Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Creativity and commercial viability merge when you have women as your muse: Anita Dongre

The renowned designer's latest bridal collection, 'There She Glows', celebrates century-old craftsmanship in a contemporary way

Darielle Britto
Published: Jul 19, 2023 12:17:11 PM IST
Updated: Jul 19, 2023 12:46:34 PM IST

Creativity and commercial viability merge when you have women as your muse: Anita DongreHandcrafted pieces from Anita Dongre's newest bridal collection 'There She Glows'. Image credit: Anita Dongre

Anita Dongre's latest bridal collection, ‘There She Glows’, harmonises contemporary silhouettes and unconventional cuts with motifs inspired by nature for the woman who has deep Indian roots and a spirit that transcends borders.

The couture line celebrates century-old craftsmanship in a current style to create unique pieces, from the Urvara skirt set featuring Pichhwai hand-painted on a contemporary silhouette, to the sage Kusha corset crafted with sequin-embroidered Mughul motifs, to the sleek and modern Nayaab skirt set designed with Lippan mirror work that originated from Kutch, Gujarat.

In a conversation with Forbes India, the designer shares insights about the fine details that went into bringing her vision for this collection to life, striking the right balance between creativity and commercial viability and what's next for the House of Anita Dongre. Edited excerpts:

Q. What was the inspiration behind your latest bridal collection?
I wanted to create a classic bridal collection that celebrates forgotten crafts; colours and silhouettes cast a modern light. ‘There She Glows’ is a collection dedicated to my forever muse, the unconventional bride.

Q. Could you provide more information about the century-old craftsmanship celebrated in ‘There She Glows’? How does it contribute to the uniqueness of the brand's offerings?
Whether it's classic reds or unconventional whites, each outfit celebrates our signature crafts. The collection showcases the hand-painted craft of Picchwai, hand-embroideries by the women of SEWA (Self Employed Women's Association) and the Rajasthani craft of Gota Patti, among others. I'm most excited about introducing Lippan-inspired outfits with mirrorwork details.

Creativity and commercial viability merge when you have women as your muse: Anita DongreThe sage Kusha skirt set with a structured corset and fishtail skirt (left) and the The Alakana skirt set Presented in a creamy ivory, reminiscent of the 1950s (right) are part of 'There She Glows'. Image credit: Anita Dongre

Also read: From Christian Dior to Karl Lagerfeld, five fashion exhibitions to catch this summer in the US and Europe

Q. Can you share any anecdotes or stories about the artisans involved in creating these pieces and their contributions to the brand's craftsmanship?
I serendipitously stumbled across our Pichhwai artisan while on a shoot in Jaipur a few years ago. We were at the City Palace, and he was meditatively engrossed in his work restoring a ceiling. Watching him at work inspired me to think of our nature-inspired motifs hand-painted on our garments. We got talking, and he mentioned how work is hard to come by in his craft, and that was the beginning of our partnership. Today, he and his team work with us for our lehengas, our stores, and even accessories. It's been a fruitful collaboration for both of us to keep the craft sustained over the years.

Q. What are some of the nature-inspired motifs featured in the collection? How were these motifs incorporated into the designs?
I'm an early riser and love waking up to the whistles and trills of the birds in the sky. The magnificent beings signify such liberation and freedom. Birds are the primary motifs weaved in among forests in this collection in various crafts.

Creativity and commercial viability merge when you have women as your muse: Anita DongreThe Amreen lehenga from the 'There She Glows' collection embodies the spirit of heritage craftsmanship in gota patti, and zardosi embroidery in a contemporary way. Image credit: Anita Dongre

Also read: Fashion and film merge as Paris shows its opulent side for couture week

Q. How did this colour palette come to life in the collection, and how did it contribute to the storytelling?
I was fascinated by the time between midnight and dawn when birds are either asleep or most active. The colours of the sky and the motifs represented are both from this ideation.

Q. What type of bride or wedding setting do you envision this collection to be part of?
These designs are for the unconventional Indian bride who seeks heritage crafts translated into modern silhouettes. When designing, I consider the intelligent, conscious woman rooted in India with a global mindset.

Also read: ChatGPT was an unexpected guest at Marc Jacobs' New York fashion show

Q. How do you balance creativity and commercial viability when designing your collections?
When you're inspired by the woman as your muse, it's organic and effortless for the two paths of creativity and commercial viability to converge.

Q. What are some of 2023's biggest bridal fashion trends?
Being the life of the party—comfortable and classic always.