Adarsh Gill, is showing her RTW line for the first time at the Amazon India Fashion Week, celebrating the 50s with billowy waists and the era when Monsieur Dior introduced the ‘New Look’
By Asmita Aggarwal
She has dressed the likes of the former first lady of the United States of America Jackie Onassis, but Adarsh Gill, probably in my career spanning 25 years is the only interviewee who tells me, after a 15-minute chat, “Can I go now?” And that immediately puts a smile on my face. She is a legend in her own right, as, at a time when women were encouraged to be homemakers, Adarsh was flying to New York in the mid-70s to study, of all the things, fashion by her industrialist father, who ran lucrative textile mills.
Adarsh after a two-year course, had her first show at the age of 25, and then as they say there was no looking back! Now after many, many years, she is doing a show of her ready-to-wear line, which she launched two years back. “It has a bit of the 50s,” she says in her characteristic husky voice, I’m, guessing sitting on a chaise at her beautiful home on Rajesh Pilot Marg, with bay windows and a lush green lawn. “It has the rustle of organza and the fluidity of georgette, along with lace and I would call it modern and wearable,” she adds. The look she insists is feminine and admits she has used detailing more than embroidery, as it is, after all, a pret line.
Adarsh made a huge name for herself in New York, in the 80s and 90s having worked with some of the best ateliers from Versace, Armani to Gaultier, creating stunning embroideries for them and moving amongst the most fashionable in Manhattan. “Fashion everyone says is looking for something new, but the same looks keep coming back in a different packaging,” she smiles.
Even though design is more global now, Adarsh feels there is a perceptible change, and women in villages are wearing jeans thanks to the advent of television and increasing media influence. And for the evening women like to wear gowns, which was unheard of at least in the Indian milieu, till a few years ago.
“I believe you should wear what suits you and your body, not what everyone else tells you is fashionable, as you may not be able to carry it. You needn’t dress in boxy silhouettes because the world is doing so, you should do it because it flatters your form. A lot of women come wearing something that doesn’t suit them to me, and I want to yell, ‘no, no, it’s not you’ to them and I do lose clients. Sometimes they just don’t want to listen to you,” she tells you in her brutally honest, matter-of-fact style.
But therein lies the charm of Adarsh, she has reached a stage where she has stopped worrying about what people think and concentrates on what she really wants to do, that’s why the silverware and furniture line that she offers with one-of-a-kind pieces is about unadulterated opulence. That’s what makes her such a great admirer of veterans like Karl Lagerfeld, who she considers a genius who has resurrected the fashion house Chanel. “I think Japanese designers like Yohji Yamamoto are great, but I am an admirer of French style, how they play with just fabric, how they manipulate it always keeping it simple and yet so impactful….tres chic,” she admits.
Interestingly, many Indian designers have left their handprints on the international map, but Adarsh believes that if they want to make inroads, they need to “mingle with Europeans understand their culture, only then will they understand what they truly want. I think it will take another ten years to make Indian fashion global”.
What surprises Adarsh, who also boasts of a wardrobe that could belong to a queen with some of the rarest vintage bags and jewellery, is the gargantuan rise of social media and its impact on the economy and well-being of individuals. “Social media is good for commercialising your business as the whole world gets to see what you are doing and everyone instantly gets to know you, so it works well for most people. But it has its downside too and those are way more than the advantages it offers. But who knows maybe I am a traditionalist?” she laughs.