Dongre brings ‘khejri’ trees to life with her collection

Designer Anita Dongre, who sees Rajasthan as the backdrop to some of her most cherished memories, breathed life into the ‘khejri’ trees of the state through her latest couture collection.

Dongre’s love for trees could be seen at the ongoing India Couture Week here right from the time the stage was set for the Saturday show.

Apart from the trees-inspired runway, Dongre’s new collection, which is a tribute to the Bishnoi tribe of Rajasthan, saw trees as a recurring motif of her collection.

Explaining the significance of the tribe, the designer told IANS: “The Bishnoi tribe is most recognised for Amrita Devi and the her village’s sacrifice to save the ‘khejri’ trees in the region.”

“It’s this dedication and identification with nature that inspired me to both design this collection and plant a forest of 25,000 trees in the Bassi Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan.”

The motifs and gota pati embroidery well translated the essence of the ‘khejri’ onto silks.

“A lot of the embroideries you saw tonight was done by Sewa women. They are the artisans who work in the villages. It’s the first time that they have worked on a couture line for me,” Dongre told reporters after the show.

The collection, which had saris, dresses with Obi belt, skirts with frills and more, had quite a white colour pallete. It also had deep hues of maroon, ink blue and olive green accented with red fuchsia and royal blue.

With dresses and lehengas having pockets, it was certainly a marriage between functionality and fashion.

But it wasn’t just this marriage that fashionistas approved of.

Towards the end of the show, a model in a bright red bridal lehenga accompanied by bridesmaids in white gowns and children in white halter neck gowns and a little boy in white kurta and dhoti with a Nehru jacket caught the audience’s eye.

“We have been doing a lot of marriages and I thought it was high time to do that on the ramp too,” Dongre said.

“I think it’s lovely when brides have their own besties.”

The male models were wearing traditional sherwanis — “Classic and perfect for Indian weddings”.

If the collection hit the right chord with the audience, the live music to which the models catwalked also got a thumbs up, especially when the Sufi singer sang the evergreen number “Dama dam mast qalandar” fused with varied instruments like electric guitar, tabla, drums and sarod.