Weddings are a time for celebrating forgotten narratives and adding new dimensions to existing ones. In the desert state of Rajasthan, weddings take on a lyrical quality as gossamer threads wrap up dreams and spin their own yarn that is both traditional yet timeless. Four designers from Rajasthan have used the state as muse to create an enviable trousseau that's symbolic and worthy of being passed on from generation to generation.
Anupama Bose, 44
Textile Designer, Jaipur
Is it a studio? A home? Well, you can't really tell. The splash of colour in her studio encapsulates the spirit of Rajasthan. The decked-up leheriya sarees in one corner and her ready-to-wear work wear blend seamlessly with the surroundings. Dressed in an orange long dress, she blends in with the pop colours. Having spent almost two decades exploring textiles, designer Anupama Bose still seeks inspiration from her childhood. She learnt how to embroider when she was five and later sewing and knitting. Bose finished school at Sophia School, Ajmer, and all her pleas to join medical school fell on deaf ears even though her parents were doctors.
So, she went on to pursue a diploma in industrial design with a specialisation in textiles from National institute of Design, Ahmedabad, between 1989 and 1994. After working with Tarun Tahiliani for five years, she moved to Jaipur in 2007. From experimenting with linen carpets, printing and making uniforms, she turned to garments and embroidery in 2007 and set up her studio.
Over the last nine years, her work has been known for bespoke embroidery which is very popular on the wedding circuit. In 2010, she started experimenting with leheriya and the dream of presenting the idea of leheriya print kept getting bigger. She says, "I do rosebud embroidery which is one of a kind in leheriya and it involves very fine craftsmanship. I want to introduce leheriya to the international market. It's not ethnic. Stripes can be used in so many ways and structures. It is formless and translates into so many patterns." Bose who does bespoke bridal wear, ready-to-wear, handloom, tussar, chiffons and georgette, believes in the idea of cut, stitch and wear. Her collection claims a sense of individuality. It has recall value and can travel through generations.
She says, "A traditional garment doesn't have to look like a theatre costume. If it's comfortable, it will look good. I do have a bit of theatrical element to my bridal wear though. It's not just about drawing something beautiful or translating it into an object. It's about being the medium between the maker and the consumer and making sure that both are comfortable and content." Her clients mostly ask her for something new; some may request the same old traditional patterns. She is honest with her feedback. She says,"wedding wear has gone through some changes over the years. No evolution is good or bad. It's just change that happens with changing mindsets. Some like comfort and some enjoy the traditional distress."