From the holy ghats of Banaras to the pink city of Jaipur, the creations of this designer allow you to take the entire country in your palm, bringing together the craftsmanship of different states into the folds of the traditional Indian ensemble. Chandra's store Sakhi, houses saris and salwar kameez. The eclectic designs and unusual colour combinations make the saris stand out. Chiffons, georgettes, Kanchipurams, tussars and a whole lot of feminine fabrics add opulence. Block print, Pochampally print, kundan work, Kalamkari, and cut work from France are predominantly used in her creations.
Starting out small, today Chandra and her daughter Neeta have three stores, one in Bangalore, one in Hyderabad and an online store. “I used to stitch frocks for my daughter when she was young. I learnt it from my mother,” she recollected with an air of nostalgia. Her keen interest in design took off as a home venture back in 1992. Due to the overwhelming response, it triggered off a new chapter in her career with the opening of her first boutique. Her inspiration comes from real life experiences and exposure to magazines and existing trends.
The hues of a few saris were inspired from watching a peacock dance on one of her sojourns. For Mother's Day, it was the overtly positive response she got during a wedding that spurred the thought process for matching attires for mothers and their daughters. The mother-daughter collection that was showcased recently was put together in just ten days.
With the ubiquity of media, how do television serials affect designs in general? “NRI customers and foreigners usually prefer loud designs,” she chuckled and quipped adding that most of her local clients did not like bling. For them a Parvati's sari or Tulsi's aren't the benchmarks for their choice of the six yards…
But what about eco-friendly designs? Does the role of a designer stop at just designing? “Unfortunately, eco-friendly clothes come with a price which most people are unwilling to shell out, yet. It is not commercially viable. However, I would like to promote ahimsa saris.” This is something worth waiting for.