She was one of the first few Indian designers to showcase her collection at the Paris Fashion Week and the London Fashion Week, and is well-known for celebrating the country through her designs. Veteran designer Anamika Khanna says one can easily write a book on her journey in the fashion industry.
“The fashion industry has made me the person I am today. It has given me courage and taken me on a journey that one can write a book about! It will be tough to describe the ups and downs in such a small space, but I can easily say that every morning is a new high and a new challenge,” Khanna told IANS in an email interview from Mumbai.
Khanna will be back on the fashion runway of the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) with the forthcoming Summer-Resort 2018 edition, where she is the grand finale designer. She will showcase her line on February 4. The Lakme Absolute Grand Finale promises to bring together the best of Khanna’s contemporary designs interspersed with the diverse nude palette that Lakme will be introducing this season. She will have actress Kareena Kapoor Khan as the showstopper. What kept her away from the ramp in the past few seasons? Khanna said: “Doing a show at Lakme Fashion Week is always special. But sometimes it’s important to take a step back and think. That gives us the space to push fashion boundaries further.”
On the collection, she said it is difficult to define and put it any bracket. “It is very experimental, using couture techniques. The inspiration is the new millennials who are bold enough to wear their individuality on their sleeves. This time, the mix of materials is done, which has never been used before. A lot of fabric development and manipulation techniques are used.
“Using traditional zardozi in the most experimental ways and mixing various textile colours and print make each piece one-off. Not to forget, the collection is an interesting interpretation of Lakme’s theme of Reinventing Nudes,” she said.
Best known for her eponymous label, Khanna is much revered in the industry. Her philosophy is about innovation with the Indian style, while also keeping it relevant to the modern world. For instance, the dhoti pant, commonly accredited to her brand, is now accepted as a modern high waist trouser worn with a dupatta or the Indian skirt.
On how the Mumbai market has evolved over the years for designers, she said: “It is difficult to segregate Mumbai as a separate market. I think fashion and the market in the whole country are going through a huge change. On one side, you have the extreme bridal space and on the other there is the young, bold and experimental fashion. I feel the middle path is getting blurred; there is no such thing as safe fashion,” she said.
With Kareena being her showstopper, is she planning to do some Bollywood association with her brand soon? “Bollywood films is a different space. It needs the skin of costume design and more than fashion; it needs to relate to the script. It’s not like we have shied away fully, but we are into fashion for the industry,” Khanna said, adding that there are expansion plans for her brand in the near future.