As a garment, the sari is both beautiful and steeped in culture. It has been worn for centuries by women in India and represents both timeless elegance and feminine grace.

Tying a sari however, can be a little daunting if you have never done it before. Especially so when it comes to dealing with the multiple drapings and correct folding of its beautiful pleats.

Enter Joseph Rakesh. With more than 20 years of experience, the man has tied saris for actresses, dancers and models, as well as women who need to look good for special occasions.

According to him, everyone can learn how to tie one and it is a matter of just getting the hang of it. He says he picked up the skill while working in India’s film industry during the 1990s.

“A sari is just a cloth six metres in length, but it can be tied in different styles. These can fit all women – no matter their body type, and is perfect for different events and celebrations, ” states the 49-year-old Malaysian.

“There are more than a hundred ways to tie a sari. As it is, each state in India has their own specific style. The Guruku, the Pavadai or the South Indian for example, are just some of the many.”

Joseph Rakesh

Joseph Rakesh is considered to be an expert at tying sarees.

Joseph says that he used to give classes on how to tie the sari. To him, it only takes a few simple steps. He also points out that anybody can look good in a sari, no matter your race or ethnicity.

“Accessories are important. Bangles, necklaces and rings can all help dress it up. I see more women these days wearing a sari with just a pair of statement earrings, and it looks good too, ” he notes.

When asked, Joseph reveals that the best place to shop for saris is actually in Malaysia. He gets his sarees from Klang, where there are a lot of showrooms and the price is very reasonable.

“Never pay the price the shop keepers are asking for though. You must always bargain. If it’s RM100, ask for RM90. Trust me, you’ll get what your asking for, plus your money’s worth for the effort.” Joseph relates that the very first time he saw a woman in a sari, it was his mother. He recalls how he has always admired her, where she would wear one when going for important events and functions.

View our video above or on facebook.com/star2dotcom/videos, where Joseph talks about the dos and don’ts of tying a sari. Also, watch as Star2’s former intern Chichi Chakaipa demonstrates how to tie three easy styles – taught by Joseph himself.