The Summer/Resort 2018 edition of Lakmé Fashion Week kickstarted today at Jio Gardens, Mumbai. What an eventful Day 1 it has been, with some phenomenal collections showcased by designers like Dhruv Kapoor and Ragini Ahuja, among others. While everyone’s engrossed about the on-stage happenings of LFW 2018, the fashion folk are most excited about the closing act for the day, which is by designer Anita Dongre. Anita will present her Summer 2018 bridal couture collection titled Songs of Summer in an offsite show at ITC Grand Central, Mumbai. This show will also be a platform for Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) to present RElan, a range of new-age fabrics. An hour ahead of her extravagant show that will soon be the talk of the fashion space, we caught up with the designer to know about the inspiration, her thoughts on sustainability, the showstopper, and more. Excerpts from an interview…
1. We know that Songs Of Summer is a mix of contemporary and traditional styles for the Indian bride. Tell us about this collection — the inspiration and what new will we find in it?
It’s inspired by a beautiful summer garden. In fact, the show is also set in a summer garden, like a summer garden party location. There are beautiful floral motifs that are printed, embroidered and cut up with my signature gota patti. There’s some pastel coloured and embroidered footwear, handcrafted jewellery, and some great silhouettes that are free-flowing and easy to wear.
2. In an interview, you stated that you started off with just 2 sewing machines in your home. Now you have stores all over India and even in the United States. Did you have to innovate your design philosophy over time?
My design philosophy has always stayed the same. I’ve always tried to make clothes that are feminine, comfortable, and elegant. Of course, fashion keeps changing and I evolve with it but my core values remain the same.
3. The wedding wear space is something you’ve got into just about six years back. Needless to say, you’ve been instrumental in modernising bridal wear for Indian women. How did you start off with contemporising bridal wear? Was it an intuitive approach?
I realised that the Indian woman (Indian bride) had evolved and changed, and she needed to be comfortable on her wedding day. Until I made the lehenga light and even added pockets, the bridal wear did not even allow much movement. Today’s bride has changed, she dances at her own wedding, she’s young and has as much fun at her own wedding as her friends. Her wedding obviously calls for beautiful and opulent attire but also something she’s comfortable in, something that allows her to move, be free, and dance. I think that’s the difference I made to bridal wear.
4.You cater to four major brands — AND (Western prêt), Global Desi (bohemian), Anita Dongre Bridal (bridal wear), and Grassroot (contemporary Western). They are all different from each other. How do you keep a balance when it comes to the approach to each style?
I enjoy working on all the four lines. In fact, they’re all very interesting and a lot of fun. I love it.
5. Sustainability has now become a buzz word in fashion, and rightly so. Tell us how you contribute to this space?
We are truly questioning everything that we do at House of Anita Dongre now and are moving towards more sustainable practices. It’s an ongoing effort. It’s the need of the hour and we are working on it very consciously. We recently hired a sustainability officer for the company. The whole company is determined to try and change things around.
6. What are some of the Anita Dongre-approved bridal trends for 2018?
Well, you’ll see the collection soon, and all the trends in it. Songs Of Summer has very light pieces in shorter lengths, there are beautiful floral prints, and pretty pastel colours. We’ve taken the lehenga and shortened it. There are also lovely wrap tops, long and flowy jackets, beautiful hand-woven chanderi-mul, beautiful handwoven banarasis.
7. Who’s going to be your showstopper today?
Surprise! You’ll know in an hour.