Anju Modi sets the bride free with ankle-length lehengas, replaces reds with pomegranates, ivories with purple and pours the essence of her 32-year-long travels into a melting pot of cultures with an immersive show at ICW 2022.
By Asmita Aggarwal
When you are in the business of fashion for 32 years you have a treasure trove of ideas, experiences and snapshots of your invigorating travels. Then there comes a time when you want to relive those memories through the lens of a line aptly titled, “The road less travelled.” That’s just what veteran textile lover and design ace Anju Modi did. This year it is not just about celebrating India and its crafts, but she has dipped into international sojourns as well.
Staying in villages, learning crafts, embroidery and weaving techniques, travelling through tedious roads, savoring rocky terrains, has made Modi the designer she is today. “Some write poetry and others non-fiction, but I express the essence of my experiences through my collections,” she smiles.
Taking forward the philosophy of handloom, hand crafted and sustainable, three principles her brand is known for, woolen gauze, textured handlooms have been used innovatively this season to create draped saris, minus the heavy-duty embroidery with snatches of Kashmiri ek taar. Along with this are crochet (macrame) blouses, elegant borders boasting of a potpourri of different cultures. You can see Spanish skirts, German crop tops, Russian ethos, to Iceland, Assam and even Manappuram, moving away from her predictable Benarasis, and not foregoing the love for Khadi making it an interesting amalgamation.
“Luxury for me, is the freedom to choose what you want to do, and about comfort, not being bound to one-time wear, without looking for validation, but having the confidence to carry anything you believe in. It has nothing to do with wanting to buy a Rs 12 lakh phone or being able to afford it,” she says.
The mindset has seen a paradigm shift, with the focus on being happy and stress-free, whether it is an intimate or destination wedding and Modi’s couture values this meaningful thought. Therefore, the colour story is also different from her magnificent haldis even though her showstopper Aditi Rao Hydari adorned it, ivories to lesser reds, more aquas, pomegranate, aubergine and charcoals, reminding you of vast oceans and hills. And this justifies the saying, “if you travel enough, you will meet yourself”.
Modi has her pulse on what the younger generation aspires to own, non-weighty lehengas, ankle length, you don’t have to drag it around, teamed up with organza tops. “I think about what will look fun, effortless, yet beautiful,” she says. That’s why her pre-stitched slip-on saris, or jacket with saris and capes you can team up with body-hugging silhouettes allow you to feel relaxed even when you are dressed up!
Her showcasing was different from the usual seated fashion show, it was experimental like you view an exhibition, where you get to travel with the artist, in this case from Rocky Mountains, to the serene waters of the Dal Lake complete with the sound to the imposing hills. The hybrid collared capes, drape duppatas on sherwanis, raw silks exuding modesty, floral waistcoats and drapes dhotis, zardozi combined with lace, each piece had a unique dimension.