Amanda Bachalli has moved on from designing prêt and party wear to elaborate gowns and trousseaux

She is definitely page 3 material, with her elfin, gamine looks and head turning dress sense. But there's a professional designer lurking behind those delicate looks, a designer who has rocketed into the tough Bangalore fashion firmament in a matter of a few years.

That's probably because her pedigree is perfect – Fine Arts at Stella Maris, then three years at NIFT, Chennai. A stint with a domestic brand, Swear, followed and she took up teaching young designers in NIFT which was on Cunningham Road at the time, and at Shristi School of Design.

“It was interesting teaching Fabric Studies and the History of Fashion to students who enjoyed my classes.”

Later Amanda took up a three year merchandising stint at TESCO, Bangalore, after which she finally decided to put down roots here in the city and established her own Amanda Bachalli label in 2005-2006.

Setting shop

“Initially I worked out of my workshop which doubled as a studio and stitching unit. My clients came there to meet me and order their garments. I also supplied clothes to Cocoon, a store which was in the Leela and to The Box which is in The Park in Bangalore, Kolkatta and Chennai,” she said.

Her customer base expanded exponentially by word of mouth through satisfied customers. Prasad Bidappa's suggestion to take part in the Men's Fashion Week in 2006 and 2007, encouraged her to start a men's line. “Today I dress an equal number of men and women and both are happy with my styles,” she reveals.

Initially Amanda's line was essentially prêt and party wear. “Now I have evolved into doing a lot more formal wear with suits for men and wedding gowns and the trousseau for the bride and her entourage. This is a big part of my business today and I really enjoy that.”

Amanda decided to start her Sigma mall boutique in July 2009. “My customer base had grown and I wanted to reach out to others who were not aware of my label. The decision was a good one, as I have not looked back since the opening day. Bangalore has been very welcoming and my gut feeling that the Bangalorean is more fashion conscious than the Chennaite has been proved right over the years. More people wear western wear here in Bangalore while Chennai is slightly more conservative.”

Looking through her fall /winter collection at her boutique in the Sigma Mall, Cunningham Road, one can see Amanda has been inspired by gardens.

“I am normally drawn towards everything natural,” she says, showing off a white dress which is embellished by floral Kasida embroidery from Kashmir. “The theme of the embroidery is floral and I have used it in a very contemporary tie up dress, instead of the typical salwar kurtas they are seen on. To go with the dress, the men's shirt remains plain white, except for fabric texture and style details on the edge of the sleeve,” she says.

With regard to the kind of fabric she likes to work with, Amanda likes to design with cotton and linen for daily wear and for the evening she prefers working with sheers and satins in silk.

As for her label, she says, “the look of my label is clean with natural lines, and I design for someone who has a natural sense of style and who are confident of who they are. I am very particular that the fit, colour and drape of my garment are perfect and check till I am satisfied.”

At the recent BeYu fashion awards, Amanda was one of 10 designers to be given an award for her contribution to fashion. “I showed my Spring/Summer 2010 collection which was resort wear, at the show,” she said. “I like to think I have been inspired by my parents who are great dressers. My dad had a great sense of style and loved to be dressed even when he was lounging around the house.” Amanda's label is available in her new store on the ground floor in Sigma Mall, Bangalore. Also at The Box in The Park Hotel and Sivaah in Fort Cochin.