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MS. RITU KUMAR

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.

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