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Anita Dongre recently unveiled her new Winter/Festive bridal collection at Lakme Fashion Week, which continued the evolution of her muse, Nayantara. Bridal is a recent addition to Dongre’s growing brand which also includes a pret and diffusion line. However, bridal has in many ways become the soul of her label and showcases the rich craftsmanship of her native Rajasthan to the fullest extent. The new collection called ‘India Modern’ expanded on the theme she began last season of the “modern” Indian bride who embraces tradition without surrendering to the idea of what a “traditional” bride should be. In addition to the beautiful raw silk lehengas that she’s become known for, Dongre also added tailored jackets, embroidered pants and elegant gowns offering the bride a myriad options for her wedding day and beyond. We caught up with Dongre shortly after her show at Lakme Fashion Week to learn more about the evolution of her brand and what defines the “modern” Indian bride.
Your new bridal collection is called ‘India Modern.’ How is the Indian bride different today than she was when you first launched your label?
Since I first launched my signature label, ‘Anita Dongre,’ five years ago, there has been an evolution of the Indian bride. While she may still want a dream wedding and all that comes with it, her sartorial choices have changed a lot. The modern Indian bride wants to have fun at her wedding, rejoice in the celebrations and not get bogged down by a heavy-weight lehenga. She seeks versatility, functionality, comfort and glamour in her wedding ensembles. She seeks an outfit which is international in appeal yet Indian in aesthetic. She has definitely moved away from traditional silhouettes, colors and styles and is open to experimenting with her bridal look.
Brides have so many options now is terms of what they can wear to a wedding. What is unique about what the Anita Dongre Bridal collection offers?
The modern day bride has moved away from the conventional color palette and is willing to experiment with color and styles for her wedding attire. She seeks a blend of functionality and fantasy in her bridal ensemble. So, since the definition of the bride has evolved so have the fashions and trends. I for one, have always believed that bridal wear should not be daunting or weigh down the bride. My label stands for sophisticated elegance, where subtle embroidery or gota patti work is paired with easy flowy silhouettes and fabrics making for an elegant bride and making it a timeless piece in your wardrobe.
Jaipur continues to be an constant inspiration for you. What is it about the city that you love and try to bring to life in your collections?
I love everything about Jaipur – the splendid architecture, the vibrant markets, the culture, the people. Everything about that city inspires me. I love incorporating the vibrant hues that the city is associated with and the handcraft of gota patti, block printing, bandhini, etc. also find way into most of my creations. In fact, my jewellery line ‘Pinkcity’ is an ode to Jaipur, where I’ve used jadau and meenakari elements, and the collection is reminiscent of the days of the Raj,
The face of your new Winter/Festive bridal collection is British Indian model Keisha Lall. Why was she the perfect choice for the brand this season?
The Anita Dongre bride is a global citizen, she is well travelled, informed, knows her mind, yet she values her Indian roots and cherishes her heritage. She is modern in her thought process, yet traditional in her values. So, I feel, Keisha Lall, reflects that spirit and personality of the modern Indian bride.
You now have a jewelry collection called ‘Pinkcity’ in conjunction with your bridal collection. How would you describe the jewelry line?
I launched Pinkcity in August 2013, and this is the new festive collection that I launched, along with the India Modern collection. Pinkcity is a natural extension to my fashion line, and resonates with the same philosophy of ‘understated elegance’ as my fashion line. Pinkcity is a creative journey where my design aesthetics matched with the work of master craftsmen results in a timeless piece of art that whilst being versatile can be passed down through the generations. It’s a collection of gold jewellery designed using highly skilled traditional Rajasthani craftsmanship, Meenakari and Jadau – each piece is singularly handcrafted from pure gold and precious stones in intricate designs – a must have for every Indian man and woman!
You were recently on the cover of Fortune Magazine in India as one of the most powerful women in business. What did it mean to you to receive that recognition?
It always feels good to be complimented or appreciated for your work. These accolades only make me want to work harder, and continue to deliver on the brands promise of quality, craftsmanship and supreme design aesthetic
Fashion design is increasingly becoming a popular profession to pursue. What would your advice be to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
There is no shortcut to success; success does not come to anyone overnight. You need to have that fire in your belly, and should give more than a 100 percent to your work. While you need to dream big, you should not lose touch with reality – that’s what keeps you grounded and focused.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for our exclusive interview with model Keisha Lall who is featured in the stunning campaign below:
Images courtesy of: Anita Dongre