Hyderabad is in Anand Kabra’s DNA. This time round, the nationally-known designer, is inspired by the famous Taramati Baradari, where Taramati, the beautiful courtesan sang and danced every evening for Abdullah Qutub Shah, the Sultan of Golconda. Kabra recreates the richness of the centuries-old structure with his ornate embroidery, graceful silhouettes and sumptuous palette and weaves in the emotions of a longing, angst-ridden courtesan into the collection. Here’s a quick five from the designer who unveils “Taramati” at Collage, Greams Road, today.


It might sound far-fetched. But I was fascinated by the story of Taramati. It’s one of love and longing. She is one of the lesser-know courtesans of the Sultan of Golconda. Taramati Baradari is a spacious hall with striking arches. Taramati’s tale and the architecture of the place struck me as something worth interpreting on clothes. The references are both literal and symbolic. I have arches and motifs that reflect the structure. And then, there are colours and fabrics that echo the sensuality and appeal of the story.


Malkah and silk mulmul are used extensively in this line. They are perfect to bring out the raw appeal of the tale. The palette moves from black and white and my signature dash of red and orange to chocolate and deep blue. A significant colour pop for Taramati is subtle mix of lime and olive. The colours reflect the mind of a woman who goes through a range of emotions — from sadness to sheer happiness. The silhouettes are linear and easy to wear. The cuts, colour blocks and embroidery bring out the signature arches of the structure. There are anarkalis, floor-skimming anarkali gowns, saris with cropped and long jackets etc.


India is perhaps the only country where the traditional attire continues to be a part of our everyday existence. So the biggest challenge for designers is to preserve our tradition by updating it in a way that it appeals to today’s youngsters. How do I make something that seems so cumbersome to youngsters easy to wear? That’s the question I ask myself every time. So I’ve created concept saris with set pleats and lehenga-saris too. To me, the sari is one of the most beautiful drapes and it is absolutely sensual.


Yes, I was studying Medicine when I decided to pursue fashion. So I went to the London School of Fashion. Though I was exposed to Western styling, my innate sense of Indianness has always been there. This is why I’ve been able to combine elements in a seamless way.


Fashion weeks have been a great platform to showcase skills, assimilate trends and interact with people from the fraternity. I’m not sure about the North-South divide because I try to stay away from politics and focus on my work. I just do my job and forget about the rat race. I have to thank my ostrich mentality for that! Nationally, what worked for me is my contemporary take on traditional styles, distinct palette and the Nizam influences.