Rimzim Dadu deconstructs zari and infuses it with raw energy as the girl from Rajasthan views colour through the canvas of the magnificent havelis boasting of a melange of gold, silver and an era of decadence
By Asmita Aggarwal
Her name means drizzle and the surname comes from a 100-year-old saint that her Rajasthan-based family used to believe in. So Rimzim Dadu, who grew up among fabrics and textiles, being born into a family of exporters, never thought about anything other than fashion, and Pearl Academy seemed like a good option.
In 2006, when she graduated, she admits she was idealistic and viewed the world through rose-tinted glasses. “I was clear that textures and surfaces are what I want to explore and was conscious about what I wanted my label’s identity to be. Every industry has its own pressures and mine not being a mainstream aesthetic was often not understood. But I didn’t dilute it, and stuck to what I wanted to do,” she smiles.
Opening the AIFW SS’18, she confesses acrylic, paper, metal and steel have been loyal companions as she completes 11 years of her label, this year. “I don’t really buy fashion magazines or follow my contemporaries work, so in a way, I live in a bubble of my own making. This helps me retain the purity of my work. But I do tweak it based on how the audience responds to it. Also, I have learnt to make things softer and more approachable. Though I have admired Raf Simons, and the label Preen (London-based duo Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi) as well as Alexander McQueen and everything that he stood for,” she says.
The problem she finds in the Indian media is lack of awareness, and also their willingness to accept mediocrity. “Good design, if it is not worn by a celebrity or Bollywood star somewhere gets lost in the crowd of beautiful and famous faces. Like a lot of people congratulated me for opening AIFW and couldn’t believe that a young designer would get this opportunity because it is a spot generally reserved for veterans. Also, I am tiny so people think I am rather young,” she giggles.
SS’18 is a tribute to zari, but in Dadu’s rather “twisted” way! She has been a devotee of cord work, and deconstruction, both of which have been effectively used in her line. “I have tried to construct zari in an unexpected way, shredding the surface and removed it shiny avatar and added a grunge and raw feel to it,” she confesses.
Interestingly, how Dadu found internet acclaim was thanks to her steel wire sari that she structured into something super soft and extra fluid after several “treatments”. “I have reinterpreted zari, steel wires, resham, changing the narrative completely in the 25 pieces I showcased,” she says.
Admitting to being her biggest critic, Dadu believes clothes should be classic and timeless and not seasonal, plus, design should solve a problem and offer, above all, functionality. “The wearer must feel connected to the outfit, otherwise it all seems meaningless. I know that my strength lies in my surfaces and my weakness is my silhouettes, even though there are myriad in this line —- dresses to saris,” she affirms.
If she wasn’t a designer she would certainly be doing something in films or would have been a chef. Though, the petite girl with an iron will is not one to stop at clothes. She is collaborating with Paul Matter, a lighting company, to create a line of sculptural shapes to be released early next year. “Nikhil Paul of the studio saw and liked my work, though it has been so exciting to look at patterns through the prism of illumination,” she concludes.