Inspired by Persia, Indian in design

Actor Sneha along with Anjalee and Arjun Kapoor Photo: Special Arrangement  

It’s just a few hours before the Madras Bridal Fashion Show begins in the banquet hall of Le Royal Meridien. Anjalee and Arjun Kapoor — a renowned designer duo in the bridal fashion industry — are just giving the models the finishing touches.

“I think big bold earrings will go best with the gown,” Anjalee instructs someone over phone and then hastily opens a WhatsApp image of a model in a pastel bridal outfit, and gives her approval.

Arjun, meanwhile, reclines on a chair in the lounge, looking at the floating crowd. “It’s just so interesting to watch how people dress here, in heavy Kanjeevaram silk saris, gold chains around their necks, and jasmine flowers on their hair,” he says, eyes scanning the interiors of the hotel.

The designers, who have been in the industry for over 22 years, have worked with Bollywood celebrities such Bipasha Basu, Kangana Ranaut and Lara Dutta.

Recalling their humble beginnings, Anjalee, in a white off-shoulder dress, says: “It was probably a year or so after our wedding... we decided to take the plunge and started our brand. We were so young, everyone around us was focussed on becoming a doctor or an engineer; not many had heard words such as ‘couture’… And, there were no competitors,” she smiles.

She is interrupted by another string of messages, so Arjun continues with a laugh, “We were in our early 20s when we decided to tie the knot. I spent nearly eight months just to decide what I was going to wear for the wedding, and only after that did we decide on the dates.”

It’s this innate passion for the right look that’s helping them sail in the industry even after two decades, they say. “A sense of style should come from within. I know there are umpteen number of fashion schools today, but fashion, I believe, is not something that can be learnt,” he says. “Like, now, I might sit here and see something really beautiful across that window, which 99.9 per cent of the people wouldn’t notice. That is because I breathe fashion, it is part of my being, our being,” he adds.

Anjalee keeps her mobile aside for a bit, and adds to the thought. “That is why we love travelling. We are inspired by the little things we see — a fading leaf, a building… For instance, when we took a trip to the Northwest of India, we saw the clothes the women of Rajasthan and Gujarat wore — with colour blocking and Kutch work. It’s just part of their everyday culture, but to a person from outside, it just seems so exotic. Seeing all this, we realised that Indian designs and craftsmanship, if packaged and presented to the world in an appealing way, will do great. And, that’s exactly what we are aiming at,” says Anjalee.

On the ramp, the models showcased gowns meant for wedding and pre-wedding occasions; for brides and friends of brides. The range includes gowns in pastel palettes and those in deeper shades of burgundy, red and fuchsia. “

This particular collection is called Persian Flora, and, as the name suggests, it is inspired from Persian handicrafts, carpets and shawls,” says Anjalee, who had gone on a trip to West Asia along with Arjun and their 15-year-old son a few years ago.

The visit planted an idea in her mind and Anjalee worked on it for over six months, deciding on the cuts and colours, keeping the current trend in mind.

“I fused the Persian designs with vintage English florals for a global appeal,” she says. The hottest trend, according to her, is the long trail at the back of the gowns and clean-cut silhouettes for blouses.

The designers, who retail their collection from stores in London, Hong Kong, New Delhi and Mumbai, are excited to showcase their new collection in the city, which they call a ‘virgin market’.

“I have come here a few times, and the professionalism here amazes me,” says Arjun. “It is a huge market for us, with youngsters being ready to experiment with new designers. It is a welcome change,” adds Anjalee, and leaves to check on the models. Arjun stays back to speak about the landmarks in Chennai, famous families, popular actors and actresses and politics, and so on.

He excuses himself to take a call, and says, “I’ve got to go. It’s my son; he can’t seem to decide what to wear for the show.” And then, Arjun leaves to do what he does best.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 3:03:46 AM |

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