Nature often plays muse to artists. And we can see why. There’s rarely anything we know that has a palette as vibrant, textures this rich and amazing and designs that go beyond what we can imagine. Anita Dongre’s latest collection, Paradise Found, has nature and its bounty at its heart and it draws from the many gorgeous things that she has to offer. We caught up with Anita Dongre for a chat about this Spring/Summer 2022 collection and how she’s translated the nature’s motifs into this bridal and occasion-wear edit.
ELLE: Nature has been a constant source of inspiration in all your collections – how have you managed to interpret it differently, this time around?
Anita Dongre: Nature is a generous muse, she is different every millisecond- every sunrise is different, every snowflake unique, and every leaf without a twin. With every collection I hope to bring to life one moment spent surrounded by her bounty and in this one I draw from nature’s transience- her ability to go on through the process of creation while our lives have slowed down. In Paradise Found, I’m celebrating the spirit of all living beings and their interconnectedness in Nature’s intricately designed plans.
ELLE: ‘Paradise Found’ the collection is a contemporary-chic line for the new-age bride, has the are over-the-top heavy ensembles officially out of trend?
Anita Dongre: I have always designed for the 21st century Indian bride who is looking to dance at her own wedding and enjoy her day, this person is looking for bridalwear that expresses who she is on her special day. Intricate embroidery and prints on detailed fabrics bring this vision to life. Especially in a summer collection I like for my brides to enjoy easy breezy styles that are high on glamour and easy to enjoy her day in.
ELLE: This collection is more dominant towards prints as compared to embroidery-based surface treatment – what lead to this refreshing departure?
Anita Dongre: For us prints have been an integral part of every collection whether it’s the handblock prints we do with the artisans or the easy breezy digital prints that we create. In Paradise Found I wanted to pays homage to the cycles of nature, and the interconnectedness of all living beings. From leaves and flowers to birds with their gorgeous plumes, I wanted the motifs and detailing to reflect the richness and innate joy of flora and fauna- what better way to do that with these summery prints. The collection also features some cheerful applique that extends this feeling of joy and celebration.
ELLE: As a designer you’ve always been a sustainability advocate, what advice would you give to the brides-to-be while shopping for their trousseau?
Anita Dongre: Brides these days are savvy- they know exactly what they want and they care about whom their purchases support. I always suggest to pick clothes that you will love and re-wear. Pick ensembles that really put your personality out there and let you break up the pieces to fit into your life. Being able to re-wear your bridal pieces again and again instead of sitting in a box is a major sustainability move.
ELLE: Has the pandemic changed your approach towards fashion?
Anita Dongre: I think the pandemic has reminded me what a joy the celebration of a wedding is. Through the last two years weddings have become more intimate and more thought through with everybody involved. Even during the worst, couples would dress up in their bridal clothing and have pictures taken of their special moment surrounded by just their parents- the clothes mattered and symbolised a special union. Every wedding is hope for the future and joy in love- I think the pandemic only reinforced that for me and reminded me of why the work we do matters.