August 2, 2013 Asmita Aggarwal

India Inc

Maharashtrian and South Indian saris get a fresh twist, with belts and drapes, as old flower prints leave an unforgettable fragrance

There are two distinct loves in Anamika Khanna’s life—-the dhoti drape and the cape. And this time too, both resurfaced, albeit with a twist. The dhoti was actually a take off from the Maharashtrian sari, so the inspiration for the jewel of Kolkata, Ana comes from diverse parts of India. The Mohawks too were versions of the maang tikka, but they were given a gothic, punk avatar by Ana, taking India to a global level. “I like women to feel sensuous and I am in that phase where I love the comfort a cape or dhoti has to offer. I also am a believer in the philosophy that even if you have a great body, a bit of an oversized garment will only enhance your sex appeal, rather than a tight, uncomfortable dress,” she says.

The dull gold fabric that Ana developed was zari ka kaam on georgette, so it was laborious, intense and took a lot of time to develop and texture. “I don’t like the whole shiny look, it is too crass, dull gold is glamorous and subtle,” she explains. Interestingly, there weren’t many lehengas or saris in Ana’s line, as her bride is the one who likes to think beyond these wedding regulars.

The high collar, Victorian style is enjoying its moment in the spotlight; Ana gave it a scalloped twist, by using thin cords of fabric to accentuate the appeal of her structured jackets. “Some of my jackets came with peplum, others with pearls encrusted and what I loved the most were old flower prints that were like a warm blanket on a cold, rainy day,” she says.

The shararas were toned down, made tighter, sharper by Ana, who believes volume makes it uneasy for many women, but hers can be passed off as trousers. And there was mul-mul as well as woven chanderi too, buttery soft and brilliantly executed, like the white sari that Noyonika wore with a purple shawl. “The shawl was one that I had got from Uzbekistan, on one of my many travels, we tried to reinterpret the embroidery and its raw appeal,” she says.

Ana wowed with her cowl necks, zardosi collars, embroidered waists of saris, lace edges on net dupattas, bare backs, in a pleasing palette except for a few splashes of tangerines, purples and mango yellows. “I wanted to tell my story, even though my collection had no name, (I don’t like labeling things), in lace, chikankari, pearls and zardosi,” she adds.

From Maharashtra, Ana travelled to the Southern tip, by giving the South Indian sari a cool makeover, that’s where the sari with belts came in. “South Indians have a rich culture, and their whites are so stunning that I had to use them somewhere,” she confesses.

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