The empress of Indian haute couture, Ritu Kumar, tells styleandsparkle.com how Indian heritage is leaving its mark on global fashion.
Ritu Kumar is so much more than a designer label; she is the pioneer presenter of India’s cultural heritage to the world. Her forte is traditional Indian design using rich textile laden with embroidery. Its no wonder owning a Ritu Kumar is every Indian bride’s dream, what with the intricate use of expert zari embroidery, embellishments and thread work, crafted in silks, georgettes, crepes and tissues.
But little did she know that her style of using Indian handicrafts such as zardozi, bandhani and chikan work would make it irresistible for those outside her native place as well. Her tye and dye pattern appealed to pop diva Mel B of Spice girls and the band asked her to design for one of their shows. Sometime later, Serbian Tennis star, Ana Ivanovic, was snapped flaunting a lehenga and a scarf from Ritu Kumar collection while model turned actress Moran Atias was spotted carrying a Ritu Kumar bag. There were also the likes of Lady Victoria Hervey, Moran Atias and Mischa Barton who were all spotted wearing her designs. Another famour model turned actress, Kristanna Loken, attended a fashion show in Los Angeles in Ritu’s creation. After all, she’s the only Indian designer to be chosen to showcase at the upcoming World Fashion Week at NYC.
“Most outside India have begun to like all things Indian. What they want is what they can’t get from Europe – anarkalis, lehengas, sarees, etc,” smiles the lady. We ask her what elements of Indian appeals the most to the global audience. Here’s what she says:
a) COLOUR: A break from pastel tints, India’s vibrant reds, royal blues, deep greens, catch the attention of international clients like nothing else. Whoever comes to me for a garment, first of all demands a lively color.
b) DRAPE: The drape that the anarkalis and churidaars offer, are simply irresistible. You see, one doesn’t get that in the LBDs.
c) GRACE: The grace that a traditional handcrafted Indian garment lends is incomparable to any evening gown hence the huge craze.
d) EMBELLISHMENT: Sparkling gems, hand embroidery, buttons, fabric rosettes, beading – heavy embellishments in floral and paisley patterns are a hot favorite.
e) ACCESSORIES: A hint of desi bling – polka, kundan, teeka – on the red carpet is a recent example of the global craze for Indian accessories. Gwen Stefani, Shakira and Alicia Keys were snapped sporting traditional Indian bindi at red carpet events. While Kate Hudson, Alicia Keys, Britt Maren and Isabel Lucas were spotted with Indian headgears, maang teekas, etc.
What’s going to rule global fashion this year?
“In terms of fabric, it’s certainly going to be cotton. And in terms of designs, anarkali lehengas will be impossible to live without. Also, what’s going to rule is Indian embellishments on Western clothing – coats, jackets, dresses, et al,” says Ritu.
- Diksha Kamra