Designer duo Ankur and Priyanka Modi, who established their brand 14 years ago, have now stepped into the couture world. They feel the couture market is thriving in India because of the growing appetite of consumers for luxury in the country.
"We find the couture market in India to be thriving! Some of the biggest designer brands in the country are anchored around their couture lines. India, economically, is on very sound footing and when that happens with any country, the appetite for luxury automatically starts increasing," Ankur told IANS in an email interview.
Added Priyanka: "As for the perceived threat from the replica market, we don't particularly fixate on that. Intelligent customers will always invest in the real thing because it's not just the design they're buying. It's a brand promise they're buying into, a promise of quality, endurance and originality.
"Simply put, if the replica market could seriously impact luxury businesses, some of the biggest brands in world like Louis Vuitton and Gucci would have ceased to exist by now."
So far, AM:PM's focus has been on smart luxury-pret wear, but the brand is spreading its wings. Their first couture line this year is a move in the same direction.
Asked about the move, Ankur said: "We established AM:PM 14 years ago as a luxury-pret label and will continue offering the same in the future. But the brand has grown aggressively over the last few years with a very loyal customer base which avidly subscribes to our aesthetic and design language and has continuously asked us to do an occasion wear/ couture line.
"We too realised it was the right time to further add a new dimension to the product line and we now find this to be a very natural progression in the brand's journey."
Known for their designs which represent impeccable style and uber femininity, they ensure quality. Pure fabrics, fresh colours and chic silhouettes brewed with subtle prints, embellishments and attention to detail, make their designs stand out.
They feel "Indian runways have seen an exotic touch of Indian silks, prints, embroidery that make the outfit special without seeming overdone and awkward".
"Nowadays, the runways see a lot of embellished saris and lehengas, fluid drapes, sheer panels and brazen cut-outs and stitched saris. The designers are also focusing on improvising Indian wear using technology and have almost converted their craft into a form of art," said Priyanka.
A high point of their range is their focus on wearability, comfort and style with fabrics that are elegantly tailored using pure and woven materials. They also use handicraft (old methods of printing and embroidery stitches), yet making their garments extremely contemporary and understated.
They also appreciated how designers are nowadays increasingly using Indian textiles and craft.
"We think it is extremely noteworthy -- the amount of effort the fashion industry has put in to promoting textiles and heritage weaves over the last few years. What is equally commendable is the fact that many dying or even forgotten crafts have seen a new lease of life due to the industry's ingenuity," said Priyanka.
"Any market -- whether it's the west or east, are constantly looking for uniqueness. If we can develop and properly package our textiles and crafts, we believe it will greatly help in attracting the world market," added Ankur.
Celebrated Indian actresses like Madhuri Dixit, Kajol, Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Dia Mirza, Shilpa Shetty, Sridevi, Hema Malini, Karisma Kapoor et al have taken to the AM:PM brand as customers, loyalists or enthusiasts.
And not to miss Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez, who has shot for the brand's debut couture line.
With so much of love from Bollywood faces, why have they never designed for movies?
"Nothing specifically has made us stay away from designing for Bollyood. We started with doing what we are passionate about and have concentrated our energies on that. But if ever there was an opportunity to design costumes for a film that really excites us, we will surely take it up," said Ankur. - IANS