Linen has come to be one the most sought-after fabrics today, but it was not so when designer Anavila Misra started out in the fashion industry nine years back. Today, many Bollywood celebrities like Sonam Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Karisma Kapoor and Dia Mirza can often be seen wearing her linen saris.
Recently, at the launch of her festive collection, ‘First Blush’ at Good Earth’s Khan Market store in Delhi, Misra pointed out what makes the collection special. “We have been working with linen for the last eight to nine years and mostly doing everyday wear, so this time with the festive season, we thought of using linen for occasional wear by putting a little streak of gold or silver”, she said while talking to indianexpress.com.
The collection includes monochrome saris paired with crop tops, shirts with floral motifs and delicate embroideries — which she says is her first. There are also work wear kaftans, kaftan dresses, linen salwars that would make for an excellent wear during the summer or monsoon seasons.
The designer who graduated from NIFT, Delhi in 2000 has also worked with khadi in the past. Her Instagram is full of pictures where women can be seen wearing outfits inspired by the folk culture of India.
You combine your love for linen with ethnic wear. Where do you draw inspiration from?
It is mostly drawn from nature. When you deal with linen as a text line it automatically comes with a texture which is not completely plain. It is because of the nature of the yarn itself — it comes with slubby yarn — and then when you weave, it is not even all together. But at the same time, it has an inherent luxury because of the whole process, the way it falls, also because of the comfort that is attached to the fabric. So if you wear a linen sari, you are comfortable from morning to evening; the sari breaths and you are comfortable moving around. These are the things that inspire me.
What is ‘First Blush’ all about?
We have been working with linen for the last eight to nine years and mostly doing everyday wear, so this time with the festive season, we thought of using linen for occasional wear by putting a little streak of gold or silver. First Blush is something very romantic, something you wear for the first ritual at your wedding or your friend’s wedding.
How is it different from your other collections?
We have used red, brick colours, gold and yellow on a large scale. There are also a lot of softer colours that we have given a festive touch to. Also, the garments are mostly in solid colours, but gold and silver have been used to enhance the beauty of that one colour.
What are the five monsoon must-haves?
Linen pyjamas, kaftan shirts or tunics, crop or ankle-length salwar, bright and happy colours like green, yellow and brick red.
Why choose fashion as a medium for social change?
We are the second largest pollution-creating industry. So mindlessly working and mindfully working are the two angles, and as designers, we need to be thoughtful about it.
What projects are you most proud of?
I think the linen sari that I made changed the way I look at my work, and it also changed the way saris have been perceived.
Tips for people who wish to go for sustainable fashion.
I feel you should always have classics in your wardrobe, and then mix it up with different styles to give it a new look. For example, if you have a classic beige sari or a suit in linen, then you can pair it with any trendy colour dupatta or blouse of your choice. So invest in fabric which will pass the test of time.