With a mundane life to lead, fashion and art, books and films are probably mediums for most of us to escape from reality. You get to relive your concealed persona through characters and clothes. And if you’re one to vibe with all things vintage and old-world, the sartorial offering of Zara Umrigar is just for you. The Bengaluru-based designer, whose collections have been sported by everyone from Sonakshi Sinha to Ileana Dcruz, makes some of the most exquisite creations. It’s safe to say her aesthetics are influenced by her royal lineage (Zara’s mother Sabita Dhanrajgir Umrigar is the daughter of Hyderabad’s Raja Dhanrajgir). Her trademark styles and silhouettes are created keeping in mind women who exude a blend of feminity and strength. Zara’s recent collection Gaia was showcased at Paris Fashion Week Spring Summer 2018, also the designer’s debut at the international fashion week. Inspired by nature, her designs from this line had handcrafted motifs and silhouettes with dramatic cuts, bold trains, plunging necklines and more. Using her signature hand embroidery with types of beads, sequins and thread work, Gaia was nothing short of stunning. We discussed, via an email interview, what Zara’s debut experience at PFW was like. Excerpts..
1. Tell us where you derived inspiration from for this particular collection.
From glaciers and oceans to animals and rainforests, the pieces in Gaia (Goddess of Earth in Greek mythology) are inspired by some of the most beautiful parts of our planet that are diminishing every day. Interpreting its beauty in the form of couture, this collection resonates with a woman who is empowered, elegant and glamorous.
2. Take us through the creative process of how you complete a particular piece.
Once I find what inspires me the most, I begin preparing a mood board that is followed by making numerous embroidery samples. These have to be perfected even before I can begin the actual process of creating the pieces. Putting each aspect of the outfit together takes patience; the hand embroidery can take weeks of hard work, skill and technique. The whole process is one that I completely immerse myself into and watching the designs come to life is obviously the best part.
3. Embroidery has always been a major element in your collections; tell us how that has evolved in your pieces over time.
I find myself drawing out many combinations of embroidery patterns and adding in a variety of embroidery techniques into a single piece.
4. What are the colours and silhouettes that you’ve worked with in Gaia?
I’ve worked with classic cuts and created just the right amount of drama in each piece. Since the colours represent the planet, you’ll see shades ranging from peaches and pinks to darker hues.
5. Your outfits usually have an architectural take with respect to its silhouette. Is it the same this time around as well?
This particular collection has a lot more floral patterns, which is different from most of my previous collections.
6. Taking your label to an international level obviously is a big deal. How different was it showcasing Indian influences through your garments when compared to your peers from the industry namely Rahul Mishra and Manish Arora?
I’ve showcased one of the most beautiful forms of art from India, which is hand embroidery, whilst maintaining my love of old-world glamour. I think that’s what excites me the most.