Anamika Khanna: ready for a reunion
FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week be part of forces after 15 years, whereas Khanna returns to the runway after a hiatus of over two years
There is little question that Anamika Khanna is considered one of India’s most gifted and well-regarded trend designers. With no formal trend coaching, she has constructed her model’s signature on hybrid silhouettes that work for ladies of all shapes, and painstaking floor gildings that steadiness conventional embroideries with fashionable software. On the hanger, her garments appear to be cherished heirlooms, but put on like crimson carpet entrances. To anybody, she can be the best designer to open the newly-reunited FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week; the primary time the twain have met since their cut up in 2006.
Even so, she has needed to face feedback like ‘Why Anamika? She’s a Calcutta designer!’, the supply of which she chooses to not share. “Why would anyone say something like this? I’m an Indian designer; I could be from anywhere in the country!” she tells The Puucho Weekend. This solely goes to point out the deep chasm that the Great Fashion Week Split created when it occurred. Over the years, it grew into a rivalry — the pre-existing Delhi-Mumbai Divide helped — that manifested in actual enterprise outcomes for designers primarily based in Delhi and Mumbai, in addition to elsewhere.
Quiet isn’t all the time dangerous
At 49, Khanna is without doubt one of the few designers to have proven at each trend weeks over her 16 years within the enterprise, so I ask her if this merger turned potential as a result of the platforms have just lately gone digital as a consequence of Covid-19. “I think going digital just sped up the inevitable,” she says. “The coming together of these two giant platforms unifies the entire fashion industry. When you go to France, you don’t have 10 different fashion weeks, do you? This is a good move, and I’m excited to be part of this historic event.”
But will this partnership survive when bodily reveals come again? “That’s just a detail,” she says. “Shows can happen anywhere. All over the world, the media travels to the host cities. As a designer based in Kolkata, I’ve always packed up my collection and my team, and gone to wherever the shows are being held. So I hope this merger continues to go strong.”
Khanna’s final present occurred in Mumbai at Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) in January 2018 (the finale; Kareena Kapoor walked the ramp). Since then, the excessive factors — not less than from a model and advertising and marketing perspective — have been few and much between. She hasn’t launched any main collections on Instagram as is the norm as we speak, and her twin sons’ label, AK-OK — an athleisure line launched in 2019 — has not perceptibly damaged any floor on social media but (with simply over 6k followers on the time of going to press). But she gently disagrees.
“We’ve launched the Mumbai flagship store [at Kala Ghoda] recently,” Khanna says over a Zoom name. “And AK-OK has found its online retail presence where the collections have started rolling out. We’ve launched our men’s line, too. So a lot has been happening, even though we’ve been doing everything quietly.” She had even deliberate to launch a residence line earlier than the lockdown, however that took a again seat as a result of pandemic. “But it has worked in our favour. We’ve always been a quiet brand, and we’re hitting higher numbers,” she provides. “India is a land of celebrations and weddings, and that never stops.” Had she felt the necessity to create extra social media and advertising and marketing buzz, she would have, she says. “I just don’t want to go crazy and do things just because I have to.”
Flip facet of trend
The timeline of her trend reveals, for each the FDCI and Lakmé-led trend weeks, attests to this. Famously inconsistent, she hasn’t held trend reveals season after season as anticipated, and prefers to choose her moments. “Everyone forgets that I’m a mother first,” she says. “I’ve brought up two boys who’ve gone through school, exams, activities, sports, illnesses, vaccines, and a number of other things. So there have been challenging times that I’ve had to navigate.” She provides that there’s a a part of her that must be 100% satisfied to take something on — and a trend present by any requirements is a massive enterprise — in any other case she merely doesn’t do it. “Besides, being from Kolkata, I’m away from the daily hullabaloo of fashion.”
I ask her if this bodily take away retains her sane. “Probably. There is a lot of pressure that designers face. Pressure that you have to create collections and sell them, that you have to be present on social media… otherwise you’ll be lost in the crowd; it’s extremely challenging,” she says. “It’s like you’re at a party for just a second, but you take a picture and post it. Or you’re designing a garment and you begin with thinking which colour would look best for an Instagram post. Or you stand next to a stranger’s car and take a selfie. How am I going to create anything if all I’m thinking about is how it’ll look like on social media? I cannot live like that.” Her tone at this level is earnest, and exhausted even from desirous about the subject.
The proper priorities
Two years in the past, Khanna went by what her buddy Sonam Kapoor described on social media as a “terrible illness” that spun off into an internet debate. In our dialog, she hints that one of many causes her well being suffered was work-related stress. “I had a major health episode two years ago… and that happened because I was going mad!” Once she was again on her ft, she began taking issues extra slowly, and allowed herself to benefit from the course of. “Today, I don’t want to see Instagram. I’m totally ignorant about what other people are doing. I want to be able to create beautiful things and push my creativity to the next level, to wake up and be excited for my work,” she says. “This collection has been put together in a short time, but I’ve loved every minute of designing and making it. I’ve grown with it,” she provides, whereas refusing to even trace at what to anticipate.
There is one final query that I put to her as delicately as I can, for Khanna has accomplished a number of ‘opening’ and ‘finale’ trend reveals — a phenomenon distinctive to Indian trend weeks. I ask if celebrating trend reveals due to their scheduling creates a sense of the theatrical, and if that takes away from the enterprise and financial function the business performs. “What bothers me more is that it creates a narrative that some designers are better than others because they are opening or closing the event,” she says, including that she doesn’t suppose it impacts enterprise as a lot because it does the notion of the designers available in the market.
Not having ever frightened about notion herself, Anamika Khanna could be the exception that proves the rule.
Anamika Khanna’s present for the FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week is scheduled on March 16, and can stream reside on each the FDCI and LFW Instagram handles.
The author is a trend commentator and model marketing consultant.