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Designer Speaks: Arpita Mehta
If you have been to an Indian wedding lately and have seen some gorgeous mirror-work ensembles, you should know that designer Arpita Mehta is behind them. With Madhuri Dixit Nene, Jacqueline Fernanadez, Shraddha Kapoor and Deepika Padukone donning her exquisite creations, Arpita’s trademark mirror work has become infamous.
The young designer took some time out to talk to us about her work, inspiration and her advice for the brides-to-be.
Arpita, you have worked with Manish Malhotra for two years. How was the experience?
“Working with Manish for two years is like attending a fashion institute by itself. It helped me grow as a designer and provided me with confidence to start my own line. It was great exposure as I did around 40 fashion shows with him. I was handed a great deal of responsibility and all of that helped when I started running my own label.”
Sexy, easy silhouettes are something you veer towards. What is the must-have silhouette for the season?
“Personally I am veering towards cami-tops with high waisted, flared palazzo pants and I think that sexy yet easy silhouettes seem to be preferred this season.”
Mirror work has become your trademark style. How do you reinvent it every season?
“I need to stay true to my brand and style; yet with every season I work on improvising it. I reinvent by mixing it with basic embroideries like threadwork, gota embroidery, adding butas around it, pearl work. Basically anything that compliments mirror work and lives up to the trademark I’ve created.”
You showcased your collection recently at the Lakme India Fashion Week. Can you tell us what was your inspiration for the collection? What are some of the key Fall trends from your latest collection?
“My Lakme collection was called Starlight. It was a timeless ethnic collection, inspired by all the favourite cocktail looks of my grand mom. The collection was blended with a touch of contemporary, making it a glamourous one. I feel that my grandmom is like a star guiding me, hence the collection was aptly titled “Starlight”. The collection was a mix of luxurious fabrics such as tabi silk, raw silk, nets as well as flat chiffons. Colours such as blacks, greys, oysters dominated the collection with a hint of “happy pink”.
The knee length silk jackets, cut out blouses and layered anarkalis add an ethereal, graceful flow to the silhouettes. The look was accessorised by ghungroos in dull silver with body chains.I also worked on special embroidery called the “buttonflower” which consisted of 3D threadwork flowers appliquéd over a mirror flower, giving it a dual effect. Enhancing it was a jaal of very small cutdana as well as thread to give it a rich, intricate feel. Adding another layer of complexity and texture to the garment was the foilwork, which complimented my trademark mirror work.”
Do you have a differed design palette for NRIs? How does your signature style remain consistent?
“I don’t necessarily have a differed design palette for NRIs. I work within my signature style and make changes based on requests and the occasion. I do customise in terms of colour or minor changes in silhouettes.”
How important are International trends to you? Which are your favourite labels?
“International trends are definitely influential. They have brilliant forecasts in relation to the colour palettes or silhouettes and styles. I personally admire Dolce and Gabbana, Matthew Williamson and Elisa Moschino.”
With the bridal season coming up, what are some of the trends that you are witnessing for brides as well as bridesmaids?
“A girl’s wedding day is the most important day in her life. I suggest the classic red and gold combination for a bride. Even though it is a cliche, a bride can never go wrong in it! I suggest a heavily embroidered lehenga with gota and pearl work, a cutwork blouse and a heavy dupatta with butas all over.
The bridesmaids can go for something lighter and trendy in warm wedding colours. An ankle length jacket teamed with a crop top and a high waisted lehenga or sharer would look very cool.”
With bridal shopping being so overwhelming what are some tips that brides should keep in mind while choosing their ensembles and buying their trousseau?
“Brides should breathe a little and get over the old fashioned version of picking their outfit well in advance. There are beautiful colours, styles, silhouettes forecasted for every season and I suggest waiting for the latest trends. Over-doing the process of wedding shopping needs to stop , because you can pick an old design and get bored of it later. Or you’d wear it once and the silhouette goes out of style and you have no other occasion you can wear it for. Waiting is what makes everything worthwhile!”
From experience I know that customization is your specialty. Could you take us through the process of how you work with brides to arrive at a final design.
“Over the years I’ve dealt with many different brides. Some have an idea of what they want, some turn up completely clueless. But I work with a specific systematic process that works well both ways, for me and the bride. First of all I fix a formal meeting with the bride. I learn the dos and don’ts, what they want, what they have in mind, what occasion is it for, so on and so forth. Later comes my opinion on how I feel we should work about the ensemble. I give my advice and we end up with a few changes; meeting halfway between the brides ideas and what I think works. I then create a sample for the customer, and with the approval of the same, I go ahead with the final garment production. Then the usual, fittings, finishing and altering process comes in the picture.”
Bridal outfits tend to be a one time wear, can you give our readers some tips to recycle and reuse the outfits after the wedding is over?
“For white weddings as they say ‘you can always shorten the dress and wear it’ but there are also a few recycling tips for our Indian brides. The heavy embroidered lehenga can be teamed with a lighter blouse and a lighter dupatta; the blouse can be matched to a contrasting lehenga which is much lighter using simple borders with little or no embroidery. The heavy dupatta can be worn with either of these or a simple anarkali with a heavy dupatta.”
What is the one piece every girl should invest in to update and refresh her existing Indian wardrobe.
“The one thing missing in every girl’s ethnic wear wardrobe is our mirror work vest. I really think it can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion . This vest can be teamed up with a kurta for a big occasion or a cami-top for a much smaller event.”
The one thing that you have deigned for yourself, which is you personal go to outfit.
“Like I said earlier, my patent mirror vest is my go to outfit. Also a fully embroidered jacket in varied lengths.”
With quick success and growing brand value, what are you global expansion plans? Tell us about your key NRI markets.
“I am already working on a global level for my brand. I’m holding exhibitions in Dubai (September) and New York (October) and supplying to Aashni & co. (London). My next key target cities are Hong Kong and LA.”
For more information or details, visit http://arpitamehta.in/