Designer Anupamaa Dayal explains how her body-positive, breezy Spring Summer collection is relevant all year round
There’s nothing quite like an Indian summer, is there? Agreed it can be swelteringly hot — as designer Anupamaa Dayal puts it, it’s one of the country’s most bashed seasons. But what about the splash of colours it brings with it? Think the brilliant pink spray of bougainvillea, a gulmohar tree aflame in red, and the golden spray of a laburnum. And languorous afternoons spent under a whirring fan, a good book in hand and a juicy mango for company. It is memories like these, of the quintessential Indian summer, that inspired Anupamaa’s latest collection ‘The Indian Summer Song’ for Spring Summer 2020. The designer showcased her collection in the city recently at The Folly, Amethyst.
Breezy outfits fashioned out of fly away silks, georgettes, crepe de chines, chiffons and chanderis; the collection is a splash of colours and prints that transport you to a tropical holiday. All while you manage to look effortlessly chic. “Someone asked me why I was introducing a SS 2020 collection when it was time for Fall,” says the designer, “But I think our seasons have become a little passé. Most Indian cities now have a really long summer, and then we have very brief winters where we just layer up. Even in Delhi, where I live, we all wear our summer clothes and just layer up, because it’s still hot and polluted. But our summer needs a little bit more romancing and some love. So this time I wanted to talk about that summer song.”
Anupamaa says she went back to the long summer afternoons of her childhood when designing this collection. “It is a very signature Anupamaa collection which means colour is used with a free hand. The prints show the resilience of summer; they’re simple everyday sights in any city in India — bougainvillea, laburnum, mango and fish. It is basically the song of our long summer afternoons, bird calls and the irrepressible beauty of when you see a gulmohar aflame and eat a really juicy mango. How can you ever complain about an Indian summer?”
Given the light fabrics she uses, the collection is also travel friendly. “You could pack about 60-70 of these garments and they’d come up to only about three kilograms,” she says. “You could wear them in any context: casually, take it to dinner, even wear it for a party or pair it with palazzos to wear as an Indian outfit. It all depends on how you accessorise it; dress it up or dress it down.”
Ask her what inspires her collections and she says, “For me, it’s always about the woman. I’ve always been inspired by the multi-faceted personalities and lives of women. It’s important for me to make her feel more confident, and more like herself. This is not a brand where someone will come and say that they have to lose weight. It’s all about a certain kind of living that is as full and happy and joyous. When I think about designing, I want the woman to feel joy. I love to have ambiguity in the body type. I like to think of the brand as a philosophy of living; it’s rather inclusive… across body types.”
Incidentally, Anupamaa has returned to the city with her designs after a hiatus of nine years. “I’m happy to be back. Chennai is a good market for us in terms of how many NRIs come here. It’s a conservative market, but a clothes loving city. The Chennai woman knows exactly what she wants.” The designer also happened to spend a part of her childhood in the Nilgiris and would frequent the city when her sister was studying at Women’s Christian College. “For me, Chennai is reassuring and culturally familiar,” she smiles.