The queen of drapes, Anamika Khanna has always been a bit of an enigma. In a candid conversation with Millennium Post at Ogaan, in the national Capital, where a large room features Anamika Khanna with her Indian bridal and contemporary collections, she discusses her ideas on fashion.
Q. You are known for your signature pieces like the dhoti sari and capes. Are you planning to present a new must-have garment structure?
I am hoping the new development will go in that direction! You will see a lot of innovation. It’s theme that allows me to push myself and try new things, yet keeping my own signature. There’s a lot of deconstruction I am working with, which I have not done before. You will see structure and fluidity at the same time. I want to create a timeless collection. It’s got nothing to do with the season, or get defined by anything.
Q. What’s the best thing about being a fashion designer? What defines your style?
The fact that every day you see your dreams taking shape! The design process from the birth of concept to the final production takes many months. Researching current fashion trends and making predictions of future trends is the first step in creating the design. I have been instrumental towards the modernisation of Indian craft through my modern wear made from Indian textiles. I have reinterpreted the Maharashtrian nine-yard sari to create dhoti-pants.
They are actually dhoti style saris and have become the signature creations of ‘Anamika Khanna’. They have been worn by leading Bollywood superstars like Sonam Kapoor on multiple occasions. I have set a new trend through draped saris. Loved introducing the tulip drape, the wavy drape, and the two-pallu-in-dhoti drape. To sum up, my style is quiet, subtle, experimental and bold.
Q. What are your views on the current Bridal trend in our society?
Brides today are asking for a change. While they stick to certain traditions, they are experimenting with new shapes and colours. Unfortunately, there is also this race, where more is less. I do not believe in the concept of trend. According to me, I cannot restrict myself to a particular trend. My job calls for developing trends, rather than following them. Besides this, it is totally a bride’s decision on which kind of outfit she wants to carry, from a dhoti sari to a lehenga coat, which is a perfect mix of Indian and global fashion.
Q. You came at a time when fashion was all about colours. How did you manage to bring understated elegance into the industry?
Honestly, I love colours too. Though I feel overdosing it everyday is a problem. I stick with what I believe in and that pays off. Women today are educated, well traveled and independent. It’s not difficult to bring change. The colour palette was in my traditional style: ivories and blacks, with deep reds and colours thrown in. My love for all things gothic had been replaced by a new love for baroque, adding a real vintage feel to modern silhouettes. Fabrics were mainly light and often diaphanous, adding a sense of romance. My stand-out technique was the use of appliqué that resembled flower petals.
Q. What do you think is India’s future when it comes to Fashion?
I feel fashion in India is like a pendulum. It swings towards serious fashion then falls back into the same excessive rut. Fashion needs to be taken more seriously. There is great merit in the slow production of clothes, not least because the process means that the garments produced are unique, intricate and therefore carry great value. This is of course not to say that garments produced by machine are inherently less valuable but that in our fast-paced society where we demand instant gratification it is nice to take a step back and appreciate the time and immense effort that still goes into creating some of our clothing. Both machine-made and handmade fashion has pros and cons and ultimately in order to meet the demands of our very modern society it is imperative that both exist.