After hugely successful outings in destinations such as UAE, India, Kenya, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Hong Kong and Indonesia, it was time for London to play host to luxury boutique pop-up exhibition, ‘DIVAlicious’ at The May Fair Hotel.
DIVAlicious are a unique mobile fashion concept brand launched in Dubai in 2011 to popularise Indian fashion and design globally.
Presented by Dubai based multi-brand retail store The Rack – by Kachins, DIVAlicious partnered with communication consultancy, Sterling Media and Sterling Reality to bring their celebrated exhibition to London shoppers.
Bollywood actress and fashion icon, Sonam Kapoor graced the luxury-shopping event, as did renowned designer, Anita Dongre.
Anita Dongre has been at the forefront of fashion for over 20 years, having created one of the most successful fashion houses in India. A metaphor for supreme craftsmanship, her designs showcase Indian aesthetics in a contemporary language. Dongre’s Rajasthani inspired, handcrafted bridal gotapatti lehengas and handwoven heritage benarasi creations are coveted by brides across the world as well as amongst personalities and public figures.
DIVAlicious London marked Anita Dongre’s inaugural London showcase.
Speaking of her participation, she said,
London is an exciting city with an eclectic mix of art, architecture, fashion and business. DIVAlicious was a wonderful event to bring designers, buyers and clients on one platform. I enjoyed being back in London to showcase this season’s bridal couture. – Anita Dongre
Her commitment to revive, sustain and empower the Indian crafts and textiles is evident in her sustainable label, Grassroot.
We had an opportunity to ask the designer a few questions about her craft traditions, in addition to her celebrated bridal collections.
You’ve been so instrumental in reviving age-old crafts and eco fashion, how do you make it so appealing for today’s generation?
Today’s generation truly appreciates the gifts of heritage. They understand that handcrafted work translates into luxury. And in India, we have great resource of vintage crafts. As a designer, I bring these beautiful crafts from the interiors of India to the runways by moulding it into modern styles and silhouettes.
Tell us a little about the story and inspiration behind your beautiful new collection?
‘Alchemy’ celebrates the surreal and the whimsical—it combines the deserts of our muse state, Rajasthan, with verdure to present a fantastical land that glistens with the golds of the sand with a mix of a lush forest. The colour palette is reminiscent of the miscellany of the flowers, trees, dense jungles, water bodies, wildlife and the large expanse of the deserts of Rajasthan.
Your bridal collections are timeless, how would you describe the Anita Dongre bride?
All women inspire me. Women everywhere are beautifully multitasking responsibilities – at work, in the home and on a global platform with one achievement at a time. While they grow to be more and more independent, they also remain true to their roots.
What are the top trends for brides or grooms to try this wedding season?
Brides can go bold with gold this season! Sheer layers look light and beautiful for a summer wedding. I suggest soft pastels with exquisite handcrafted gota patti in fluid silhouettes for brides who like to be comfortable yet look gorgeous.
Grooms look best in the classic sherwani. I suggest a sage green sherwani with minimal embroidery paired with handcrafted footwear for the summer.
UK shoppers had a chance to view, experience and purchase creations by over 20 established and emerging Indian designers along with accessory brands from Dubai, India and Hong Kong, all inspired by the East and toned for the West. The finest Indian designer apparel was brought to the event courtesy of The Rack – by Kachins, a luxurious multi-designer retail hub part of Kachins Group, the iconic Dubai-based suit makers. Designer collections showcased at the event included Anamika Khanna, Gaurav Gupta, Pankaj & Nidhi, Payal Singhal and Tarun Tahiliani.
Private banker turned fulltime fashion entrepreneur Vanitaa Bhatia launched DIVAlicious in Dubai in 2011. She spoke of the success of the London event.
We had a resounding weekend in London with a great turn out. With the reception we received, I can immediately claim that we will be back again next year and hope to make it an annual spring affair for the fashion-conscious market that is London. Our next step is Nairobi, Kenya! – Vanitaa Bhatia
DIVAlicious London’s partner is the globally renowned, multi-award-winning business and communications consultancy Sterling Media. Established in 1995, the company has a specialist luxury-lifestyle division, providing strategic consultancy to a range of clients.
CEO of Sterling Group, Natasha Mudhar said:
We have had an incredible response to the event, highlighting the love of Indian fashion, design and creativity internationally. As 2017 celebrates 70 years of India and UK’s cultural partnership, we were delighted to welcome the epitome of international fashion, culture and film Sonam Kapoor to the UK. – Natasha Mudhar
Speaking about their association with DIVAlicious London, Neetu Ramchandani of The Rack – by Kachins said:
The Rack – by Kachins was launched to fill a void in the U.A.E fashion retail landscape given the non-availability of Indian designer brands in the region. Both DIVAlicous’ and our vision is in complete sync presenting a natural synergy as we strive to fulfill the demand for South Asian fashion across international shores. We were delighted to have the opportunity to bring to London a preview of our A List designer collections and to showcasing our brand to the UK shopper at DIVAlicious London, without having the need for them to travel to us in the U.A.E. – Neetu Ramchandani
Finally, UAE’s leading property developer, Danube Properties and is the market leader in affordable housing. Speaking about their association with DIVAlicious London, Rizwan Sajan, Founder and Chairman of Danube Group, said,
“We were pleased to be part of DIVAlicious in London this year, and for giving visitors a peek of our project portfolio. Since our inception in the property market, we have garnered immense interest from international markets such as London and through the DIVAlicious London exhibition were able to make our offerings known to a wider majority.” – Rizwan Sajan
Hope we don’t have to wait too long until another DIVAlicious show!
*Images courtesy of Elevate Promotions and Asian Express Newspaper.
Did you attend the London show or any other DIVAlicious show? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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Poonam is the founder and director of The Maharani Diaries. She has a passion for South Asian fashion and weddings. Drinking coffee is one of her favourite pastimes and she also enjoys donating her time for charity. You’ll often find her volunteering on the side for various community events.