ELLE Exclusive: Anavila’s New Collection ÉTÉ Is A Wondrous Cross-Pollination Of Tamil & French Cultures


When it comes to celebrating Indian intricacies laced with a worldly narrative, Anavila knows best. The conscious designer’s revivalist sensibilities find solace in quiet luxury and this season, she’s back with a summer collection reverberating this sprit. Titled ‘ÉTÉ,’ Anavila’s take on the concordance of Tamil and French sensibilities is an endeavour to deliberately capture the creative harmony amidst us.

She’s focused on Pondicherry, where the perfume of roses blends seamlessly with the aroma of French coffee. Think colonial structures with open windows draped in soft flowy tapestries, and a woman engrossed in thoughts with her crochet needles – that’s what the moodboard is like.

Keep reading for our conversation with the designer where she discusses all things inspiration, visual identity and the challenges faced while amalgamating the two cultures.


ELLE: A Franco-Tamil mélange? Sounds very intriguing. What inspired you to explore something so unique yet seemingly complementary?

Anavila Misra: This collection is inspired by my fascination with cross-breeding and intermingling of cultures. For example, most of the metro cities around the world have a similar lifestyle, here people have moved from different parts of the world to create new homes and environments for themselves. You look and observe around you and you see how newness has entered slowly and smoothly in these places. This is more evident in smaller towns and laid-back cities which were inhabited or ruled by foreigners.

Places like Pondicherry, Goa, and Shimla have unique cultures that are a seamless blend of elements of both native and foreign traditions and lifestyles. It’s difficult to filter identities in these places and that makes them so charming. I have been to Pondicherry long back and it left a mark on me. When I was exploring the idea of newness it was my obvious choice for many reasons.

ELLE: The visual storytelling for this collection is very potent and inviting to the viewer. Was it something you intended to do since the word go, or something that took shape eventually?

Anavila Misra: We were very clear about the narrative of this collection. The actual storytelling was created when I shared my vision with Daniel Franklin, our stylist on board for the campaign and the idea of portraits emerged. Portraits carry so much information about culture and fashion and are true reflections of time. Pranoy Sarkar created a visual world that is just spectacular through direction and photography. Our models were carefully chosen and each one of them lives the part.

ELLE: Could you take us through the silhouettes, colour palettes and surface ornamentation utilised in this collection?

Anavila Misra: Our emphasis on saris is strong in this collection. From soft checkered saris with missing dents that are inspired by madras checks to hand appliqué and embroidered saris which will bring alive the French sophistication to hand block printed roses of different sizes and shapes that take you to the charm of old rosariums.

The garments are an interlude of French sophistication and charm of soft breathable Indian textiles like Khadi that have a cue in the much-desired muslin of the bygone eras. We have used laces, appliqué, embroideries, and block prints with pin-tuck details scattered across the collection. The floral jackets and blouses have my heart.

ELLE: What challenges did you face when trying to marry both French and Tamil influences seamlessly?

Anavila Misra: There was a lot of research and referencing done both at the time when French trading companies entered Pondicherry and the current time. The challenge did come in the way of how to marry elements we gathered through our research in the form of one idea and image. And luckily for us rose became that element and thereon the direction for the collection became easy.


ELLE: If your collection would be a movie, which one would it be and why?

Anavila Misra: The collection would be Emma, as a movie, a romantic story written by one of the best women writers, Jane Austen. Capturing the mix of colours, the softness of the light, the naiveness of the story, the femininity of the characters, the tasteful grandness of the regency era, and most importantly handcrafted fashion being an integral part of life. The collection is a story with nuances of romance, drama full of lush scenery and beautiful background, and a country setting that is both charming and attractive.

Also Read: 4 Labour Laws Everyone In The Fashion & Manufacturing Industry Must Be Abreast With

- Digital Fashion Writer


Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content