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Our very own ace fashion designer Ritu Kumar was born in Amritsar in 1944, but lack of educational opportunities forced her to move to Shimla for her schooling, where she attended Loreto Convent. She later studied at the reputed Lady Irwin College, where she met and married Shashi Kumar, and then went on to accept a scholarship at Briarcliff College in New York, where she studied Art History. After returning to India, she studied museology at the Asutosh Museum of Indian Art, part of the University of Calcutta.Kumar began her fashion business in Kolkata, using the very minimal two small tables and hand-block printing techniques. Starting her career with bridal wear and evening clothes in the 1960s and 70s, she eventually moved into the international market in the next two decades. Besides opening shops in India, Kumar's company has also opened branches in Paris, London and New York. In 2002 she launched the "Label" line in partnership with her son Amrish. In 2013 she was honored with the Padma Shri award by the Government of India. Kumar's designs primary focus is on natural fabrics and traditional printing and weaving techniques. She has also included Western elements in her work, but has generally not gone beyond traditional sari designs. Her clothes have adorned celebrities such as Princess Diana, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, Deepika Padukone, Madhuri Dixit , Madhur Jaffrey, Kalki Koechlin, Dia Mirza, Soha Ali Khan and Jemima Goldsmith.
Ritu Kumar as a brand has been admired and worn by celebrities all over the world. Since 1994, Ritu Kumar has designed the wardrobes for the Miss India contestants for their participation in international beauty pageants such as Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Asia Pacific. A considerable number of winners have emerged from amongst these contestants putting India on the beauty map. Ritu in 1999 published a book called “Costumes and Textiles of Royal India” which lists the history of textiles and art design in India. Ritu has also won numerous awards such as the ‘Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award’ for her outstanding contribution in the field of fashion. She has also been bestowed with such prestigious award such as “Chevalier des arts et des lettres” by the French government. Most recently, she was felicitated with the Achievement Award at the Loreal Paris Femina Women’s Awards. Ritu Kumar, has also been awarded the Padma Shri Award in 2013, the country's fourth highest civilian award for her exceptional service in the field of fashion, textile and craftsmanship.
Among the new generation of fashion designers, Ms. Aki Narula has effectively carved a niche for himself in this fast paced industry. His brand label "AKI" was launched in 1996. Comfortable in creating both Indian and western designs, for men and women alike, Aki has registered his place in some of the most premium stores throughout India, within a short span of time. His clothes embody a modest look, with the variation of texture and drape. His versatility and creative flair has earned him a prominent place. Aki Narula always added his distinct touch to clothes that his mom bought for him and eventually he grew into a personal stylist for his friends and family. He started his in house training with a tailor that used to visit his house everyday and converted his sketches to costumes. Aki Narula participated in a costume designing contest organized by Damania Airlines and won the contest from Kolkata. He was approached by Taj Bengal’s The Khazana store to design a line of men’s Kurta Pyjamas. He later also designed for ‘Ogaan’, Delhi and he quit from his Cost Accountancy program. He then started with a team of three, a master and two tailors and launched his label AKI. Aki’s first show was with ‘Melange’ that took place at Mumbai at Opera House featuring an all out women wear collection. Within a span of one year, AKI began retailing in the biggest stores in India including Ensemble, Melange, Camelot, Ogaan etc and Aki Narula finally moved to New Delhi where he set up his workshop and consolidated his team his team which consists of twenty five members. He received an overwhelming response for his collection which showcased at the Lakme India Fashion Week, 2000. Aki Narula started designing for Bollywood films starting with Monsoon Wedding, Dil Chahta Hai and Dubai Return. Aki Narula’s designs were featured in the opening sequence of the Miss India Beauty Pageant, 2002 and he was immediately appointed as the Design Director at Sheetal Design Studio for which he designs under the label Aki Narula for SDS. His debut collection for Sheetal, ‘Man Unbound’ was a huge success and he was categorized as one of the leading Indian designers with his designs being sold at high end outlets in India as well as abroad like 1 M.G. Road, You Grasshopper, Ensemble, Zingara at Cannes and St. Tropez and SDS.
