Gorgeous lehengas. Modern kurtas with capes. Saris that are minimal, yet grand. Contemporary Indian wear is an identity that Arpita Mehta proudly associates with. Standing at the end of a decade in the industry, the designer is nostalgic but excited about what’s to come. We sat down with her for a chat about her new Coffee Table Book, The Mirror (we’ve got some great photos), the trends she’s loved in the last ten years, and her plans for the future. Excerpts:
ELLE: It’s been ten years in the industry. How do you feel?
Arpita Mehta (AM): Such mixed emotions. I am overwhelmed with all that we’ve done as a brand, and I feel emotional about all the love we’ve received. I am also extremely excited about all the things that we have lined up, and the countless years ahead of us. It’s a great feeling to be at this stage right now.
ELLE: Looking back on your journey, what have been some of the things you’ve been proud of achieving?
AM: I feel that the one thing that really stands out is that we’ve been able to achieve a very unique identity in the industry. I feel like that is a major achievement for us as it takes a lot of time and consistency to get there; today I can proudly say that anyone can spot an Arpita Mehta outfit amongst a hundred other outfits.
ELLE: What have been some of your most significant learnings?
AM: To be honest, I am constantly learning. Each day brings with it a new challenge, new ideas we’d like to work with. But a few things that come to my mind is that one, be consistent in what you do. Never give up. And secondly, make sure you have a good team of people working with you. Teamwork truly makes the dream work.
ELLE: What are some of the trends you enjoyed working on in the past decade?
AM: I think one of the biggest trends that I’ve enjoyed working with it, making Indian wear contemporary and giving it a fresher look. Be it a kurta, or a kaftan or even a lehenga. We’ve made it more wearable rather than being over the top. While it’s still grand in terms of the embroidery or the silhouette, we’ve also made it minimal, and also added a new styling element to these things. As a brand, we intend to keep doing that.
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ELLE: Tell us about your coffee table book, The Mirror. What was the thought process behind the idea of bringing together some iconic names from the entertainment industry?
AM: I am someone who finds good visuals very exciting. I love campaigns, ideas and editorials with beautiful images, which is why I’ve always loved the idea of coffee table books, and I always wanted to make one. The timing couldn’t have been better, and the women featured are some of the most beautiful women in our industry. They’ve always supported the brand, and I am extremely grateful for that. The book is a representation of the many moods of our brand, over the years. This is very special to me, and it’s going to be a part of my life, forever!
ELLE: What are some of the timeless trends in the industry?
AM: Keeping India’s seasons in mind, I feel that there have been two silhouettes that have sort of been classics. One is the sari; it’s been around forever, and it’s not going anywhere. And the second is the lehenga. The moment you think about a wedding, that’s the first silhouette that comes to mind; a skirt, a blouse and a dupatta. It’s extremely flattering on the Indian body, and the best part is that you can do whatever you want with it – dress it up, keep it low key!
The Mirror by Arpita Mehta
ELLE: Three homegrown designers, you are currently loving?
AM: The three brands that I shop a lot from are Bhaane (they have the coolest Indian street style clothing), Outhouse and Misho (their designs are beautiful) and Raw Mango (I love their aesthetic).
ELLE: Tell us about your plan for the next ten years… how are you going to be coping with the demands of the new normal.
AM: I feel that the one thing that 2020 has taught us is that you can’t really plan for the next ten years; you never know what will happen. However, what I can tell you is that we plan to treat the brand in a more wholesome way, as a bigger entity and open more stores in India and then go international in the next decade.