For Anavila Misra, a capsule collection of 22 white linen saris, awash in shades of indigo, makes for an ideal transition from spring-summer into a season of stormy seas and torrential rain in Mumbai. That it is inspired by the city itself makes this line of block-printed saris — created exclusively for concept store Bungalow 8 in Mumbai — all the more evocative. Here, she talks about structure and architecture influencing her fluid drapes and her growing celebrity clientele. Excerpts:
You’ve spoken about the juxtaposition of vintage and modern architecture. How does that manifest in the collection?
Earlier this year, Bungalow 8 moved from Colaba to Wankhede Stadium in Churchgate. When you’re travelling from Colaba to Churchgate, you notice how ornate, old buildings give way to structured high-rises as you approach Wankhede. In areas around Chor Bazaar and Kabutar Khana there are a host of buildings and masjids with spherical lattice-like formations. Even Saifee Hospital on Marine Drive, when lit up at night, highlights the ‘jaali’/lattice effect. So, it was a juxtaposition of all these ideas.
How do you translate the architecture of a brick and mortar city into a fluid linen sari drape?
That was achieved through the block prints we chose and their strategic placement. Block prints with linear lines, geometric pieces and staid blocks represented new architecture, whereas the more floral, ornate and tile-like motifs stood for heritage buildings. All saris have an organic amalgam of both.
You’ve eschewed conventional blouses for shirts and vests to accompany the drapes. How is the styling representational of the theme?
It was important to consider who the end customer of the collection was going to be. In Mumbai, one is on the move all the time. The idea was to make it comfortable to wear a sari, so we coupled them with trousers, shirts and bandis, and draped them in a fuss-free manner.
You boast of a celebrity clientele that is different from the run-of-the-mill Bollywood brigade. Is that by conscious design?
For our second fashion week collection “Mohenjo Daro”, Konkona Sen Sharma walked the ramp and she has become a regular client since. Through her, Tillotama Shome also started wearing our saris. I have personally reached out to others like Gauri Shinde and Kiran Rao. It has been a conscious decision to associate with more than just glamour quotient. They might not be stars, but these are intelligent women making meaningful cinema.