Classic Indulgence

India’s top designer and Padma Shri Award Winner Ritu Kumar launches her new store on Lavelle Road. Shruti Menon drops in

 

 

“I remember this one,” says Ritu Kumar pointing at my favourite flowy white chiffon top with a sequined blue Indian motif on the front. I was wearing one of her designs (because when meeting Ritu Kumar, why not wear Ritu Kumar?) and I’m surprised she even remembers – I got this years ago, as a gift from my generous aunt.

Her new outlet showcases the Spring-Summer 2016 Collection for the brands Label and Ritu Kumar as well as the bridal line, Ri. The store is a stunning sight of georgettes, chanderis and cottons. Almost everyone at the launch is dressed in gorgeous dresses and palazzos, suits and saris created by the designer – fresh tones of apricot, rose and teal. The chic bags on the shelves reflect the mood of the collection – blending traditional craft with modern-day trends. The store found on the ground floor is part of a three-storeyed building known as The Guild that also houses art curator Renu George’s Time & Space Gallery, and Susanna Chandy Mathews’ home shopping brand Xanadu.

A LONG JOURNEY

Ritu’s aesthetic journey goes back to the late 1960s. It started with four hand-block printers and two tables, in a small village near Calcutta. Today her designs are worn by celebrities and royals (remember the late Princess Diana’s iconic blue salwar kameez worn on her trip to Lahore in the 1990s?). Ritu Kumar’s style is all about abiding by Indian roots but exploring contemporary designs. She is a revivalist and a strong believer in the power of Indian craftsmanship.

“We are one of the few indigenous, organically grown brands in the country. We started with crafts and embroidery and moved into bridal. The sub-brand, Label, is a symbol of new energy that caters to the young urban women. What you’re wearing in fact comes under the Label (boho-chic). When it comes to Label designs, the influences are global but its identity originates from Indian designs. I find that the aesthetics that we have within the country are very strong. We are actually a repertoire from where the whole world takes inspiration. So even within our own company I think we can extend to more casual and Western dressing,” says the designer.

From being seen as a ‘craft brand’, today ‘Ritu Kumar’ is a world oriented brand that’s becoming a stylist for an uber chic Indian lifestyle. Adds Ritu, “Today if you want to go to the club you’re not going to go in a sari, you’d pick a pair of palazzos or throw in a scarf… A part of our brand caters to the young ‘indie-Indian’ who doesn’t necessarily want to be bracketed in ‘Western Indian’ or any particular genre. This collection will help in mixing and matching where the colours are going to be ‘for India’ and the fabrics are going to be mostly handlooms and cottons.”SAI_2312

THE CLASSICS

While the brand continues to evolve, exploring new frontiers, the wedding collection remains timeless; how does Ritu Kumar cater to such a diverse bridal audience? “See, we don’t do Kanjeevaram; there’s someone who will do it much better. We do lehengas – some of them are inspired from Jaipur but traditionally they all have a feel of India. Now at one time, for Bengali weddings they used to wear that red sari and dupatta. Today the Bengali bride has many things to choose from – she could take any of this and that as well. So it’s not that we cater to the wedding. We make a collection and people will buy it if they like it.”

“I remember this one,” says Ritu Kumar pointing at my favourite flowy white chiffon top with a sequined blue Indian motif on the front. I was wearing one of her designs (because when meeting Ritu Kumar, why not wear Ritu Kumar?) and I’m surprised she even remembers – I got this years ago, as a gift from my generous aunt.SAI_2310

Her new outlet showcases the Spring-Summer 2016 Collection for the brands Label and Ritu Kumar as well as the bridal line, Ri. The store is a stunning sight of georgettes, chanderis and cottons. Almost everyone at the launch is dressed in gorgeous dresses and palazzos, suits and saris created by the designer – fresh tones of apricot, rose and teal. The chic bags on the shelves reflect the mood of the collection – blending traditional craft with modern-day trends. The store found on the ground floor is part of a three-storeyed building known as The Guild that also houses art curator Renu George’s Time & Space Gallery, and Susanna Chandy Mathews’ home shopping brand Xanadu.SAI_2265

A LONG JOURNEY

Ritu’s aesthetic journey goes back to the late 1960s. It started with four hand-block printers and two tables, in a small village near Calcutta. Today her designs are worn by celebrities and royals (remember the late Princess Diana’s iconic blue salwar kameez worn on her trip to Lahore in the 1990s?). Ritu Kumar’s style is all about abiding by Indian roots but exploring contemporary designs. She is a revivalist and a strong believer in the power of Indian craftsmanship.

“We are one of the few indigenous, organically grown brands in the country. We started with crafts and embroidery and moved into bridal. The sub-brand, Label, is a symbol of new energy that caters to the young urban women. What you’re wearing in fact comes under the Label (boho-chic). When it comes to Label designs, the influences are global but its identity originates from Indian designs. I find that the aesthetics that we have within the country are very strong. We are actually a repertoire from where the whole world takes inspiration. So even within our own company I think we can extend to more casual and Western dressing,” says the designer.

From being seen as a ‘craft brand’, today ‘Ritu Kumar’ is a world oriented brand that’s becoming a stylist for an uber chic Indian lifestyle. Adds Ritu, “Today if you want to go to the club you’re not going to go in a sari, you’d pick a pair of palazzos or throw in a scarf… A part of our brand caters to the young ‘indie-Indian’ who doesn’t necessarily want to be bracketed in ‘Western Indian’ or any particular genre. This collection will help in mixing and matching where the colours are going to be ‘for India’ and the fabrics are going to be mostly handlooms and cottons.”

Ritu Kumar has dressed some of the best across the world and believes that India has a lot to offer in terms of designs. “International audiences are dressed very boringly (laughs) so I think they are enjoying what we come up with. Rather than going for a LBD they should come here!” she declares. Ritu Kumar loves what the younger lot of celebs is doing with their style. “Kangana is very stylish and that other actress, what’s her name again, ah yes, Kalki. The new generation fashion is quite trendy!”

“Bangalore is very easy, very clubby. When it comes to traditional attire, they’re not stuck in a joint. They’re very open and fluid. Label is very popular in Bangalore. The young easy-going crowd seems to love the collection. It’s simple, you don’t have to invest time and energy – just pick a top and go for dinner! Also, the colours work very well for Bangaloreans and blend well with the climate. I’ve always liked Bangalore for its cosmopolitan mix.”

Check out Ritu Kumar’s latest collection at: #55, Lavelle Road, Bangalore
Call:  080 – 41120278 /
080 – 41120279

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s