Almost three decades ago, a tenderfoot designer stepped into the world of fashion. Holding fast onto her dreams of designing glad rags, she soon blossomed into an eminent figure in the fashion world. Today, Anju Modi (AM) is the proud face behind the phenomenal costumes of the blockbuster hits ‘Bajirao Mastani’ and ‘Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela’. With her meticulous weaves, these films turned so miraculous that it left the audience blinkless in wonder. She has managed to bring the dying Indian textiles and crafts to the ramp. In fact, she has successfully introduced the traditional Indian embroidery to the couture culture. Wedding Affair (WA) gets candid with the illustrious designer to know more about the upcoming bridal trends.
WA: Make us picturise an ideal Anju Modi bride.
AM: An Anju Modi bride is both classical and traditional, yet with a modern touch. She believes in ethnicity and simplicity at the same time. She believes in embracing the art forms in the modern era and yes, she loves to experiment with colours as well.
WA: You are known for your inclination towards the Indian tradition and it can evidently be seen in your designs. What draws you towards it?
AM: Everything that is a part of India’s rich cultural heritage draws me towards it. It could be the traditional art forms, artisans, history, beautiful paintings, traditional music, scriptures and poetry; everything that we have lived along. Hence, most of my designs are inspired by the same.
WA: What is the most challenging part of being a fashion designer? How do you cope with it?
AM: The most challenging part is to keep creating something new which is also true to the aesthetics. The most crucial challenge is to keep up with the trends and needs of the people, and create something that fits the aesthetics. Thus, the entire confluence coming out beautifully with the garments is a major challenge that we face sometimes.
WA: What is the creative process that goes into crafting an Anju Modi ensemble?
AM: There is a big creative process, I wake up with an idea of creating something that I have always dreamt of and would want to wear myself, which I then create graphically with my own hands as I draw it out. Thereafter, I discuss with my team wherein a small brainstorming session goes under the process which helps me create a new collection or you can say a masterpiece woven by our own hands.
WA: You have designed for numerous Bollywood celebrities on the highest rung of the ladder including Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Ranaut, Kareena Kapoor Khan and many more. Which celebrity have you loved to design for and why?
AM: Well, they are all great and I love to design for each one of them. Different personalities lend us a unique opportunity each time to create something beautifully different, yet fitting my aesthetics.
But yes, it was beautiful to design for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s muses Deepika and Priyanka. It was all very overwhelming. A great journey altogether that my team and I experienced in designing some beautiful creations for each of the divas which made them look above par.
WA: What are your most preferred picks from the colour palette to work with?
AM: I have worked with all colour palettes if you see my collections, I don’t much work with trends. It’s more like what I feel that goes with the season and goes with my kind of work and what I think is going to fit. I like to play with colours a lot. Still, if I had to choose, my favourites would be pastels, nudes, blacks, greys and maroons. I would want to work more on these colour palettes.
WA: Tell us something about your latest luxury pret collection ‘Masakali’.
AM: ‘Masakali’ collection is very close to my heart, it is a luxury-pret collection which defines how I usually like to wear and feel comfortable in my own body.
This collection is all about celebrating womanhood and the love they have for nature. It is about being comfortable in their own skin and just taking a moment off from the busy schedule that nowadays women experience in their lives.
WA: The characters of ‘Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela’ and ‘Bajirao Mastani’ were brought to life by the creative synergies of Anju Modi and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. How difficult was it to create characters (through designing) in the light of Bhansali’s vision?
AM: Well, I would say that it was more than difficult and yet a fabulous journey. I learnt so much while I gave beautiful inputs which made the film look as it is today. Yes, Sanjay Leela Bhansali had a clear vision of how each character had to appear on-screen. The difficult part was to understand that vision clearly and then create it into a beautiful garment which has an equal share of my understanding and aesthetics. Working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, together made the film stronger and more design-centric with the understanding of both at the same time.
WA: What are the upcoming bridal trends that are likely to take centre stage?
AM: Well, the upcoming bridal trends are more likely to be dominated by pastel colours. Delicate and a little bit like English weddings with the laces and fewer embroideries, more of fragile threadwork. But yes, even as the trend will shift towards pastel colours and inspirations from an English bride, traditional is still going to be there holding its ground.
WA: One fashion-tip for the new age millennial bride.
AM: For the free-spirited millennial bride I would just give one tip, that is, ‘be yourself, be free’. Be comfortable in whatever you are wearing for your big day. Be happy and embrace each and every moment of your beautiful journey which has just begun.
WA: What does Anju Modi’s personal wardrobe look like? Which is the most common fabric in your wardrobe?
AM: My personal wardrobe very much contains all the breathable, handwoven fabrics such as cotton and linens. I do not have one common fabric. I love to use comfortable and pure fabrics such as cotton, silk, khadi, and I tend to wear Indo-westerns which includes palazzo pants, long dresses among others.
WA: Do you have a dream project in mind?
AM: As a designer, I would want to create a beautiful world, but I would first start with our country, India. The beauty and the essence of our country is really something that latches me with its roots and encourages me to create beautiful designs. I derive inspirations each day from nature and amazing people, who I would like to dress. My dream project is to dress or make the entire Indian population wear clothes that appear both smart and comfortable. I’d like to give them something unique every time they wear an Anju Modi creation.