Designer Rehana Basheer on why anarkalis will never go out of fashion

The flowing sensuous anarkali in its 21st Century avatar continues the apparel tradition of India.

At the recently held Anarkali Fashion Fusion show, designer Rehana Basheer showcased anarkalis in exciting combinations and with varied embellishments. The theme was fusion. The display saw a variety of fabrics, embroideries, craft embellishments and the use of design language to create layers and cascades of fabrics and yokes which celebrate zari, lace work, ari, resham work, sequins and borders with meshed fabrics and lace. In a show choreographed by Sunil Menon, models displayed Rehana’s creations. While some anarkalis see a fusion of materials such as Benaras brocade, net, raw silk, georgettes and chiffon, there are ensembles that come with resham, ari, beadwork, Swarovski crystals and block prints mixed seamlessly. The styles include classic kalidaars, overlapping coats and anarkalis with slits. The garments celebrate bling and elegance, flamboyance and understated craft work.

Rehana talks about her tryst with designing.

Why the focus on anarkalis?

Anarkalis can never go out of fashion. It is so typically Indian and glamorous. Anarkalis fascinates me for their rich and timeless Mughal classic lines. Anarkalis are dressy and showcase a world of craft embellishments.

So, traditional artisans benefit through your fusion line?    

Definitely. All the work including cutting, embroidery, sequin and lace work is hand done by traditional artisans who come from Kolkata, Guduvanchery and Gujarat. They stay here and do the work. I work with 30 artisans now and looking for more talent.

Isn’t there an excess of bling in some of you kurtis?

I make my own trends. My work can be minimal as well as sophisticated and glamorous. I customise my work. If the client wants bling and an exuberant colour palette, I create that for them. But the overall design concept is mine.

Rehana Design Wear is located at 1, Mc. Nichols Road, Second Lane, Chetpet.