Ms. Anamika Khanna is one of the shining stars of the fashion industry who has made a breakthrough without any formal training. She began her fashion quest in 1995 with her label ‘Anamika Khanna’ and created designs that started off trends in the world of fashion. The driving force of Anamika Khanna are her philosophy in fashion and a perception of enhancing individuality, with an impulse of adding special essence in designs. Her designs portray the crafts and techniques of India, encapsulated in a global appeal.
Ms. Khanna has stormed into the fashion world with a view to achieve some little success, with her modest dreams in Kolkata, but somebody who is as talented as Anamika could not help being noticed. Her exquisite designs soon became very popular and bestowed her international acclaim, thus enabling her to be the first Indian designer with Manish Arora to showcase her designs in 2007 Paris fashion week. Anamika Khanna’s unique fashion ideas are often about instilling art in fashion. She believes in avant-garde couture creations which are suitable to be framed and cherished. Her main objective is to create an awe striking majestic appeal in her designs and the special feeling and confidence they ought to be imbibed in the wearer. Anamika Khanna believes in creating alluring yet comfortable couture and her collections are inclined to more pragmatic apparels than hyper innovative intricate futuristic designs. Her signature style involves multiple layers and subtle golden embroideries and zardozi work. Selection of colours differs in every collection but her most used colours are black, ivory, and pastel shade pallet. Her love for embroidery is seen in most of her collections where she uses a vast range of crafting techniques to achieve the desired effect. Her neat cuts and multiple layers enable the buyer to experiment with the fragmented elements of the ensembles in distinct styles. Anamika herself is renowned for her spectacular styling talent and applauded for styling actresses like Sonam Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha for magazine cover shoots and red carpets. Anamika Khanna presented her new collection ‘Luxury 2014’ in an exclusive show in her hometown Kolkata during the Indian Couture week. Her collection featured vintage themed designs crafted using over 35 embroidery techniques. She lavishly used English floral prints and embroidered appliqués in her astoundingly neat silhouettes of Anglo Indian designs. Anamika Khanna has revolutionised saree draping and her exquisite designs of hybrid saree versions have captivated the attention of the Bollywood divas. Her saree drapes sets quite a statement for their unconventional look and styling. Celebrities like Diya Mirza, Freida Pinto and Ileana D’Cruz have fondly dressed themselves in unique and ravish sarees at red carpet events.
As fashion director for Vogue India, stylist and creative consultant Ms. Anaita Shroff Adajania is a one of the leading voices within India’s fashion community and is credited for helping to steer the magazine’s growth as one of the most fashion forward publications in India. With a polished and sophisticated aesthetic, Adajania’s edits have rightly served a growing market of savvy and influential young professionals. A council member for India’s first Vogue Fashion Fund awards held in 2013, Ms. Adajania has also served as a motivational speaker at several colleges within India and heads a personal styling consultancy Style Cell in Mumbai. Having initially pursued a bachelor's degree in political science, Ms. Adajania, whose formative years were spent surrounded by influences from her grandfather’s bespoke tailoring shop, began building a career in styling soon after graduation, working as a costume designer for Bollywood films such as Cocktail, Dhoom 2, Everybody Says I’m Fine and Love Aaj Kal. Prior to her role at Vogue, Ms. Adajania served as fashion editor at Elle India and L’Officiel and was awarded a series of industry accolades including the coveted ‘Best Fashion Stylist of the Year’ at the IIFAs in 2005 and 2006. Ms. Adajania has also been recognized as the most stylish Bollywood designer at the MTV Lycra Awards in 2007 and for ‘Best Costume Design’ in 2007 and 2010 by the IIFA.Alongside her styling work, Ms. Adajania has also held walk-on roles in Bollywood blockbusters such as Dilwale Dhulianya Le Jayenge and Kal Ho Naa Ho. She has done the fashion designing for films likeDilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Everybody Says I'm Fine! (2001), Kal Ho Na Ho (2003), Dhoom (2004),Being Cyrus (2006),Hope and a Little Sugar (2006), Dhoom 2 (2006), Krazzy 4 (2008),Bhoothnath (2008),Love Aaj Kal (2009),Ra.One (2011),Players (2012),Race 2 (2013),Dhoom 3 (2013),Lekar Hum Deewana Dil (2014),Finding Fanny Fernandes (2014),Bang Bang (2014),Dear Zindagi (2016).