sari in urban India manifests as a site for design innovation, an expression of identity, and a crafted object carrying layers of cultural meanings. The exhibition will unravel the sari as a metaphor for the complex definitions of India today.

The Quilted Sari from the HUEMN Fall 17 Collection, HUEMN, 2017; photo Pankaj Dahalia; model Rachi Chitakara

Ajrakh Camo Sari, 2022; VegNonVeg, printed by Sufiyan Khatri; photo Eshaan George

Gold Khadi Sari, Abraham & Thakore, 2016

Silk Georgette Sari with Herringbone Print, Abraham & Thakore, 2011

Folia Saree, from Other collection, 2021, Raw Mango; photo Amlanjyoti Bora

Folia Sari from the 'Other' Collection, 2021, Raw Mango; photo Shubham Lodha

Holidaze, 2020, Norblack Norwhite; photo Bikramjit Bose

Book online

Booking Information

Adult tickets from £12.60
Child tickets from £6.30
Student/Concession tickets from £9.50

Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. Visit our terms & conditions page for further information.

The exhibition opens on 19 May. Online pre-booking is advised. Tickets will also be available to buy at the door subject to availability.

Get closer with membership

Our members enjoy a whole year of discounts to our events, shops and café, access to private views, and free exhibition entry for an adult and a guest. With some excellent exhibitions coming up in 2023, including Ai Weiwei’s first foray into design and Skateboards, it’s an exciting time to join. Plus, every purchase supports the museum.

Ticket Mate Fund

Help everyone enjoy the exhibition via our Ticket Mate Fund – a pay-it-forward scheme in partnership with local charities that distributes free exhibition tickets to the local community.

Emerging Designers Access Fund

A limited number of tickets are available through our Emerging Designers Access Scheme. If you are an emerging designer and facing financial barriers to attend, please register.

Access Information

We want everyone's visit to be enjoyable and work continuously to make the museum more accessible and inclusive to the widest possible audience.

Future Exhibitions

2023 Programme

Discover what else is coming up this year.

Background image: Raw Mango, Angoori, 2019.