Anita Dongre goes back to the ‘grassroots’ for WIFW

October 17th, 2008 - 11:48 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) Mumbai-based designer Anita Dongre, who is credited with having created the country’s first organic clothes line last year, is showcasing an extended version of that collection at the ongoing Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) here. Dongre’s clothes are made of eco-friendly fibres, textiles and natural dyes. While the Grassroots haute couture collection - an extension of last year’s line of the same name - features unique clothes like bamboo jackets, she also has a new pret collection called Inter Pret.

“Inter Pret is my new line of simple off-the-rack clothes - mostly tunics, kurta tops, dresses, linen shirts, dhoti pants - for the contemporary Indian woman. It has no bling, but is full of colour. I have used bright colours like yellow, indigo, blue, red and dark green,” Dongre told IANS at the trial session of her outfits Wednesday.

“I have created an entire line in Indigo, a carry over from last year. The cuts are straight and minimalist to suit my spring-summer styles,” she added.

Inter Pret relies on traditional dyeing techniques like bandhani, leheriya and block prints from Rajasthan. The clothes, dyed with natural vegetable colours, are embellished with chikankari embroidery from Lucknow.

“This time, I commissioned a special variety of crushed georgette for my clothes with cotton and silk blends. I have used it extensively for my Inter Pret collections. The idea is you can crush a dress, stuff it into a duffel bag, unpack it and wear it again without ironing it.

“The silk gives it the sheen and cotton the comfort. I had the modern working woman - someone like myself who travels a lot - in mind when I created the crushed look,” Dongre said.

Dongre’s clothes, which will be showcased at the WIFW Oct 18, are priced between Rs.3,000 and Rs.10,000.

“Ethical fashion is yet to catch up in India unlike the West. But there’s a growing awareness in the metros. Very few designers make organic clothes. I only know of Wendell Rodrigues, who uses eco-friendly fibres,” she said.

The designer is popular in Bollywood and her clothes are worn by stars like Raveena Tandon, Mallika Sherawat, Isha Koppikar, Urmila Matondkar and Shabana Azmi.

“I usually don’t design their clothes on the sets, I do their personal wardrobes,” Dongre said.

However, she breached her code for old friend Shabana. “Shabana loves my ethnic salwar-kurtas and she picks them from my stores. I collaborated with her on clothes in her last movie ‘Sorry Bhai’.”

Dongre first shot into limelight with her label And, which retails across 25 locations in the country. A few years ago, she launched her signature prêt line Anita Dongre - a cache of luxury contemporary Western wear in limited editions for Indian women.

It was followed by a luxury Indian label called Anita Dongre Indian Soul, which used traditional weaves and silks from master weavers across the country to rustle up styles that could be passed down the generations.

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