Shilpa Reddy, a name that needs no introduction in this city, has had a brilliant start to 2015 with two consecutive shows for the same season. Last year, this model-turned-designer created history by becoming the only Indian to be invited to showcase her collection at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. This year, it was at the J Spring Show in New York followed by Lakmé Fashion Week. We caught up with the stunner about her experiences, collections and much more.
Congratulations on the year so far! Tell us about it.
Thank you! I applied for LFW and got accepted to showcase my collection for this summer/resort season. It was after this that I got an invitation to showcase at J Spring in New York, and as luck would have it they were both in the same week – on March 19 and 22! This meant I’d have to be in New York on the 19th and in Mumbai on the 22nd! LFW was considerate enough to schedule my show on the last day of the fashion week so that I could finish in New York and make it to Mumbai.
Sounds like quite a challenge.
It surely was! It was three crazy months of hard work – more like an adrenaline rush. I wanted to create two different collections at the same time for the same season. That was the challenge! But once you dive in, you’ve got to swim, and by the grace of god we sailed through effortlessly.
Let’s talk about your collections. What inspired them?
One was about Floral Geometry, the one I did for Jessica Minh Anh’s show in New York. That was inspired by the geometry of Ikat and the blossom of spring. This collection reflected the effortless amalgamation of both contrasting elements. I used Pochampally weaves. Pochampally is the place where threads and colours find their way into the hands of skilled weavers. It has traditional looms whose designs are more than a century old. They are popular for traditional, intricate geometric patterns in the Ikat style of dyeing. The Pochampally weave is popularly known as Ikat or tie-dye weaves. Silhouettes were Western with a little bit of an Indian feel. I structured shoulders with peplum dresses, had Pochampally jumpsuits, pantsuits with a skirt saree and more. The colours were green, yellow and pink with blue Ikat.
The collection for LFW was Moon-Lit Sand. I feel that beauty is universally compared to the moon. The equation of beauty is simplicity and understated elegance. My collection took inspiration from the moon, the most natural and beautiful creation of the universe. The moonlight, when falling on warm sand, gives off a charm and glow seen nowhere else. The collection in itself is entirely made from khadi silk, which resembles the tones of the moon with a subtle texturing. Floral motifs are balanced using thread embroidery with gold and silver tones, juxtaposed into the collection keeping the base as khadi and malkha to create an illusionary contrast.
Did you actively choose Indian fabrics?
I’m an environmentalist and feel socially responsible for many things. I think motherhood has made me more responsible. I actually started thinking of the next generation and how they will live, what could happen to the planet if we continue to exploit every resource we have. And then came the question: how I can be responsible through my profession? As a designer, I’m trying to create a demand for sustainable fashion through my collections. My dream is to inspire youth to wear Indian fabrics, so I will create designs appealing to the young, to make our traditional fabrics into fashionable ones.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere. For LFW, I was inspired by the moon, and I even developed a motif from my son’s storybook! Sometimes, fabrics inspire me.
How does the process from idea to product work for you?
I start with the colour for the season, move to a mood board, and then come the sketching and embroidery. Last but not least, it’s the pattern-making. Everything else follows after that.
What else does Shilpa Reddy have in store for 2015?
I will take things as they come.
Where do you see yourself going from here?
I have many more national and international shows lined up that I look forward to.
..... as told to Anahita