Ridhi Mehra’s recent campaign honours the legendary models synonymous with India’s fashion stratosphere, and is titled The Icons. The Autumn Winter 2023 campaign stars some of the most recognisable and illustrious names in modelling, drawing inspiration from their confidence and charisma. Featuring Indrani Dasgupta, Ujjwala Raut, Carol Gracias, Archana Akil Kumar and Kanishtha Dhankhar, Ridhi Mehra’s exquisite sensibilities now find a home and purpose in capturing the essence of the feminine form through this couture lineup. Helmed by Gautam Kalra on the styling and creative direction front, the entirety of this presentation is indeed a homecoming of sorts. In a freewheeling chat with ELLE India, the designer gives us an insight into the inspiration and making of this collection.
ELLE: What made you come up with this idea of the ‘supermodel theme?’
Ridhi Mehra (RM): From the time I started designing, I remember models played the perfect muse for designers and editors in the fashion industry. Season after season, we saw the glamorous and legendary faces in modelling own the industry and editorial covers with their incredible catwalk and runway prowess. However, over the years, the supermodel era sadly got lost in India. I truly believe that Indrani Dasgupta, Ujjwala Raut, Carol Gracias, Archana Akil Kumar and Kanistha put India on the global map and the ICONS AW 23 campaign is an ode to the OG Showstoppers.
For me, these five women are the epitome of strength, grace, perseverance and extraordinary talent. Each one of them have proved their mettle in their respective modelling career and have paved the path for aspiring models. I believe this is a collection second, and a promise first, ICONS is made to inspire and delight; it’s a tribute, a serenade to the eternal phenomenon called feminine grace.
ELLE: Take us through the inspiration, cuts, colours, and silhouettes utilised in the collection.
RM: The vision for ICONS AW 23 campaign was to keep it classic and the iconic divas of fashion were my inspiration for the collection. Every silhouette, cut and colour resonates with their style quotient. The collection beautifully blends their style with our design sensibilities and forms a collection that celebrates the campaign’s vision. The primary colour palette for this collection was black, the ever-classic ivory, glistening gold, and champagne.
The silhouettes are very understated and we tried keeping the outfits indo-western by incorporating a very smart and chic pant-suit, dramatic capes paired with low cut blouses, stylised backs, and flares, our signature pre-draped sarees with bespoke blouses and played around with organza shirts. We have embodied a lot of different artisanal elements in this collection from 3D flowers to very intricately detailed tassels. For this collection we designed smarter contemporary indo-western silhouettes as opposed to going super ethnic.
ELLE: Describe your collection in three words.
RM: Classic, Opulent, Iconic.
ELLE: Designers usually bank on the celebrity appeal factor to market their collections, quite often devaluing models and their contribution to the fashion industry. In which ways do you think this unique perspective of yours will usher in a new era?
RM: Even though celebrities are being highlighted more because of their reach, I don’t think models are devalued. They still play an integral part in the fashion industry and are being hired for the runway shows, campaigns, brands and editorial shoots. If we look back, a lot of celebrities today have at some point in their lives walked the ramp as models. Yes, I agree that models don’t receive the same amount of recognition as celebrities do, but I am hopeful that times are changing, and ICONS AW 23 by Ridhi Mehra is one positive step forward in that direction.
ELLE: What’s next for the brand Ridhi Mehra?
RM: We recently opened a flagship store in the heart of Hyderabad – Banjara Hills. A lot of exciting things are planned for the coming year and I can’t wait to show you what we have in store.