When Ritu Kumar’s son, Amrish, took over her eponymous label as CEO in 2005, he was the driving force of change. His 10-year stint at the helm has seen the brand move in the direction of an India Modern aesthetic, marrying local, organic fabrics and indigenous prints and craftsmanship with western silhouettes. One way this younger, hipper, urban aesthetic has found expression in the Label Ritu Kumar collections (available on Tata CLiQ). As the brand launches its Spring/Summer 2018 collection, we catch up with Amrish to discuss what goes into the making of this iconic brand.

Define the Ritu Kumar brand DNA in 1 word.

Rooted aesthetics.

How has the brand evolved over the last 50 years?

When we first started out, there was no concept of retail or a strong aesthetic assigned to Indian fashion. Over the last five decades, we’ve stayed true to our commitment to quality and a specific focus on Indian textile and craft, while ensuring we stay relevant to the changing needs of our audiences. We have three distinct brand offerings for the urban Indian women of today.

Where does your design inspiration come from?

The Spring/Summer 18 collection for Label Ritu Kumar is titled ‘Sweet Surrender’, and it’s inspired by 18th century French marquise fashion, juxtaposed with a deliberate déshabillé look of the ’80s. We’ve used soft pastel colour tones and bold, tropical prints. Both eras represent an apotheosis of taste, colour, fabric, modernity and refinement. The colour palette is a mélange of sorbet colours - peach and prosecco, canary yellow, minty melons interspersed with bright pops of calico blues and reds.

Who is the Ritu Kumar woman?

The Ritu Kumar woman is confident, and excels in her field of choice. She is not a victim of fashion and embraces her identity.

What innovations can we look forward to from the brand?

We have begun experimenting with various fabrics in our collections. Only last year we debuted a range of natural fibre saris that contained banana and soy fibres. This was a strict departure from our regular use of Tussar and silk. The new yarns add more texture and lend an interesting drape. With our pret collection at Label Ritu Kumar, we’re constantly on the lookout for new techniques and fabrics, we are experimenting with newer constructions and printing techniques to lend our collections a fresher, young look.

What materials do you work with?

This season, we’ve used a mix of prints and embellished textiles ranging from novelty fruits to bold blooms. Fabrics like chambray, schiffly and poplin dominate the collection.

Ritu Kumar herself has worked to revive artisanal embroidery and craftsmanship - how is the brand taking this forward?

Under the Beautiful Hands Project, a property owned by Ritu Kumar, the Revivalist by Ritu Kumar collections are an ongoing effort to bring artisanal embroidery, textiles and craftmanship to the fore-front of our collections. We have worked with weavers from across the country on Varanasi weaves, ikats and chikankari to name a few. Like this article? Also read: These Maxi Dresses From Ritu Kumar Are Perfect Your Your Summer Wardrobe



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