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One of the pioneering designers in the Eighties, Rina Dhaka transformed the Capital into an epicentre of avant-garde fashion. While a brooding, intellectual quality evolved as the hallmark of Indian designers, Dhaka continually balanced it with a "style vs. sexiness" aesthetic. Today, her stellar clientele includes Naomi Campbell, Uma Thurman, Tara Palmer Tomlinson and Vittorio Radice, to name a few. In conversation with the designer in the run-up to her much-awaited show at FDCI India Couture Week.


''In my earlier days, striking a balance between creativity and wearability was my constant challenge. Creativity was all that mattered — wearability didn't matter as much. Over the years, with the experience of running a business and the effect of commerce on the industry, a designer can no longer discount the importance of wearability in each ensemble. Sets, costume, make-up, jewellery, accessories all help build up the theatrical character of couture. But that doesn't take away from its ease of wear.


This season, I create my love for jewellery, but on clothes. I take on strong metallics, mixing them together, blending and edging them with pearls. Our story, #SmilewithHonor, supporting the girl child, is derived from Bijoux Jewellery i.e. jewellery in concept, jewellery in replay. Looking back at the fearless dynamic character of our women, this collection is a salute to attires of the past, created in colours of gold, silver and pewter to bring out the opulence of the royal era on the runway. i have also used special techniques using foil on chiffons by mills such as Narayan Fabrics to help us create a metallic background. Jewellery motifs have been adopted and taken inspiration from. We have got bespoke fabrics from Surat, pearls from South China and kundan by craftsmen right here in Chandni Chowk. The collection showcases the dazzle of jewellery, on garments. We have the legendary Micky Contractor with us. Smile Foundation — a national level development organisation — directly benefits children and families in India and this show supports the foundation through our campaign #HonorTheSmile where a percentage of the sales will go towards charity in addition to donating two ensembles for an auction. This show is to Smile. And I expect great support from the media, the audience, showbiz, designers and models.


India Couture Week is a grand celebration for FDCI and haute couture. Basically, a memory for this city to reminisce for long!! There are so many teams from all over that fuse together in creating the fifteen minutes of supposed spotlight. For those fifteen minutes, one is trying to coordinate with the collection, teams and our own team members along with the execution teams of the show. For example, when we were doing Karisma Kapoor's fitting, there was a very bad traffic jam. The show was in a difficult location and she insisted on a miniskirt. My team was unable to handle the situation aptly. Such situations keep coming up. It is difficult to keep cool, being the nexus of all such happenings, but the success of a designer is defined by how he or she sails through bizarre times. I chant more during the days approaching the show — I repeat to myself the word 'patience' a zillion times. It helps walk through the impossible!''

The Business Of Couture!
Designer Rina Dhaka At Work!
Inspiration and subsequent creation
Opulent Beauty characterises Rina Dhaka's showcase
Sneak Peek!
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