Jayanti Reddy on giving Banarasi weaves a modern touch

 Designer Jayanti Reddy
Designer Jayanti Reddy

Summary

The Hyderabad-based designer on making her debut at the forthcoming Hyundai India Couture Week 2024 in Delhi and the growing international popularity of traditional textiles

Hyderabad-based designer Jayanti Reddy is all set to present her couture collection at the 17th edition of India Couture Week, starting 24 July in New Delhi.

Featuring close to 40 looks, her collection will include capes, jackets, corsets paired with saris and kurtas, all highlighting zardozi embroidery and a contemporary take on the age-old Banarasi textiles.

Reddy believes that any couture showcase merits a physical showcase as one wants to touch and feel the garment. “How a couture ensemble moves on the ramp and catches light… it's important to showcase how a couture piece can be styled in innumerable ways," says Reddy, who opened her third retail store, in Mumbai's Kala Ghoda, in December, after two stores in Delhi and Hyderabad. "While digital campaigns and reels definitely generate online buzz, nothing compares to a physical showcase accompanied by good music and choreography."

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In an interview with Lounge, the designer talks about the couture collection and the art of giving Banarasi weaves a contemporary touch. Edited excerpts:

Featuring close to 40 looks, Reddy's ICW collection will include capes, jackets, corsets paired with saris and kurtas
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Featuring close to 40 looks, Reddy's ICW collection will include capes, jackets, corsets paired with saris and kurtas

 

You are known for your signature double draped saris and ‘khada dupatta'. What's your take on the popularity of the pre-stitched saris?

I will be showcasing a few pre-stitched saris this season. As much as I love the traditional khada dupattas and woven saris, the pre-stitched saris are so easy to wear, pack and style. They’re comfortable, lightweight and quick to wear. Ease and functionality have always been central to my design.

You have recently introduced groomswear. What have been some key learnings about Indian men's evolving tastes and sensibilities?

My transition into groom's wear happened naturally, as most of my brides would request me to make a matching outfit for their fiancé. I've observed that men definitely prefer subtle and subdued embroidery. Most of them gravitate towards clean threadwork and minimal techniques as opposed to something too ornate.

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Could you talk about the ICW collection?

There are capes, corsets, jackets and lehnga skirts that are apt for destination weddings since they are so popular now. I have kept them light so that people can dance and enjoy themselves during pre-wedding festivities.

There's a section in the showcase dedicated to Banarasi textiles as well...

The age-old Banarsi textiles and other ancient weaves are not just relevant in India, but are gaining incredible popularity globally as well. However, as a designer, it's important to reinterpret them in an of-the-moment format so that they resonate with the younger generations. It's imperative to showcase how each Banarasi piece can easily be styled for various occasions and how these heirloom pieces have a long closet life and should be treasured and reworn. It's a conversation between their rich heritage and modern reinterpretation.

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