Rooted in Tradition

Post 284 of 1734
  • Anita Dongre



For over 20 years now, Anita Dongre has been running one of the most successful fashion houses in India, House of Anita Dongre, which comprises of four major brands. AND, the high street western wear for women; Global Desi, which represents the boho chic collection; Grassroot, a luxury prêt and Anita Dongre, her eponymous label, which offers bespoke bridal and couture creations. In addition to this, Anita designs her own line of handcrafted gold jadau jewellery under the brand name Pinkcity. Known for being influenced by India’s textile heritage, Anita’s creations boast of the country’s rich craft tradition. Brides around the world covet her Banarasi and gotapatti lehengas. Her designs often grace red carpets and her shows are the most awaited event at fashion weeks every year. Her brand, Grassroot, is the result of her conscious effort to revive the Indian crafts and textiles. Anita has also introduced animal cruelty-free accessories. Shweta Bhatia speaks to the designer to explore more

Your designs show a lot of influence from Rajasthan. Tell us something about that.

It is amazing how that place can keep inspiring me with each visit. Every time I am there, I see something and feel something new which rejuvenates my creativity.

What about Rajasthan inspires you?

The textiles in Rajasthan; the way people dress; the attitude of the ordinary men and women who walk in the streets; the way they mix and match prints and colours; the architecture and all the amazing handicrafts available throughout the state.

How are the colours of Rajasthan interpreted in your clothes?

The colour of sand. The Jaipur pink. And every time I see bright pink bougainvillea, I think of Rajasthan. Nowhere does the bougainvillea grow as pink as in that state.

What kinds of Rajasthani handicrafts are used in your designs?

Gotapatti, which originated in Rajasthan, is our signature embroidery. The motifs adorn our different ensembles like tunics, kaftans, lehengas, bandis and jackets. Gotapatti, as a design creates a luxe look fit for royal occasions, and yet is surprisingly light and easy to wear, which is our uniqueness. Jadau is also another Rajasthani craft that is seen in Pinkcity, our luxury jewellery line, crafted by Jet Gems. Highly skilled Rajasthani craftsmen design jewellery using the art of meenakari and jadau to create the best of contemporary design accentuated by tradition.

Which is your favourite city in Rajasthan?

Jaipur – the Pink City, is my favourite city. Its architecture, forts, culture and art and craft have played an instrumental role in our campaigns, which have been shot in the Old City. Furthermore,we will also be shooting our Winter capsule collection 2016 amidst the city’s rich heritage.

Has Rajasthan inspired your own personal style in any way?

A strong part of Rajasthan is in my Indian wear label – Anita Dongre bridal. And yes, big influences are seen in Global Desi and Grassroot.

Has the process of designing bridal wear changed in recent times?

Yes, it has. Brides today are looking for a contemporary look with a hint of tradition, whilst still staying on trend with the cuts and colours. Today’s modern bride seeks elegance, style and comfort. A versatile ensemble, that doesn’t weigh her down and allows her to enjoy her own wedding as much as everyone else does. Which is why all my bridal wear is light to wear, while being a stunning tribute to tradition.

Out of all the collections at the Couture week in Delhi, yours was perhaps the most celebratory. How would you wish brides-to-be relate to this collection?

We offer various options for today’s contemporary bride. She can pick and choose her outfit according to the destination and the kind of wedding event she is planning.

What was your inspiration for this collection?

The Mughal gardens of Rajasthan.

Which pieces from your couture collection would you suggest to a bride for her wedding?

A beautiful Banarasi woven lehenga.

What would be your suggested favourite colours, cuts and inspiration for brides, this season?

Red is a classic colour for brides on their big day. However, my favourite this season is a lehenga-choli in orange with beautiful gotapatti, worn in the classic Indian way.

What according to you is trending this wedding season?

I have gone completely monotone this season. The blouse, dupatta and lehenga are all in one colour. If it’s a print, the same print runs from the blouse to the skirt and to the dupatta. The ensemble in single colour gives a great sense of length and height.

What Anita Dongre’s bride is like?

An independent modern woman. She is confident. She loves Indian crafts and textile. Someone who wears her clothes with panache.

How much fun it is to design for the new age bride?

It is great fun. She is young, spirited, lovely and always well turned out.

Who is your muse?

A modern, independent, self-confident woman.

Tell us about one ensemble from your collection that holds a special place in your heart?

All the new blouses we’ve done can be paired with heavy lehengas, shararas, a pair of jeans or a saree. They’re extremely versatile, hence I would recommend the blouses.

Who is your favourite bride so far?

Every bride is special to me. I am not playing favourites here.

Share with us your one memory that stands out while designing for bridal wear?

I love designing for entire families. I really enjoyed designing for this large family from a large industrial house of India. It is a family where a young child of six to a grandmother of 88, all live together in one house.
It is lovely to see them all come together for fully coordinated wedding outfits. This experience is special to
me because it is Indian family tradition at its best, when they all live together and all celebrate together.

What advice you will give to brides who want to ditch the traditional wear and opt for fusion one?

I would suggest a beautiful printed lehenga with pockets, paired with a bohemian blouse.

What is the most common mistake that a bride may make on her big day?

I think it is very important to be comfortable in what you wear, and let your personality shine through.Even the most vigilant brides can be steered off-course sometimes. I always believe that brides should choose an outfit
that doesn’t weigh them down and hence all my lehengas are designed in a way that the bride can dance at her own wedding.

What style advice would you like to give to brides-to-be?

Be comfortable, be yourself and feel beautiful in what you choose to wear.