Anita Dongre started her journey in high fashion in 1998, and her unique, sincere designs have made her a strong presence within the Indian fashion circuit, especially when it comes to wedding and bridal couture. Her signature style represents the modern Indian woman who is stylish, yet true to her roots. This shows in the contemporary-cum-traditional craftsmanship of her designs. Her lehengas and anarkalis are to die for, so let’s take a look at this craftsman’s creations from 2013-2014.
The year that was: 2013
Anita’s designs are strongly inspired by her native roots, and this was quite apparent in her exquisite collection for the Lakme Fashion Week 2013 Winter/Festive, titled ‘The Jaipur Bride’. It showcased the modern Indian bride in a chic, yet traditional avatar. The theme of the collection was the use of authentic, intricate Jaipuri ‘gotta patti’ embroidery, which adorned the regal anarkalis, exquisite lehengas, and even the chic cocktail gowns. There were ensembles in white and gold, pastel greens, neon pinks and oranges, vibrant blues, and they were all blended into this one collection symbolic of Anita’s interpretation of the modern Indian wedding, which is colourful, yet classy and tasteful. Palazzo pants, stylized lungi pants and loosely draped maxi dresses provided a fun element and are sure to be eye-catchers in the coming wedding seasons.
Another highlight of the show was the music by artist Sona Mahapatra. Her beautiful renditions of thumri, sufi and other folk music fused with a rock, contemporary edge complimented the theme of the show perfectly. This one truly was a crowd pleaser.
Looking ahead: 2014
Anita’s brand is expanding on a global level everyday, and she has surely kept busy this 2014 as well. Her Spring/Summer collection keeps true to what is normally relatable to the summer, such as pastels; whites; loose, flowy lines; and so forth.Celebrating the season, her ‘Sonnets of Spring’ collection is characterised by gorgeous digital and geometric prints in soft, pastel hues. You will also find kaftans, anarkalis, tunics, shift dresses, fitted trousers and elegant eveningwear in this collection, in summer-friendly fabrics such as mal, georgette, chiffon, linen and cotton. Along with this, she has also come up with a line of menswear, which includes classic linen shirts, shirts with digital prints, bandis, deconstructed and half-lined linen blazers, casual linen jodhpuris dipped in hues of aqua, coral, light pink, white and blue. So you can look forward to some clean cuts, patterns and colours for a truly spectacular summer/spring wedding.
Anita’s fashion brands, AND and Global Desi, are two of the most popular ones currently trending the nation. The brands aim at striking a balance between designer wear that is priced exorbitantly and mass market produce that is cheap and commonplace, and creating good-quality, high-fashion clothes that are affordable, yet stylish and unique. This concept has been so well received that expansion plans for her brands are already underway. She successfully launched Global Desi in Mauritius just last year. Well, we hope she launches many more stores this 2014 and wows the rest of the world with her designs as well!
Along with being an ace designer, Anita is also a conscious and responsible public figure. She has contributed to different areas of Indian society with her influence and reach. She is a vegan and an active member of PETA, where she has been in the forefront in the fight for animal rights.
Women empowerment is a cause she truly believes in and has done a great deal for. She is known for employing artisans in Rajasthan to create handcrafted materials for her creations, which is helping to revive and preserve several dying art forms in India. This is also helping to generate employment for a sector that has been fading out since the Industrial revolution. Mijwan is a village in UP that specializes in Chikankari; in association with actor Shabana Azmi, Anita supports the women of this village by commissioning Chikankari work from them, which she uses in her designs. She also contributes to a social organization run by Mana Shetty that provides livelihood to economically backward women with the help of the waste material provided by fashion designers.
While all these achievements are already medals on her chest, Anita was also presented with an award for ‘Excellence in Fashion Design’ by The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Ladies Organization, Bombay Chapter in 2013. We could go on about the honors and recognitions that she has received, but what is remarkable is that in whichever contribution she has made to Indian society, be it through her designs, charity or philanthropy, it’s her heart and sincerity that really shine through. We applaud this maestro and look forward to her innovations in future as well.