September 23, 2020 Asmita Aggarwal

Lady in Red

Fiery, passionate and auspicious, sindoori red finds metaphorical meanings in Anju Modi’s ICW line, marinated in tradition

By Asmita Aggarwal

The one realisation dawned on most during the lockdown, is how life has really slowed down, and survival of the fittest, is an adage that really fits humankind. With less production, fewer orders, the fashion world is coming to terms with the new reality, and keeping this predominant emotion in mind, Anju Modi’s film for ICW, in association with Hindustan Times, tugs at your heartstrings.

Being a veteran in the design sphere, she is the first one to embrace the new format, with open arms, and calls “straight ramp walk” obsolete. “It will be invigorating to present couture in an explored manner. I see so many young people glued to Netflix and Amazon, OTT platforms; seeing a film will be something they will both appreciate and revel in. Thus, this becomes an engaging way to communicate,” she smiles.

If the world is moving towards simple and classic, Anju, has been the sacred caretaker of this space, and is not surprised that austerity is the need of the hour. She never believed in either bling or fantasy, lived in the “real world”: as she calls it, and her clients appreciated this rooted aesthetic.

“What brides want now is reusability and a certain amount of restraint, earlier she had to ‘shine’ on stage, in a small gathering, you really can’t be dressed ostentatiously; hence, the return to elegance and classics. Many have also realised, in the last few months, there is no need for a feverish run to the finish line, as that line is now blurred and have crazy schedules, it is meaningless,” says Anju. Interestingly, she adds, people have bought way too much and they actually wear too little, this consumerism has put a heavy weight on the eco-system almost making it collapse. “This in many ways is a wake-up call,” she asserts.

With the ICW line she has gone back to the vivaciousness of ‘red’, sindoori red, which exemplifies the need for auspiciousness, and is a metaphor for positive energy. “If you see our traditions, we put a red tikka on the forehead, or even sindoor, which symbolises new beginnings, pressing the chakras, as a mark that the woman entering the house is going to be the creator of a new family,” she explains.

The highlight is the hue, as there are not going to be glamorous parties, or massive gatherings, marriage is now a holistic affair, a union of two like-minded souls. “Just because we don’t show gowns, it doesn’t mean, the line is not modern, we have referenced history and culture, through the prism of vegetable dyes and textiles. A collection of Pashminas, Kimkhab to Chanderis and Banerasis, I have worked with for the last 30 years will find a place of pride in my repertoire, this year too,” she explains.

Anju reiterates, the young generation must experiment with the beauty of woven fabrics and the timelessness they offer. With the frills gone around weddings, and no expenditure on luxe cards, decor, multiple cuisines, or managing 1,000 guests, people are relieved, she laughs and now wants toned down looks that befit the occasion. “My film is about a girl who goes to her ancestral home, and discovers the treasures in her grandmother’s closet, which are still relevant and soaked in yesteryear crafts. I have always believed in draping ingenuously, as it adds X-factor to clothing, which again you can see. As a designer, it is as important to keep our past alive, as it is to look forward, as the past often becomes the present,” she concludes.

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