Aditi Somani - Prêt Pioneer

Aditi Somani’s fashion brand offers luxury fusion-wear with international appeal and Indian grace. Poised to be a luxury couture brand that blends traditional motifs with modern styles, her designs are crafted with the time-tested skills of experienced Indian artisans. We caught up with the designer to get her take on fashion and learn more about her label.

You’ve had an interesting design journey. Tell us how you got where you are today.
Fashion has always been a profound passion of mine. Even as a child, I enjoyed experimenting with different colours and putting outfits together. I’ve always had a knack for mixing and matching clothes, and never held back from sharing my opinions. I would say that I’ve been creatively inclined, which has led me to explore a career as a fashion designer. My foray into the fashion world came naturally after I got married into a marwari designer family. After that I equipped myself professionally to launch the Amaya Collection, which featured Western and fusion wear. I have recognised the true potential of the growing fashion industry in India. My eponymous label, Aditi Somani, is a natural progression from my Amaya days.

Festive season in India is huge, as are weddings. Do you design specifically for these seasons. What’s in store from your label for the 2017 festive and wedding season?
Weddings are huge in India— they’re more like a festival of sorts that is celebrated over a period of a few days, and clothes are an intrinsic part of any Indian wedding. I am not into heavy bridal or Indian couture, and design more for the bride’s trousseau or her bridesmaids and close family.

My latest AW’17 collection ‘SAKHI’ captures the old-world charm of an ancient regal era while encapsulating subtle hints of sensuality and modernism. The collection is ornate and elegant, and is designed for a modern new-age woman with a distinct eye for detail and quality. This juxtaposition of inventive cuts and traditional motifs makes the collection timeless yet effervescent. It unfolds fine intricacies of Indian heritage, and showcases a contemporary cut construct imbued with traditional embroidery. Being a regal and rich collection, it features a jewel coloured palette. The collection
mainly comprises heavily embroidered lehengas and anarkalis, mostly in bright and solid shades that are perfect for a mehendi function or for a bride’s sister or close friend.

What’s your favourite part of being a designer?
My favourite part is that my job gives me wonderful opportunities to create beautiful clothes for women across different spheres of life. My work gives me the freedom to move around the country and the globe to showcase my designs and interact with people across different platforms. I also find so much inspiration in everything around me during my trips. I thrive on the energy of exchanging ideas and seek inspiration from my surroundings. And I try to incorporate that in my designs.

And the challenges?
It’s essential for a designer to be original, innovative and create designs that reflect their own individuality and aesthetics. I believe one must stick to their true beliefs and design values, and keep striving towards what they aim to achieve. Don’t compromise on quality and design just to keep up with the current trends. Instead, keep your individuality and strive for excellence in whatever you do. The most challenging part of anything is the ground work and roots. All challenges will eventually give in; just be patient and the results will follow.

Who are your style icons?
Diane von Furstenburg, and Coco Chanel are two of my main inspirations in the international spectrum. Design and aesthetics aside, both of these women boast such strong personalities – neither have followed the herd. They’ve both gone against currents to achieve their own, and to command an empire. I find both their names synonymous with women empowerment. Therefore, as a designer, I really look forward to their work and approach, to produce something that reflects my own style and norms, regardless of what is on trend. In terms of Indian designers, I truly admire Anamika Khanna, mostly because she has her own way of showcasing her aesthetics. I find her designs to be genuine and one-of a kind. She’s one of my role models not only because she doesn’t follow the norms, but also because whatever she does, she does it well.

Who is the typical woman you design for?
My designs reflect the persona of urban women and are a testimony to their vibrant nature and love for elegance, seeking inspiration from India’s rich culture. I design hybrids between kurtas and dresses that are constructed with great fabrics, clean lines, and are more accessible to everyone. My label, Aditi Somani, showcases silhouettes and motifs that follow traditional values with an international appeal. My designs are minimal and understated while being rich and elegant. The collections are mid-range – well-priced and positioned. I showcase subtle class with a tweak, thus allowing today’s generations to embrace traditions with a global appeal. 

Do you have any particular muse?
An epitome of grace and class, Maharani Gayatri Devi would have to be my favourite muse. Her elegance and beauty continue to enthral women from every generation, and from every corner of the globe. Dia Mirza is another favourite muse of mine from the current generation; she carries my outfits with utmost grace. There is a timeless, traditional quality to her and is yet she is modern, independent and represents the woman of today.