Exclusive: Before Mother’s Day, we speak to fashion designers who tell us how they were influenced by their moms
When it comes to fashion, there aren’t better muses than one’s mother! Think about their fascinating whole-nine yards, bun tied with mogra flowers, or maybe the chic bouffant, oversized sunglasses oozing glamour. Some of the most famous designers have often admitted that their love for fashion can be traced back to their mothers’ sense of style. Some have claimed openly that they have been inspired by their mothers —from the iconic Michael Kors to the Indian stalwart Sabyasachi Mukherjee, they have always celebrated their mothers’ influence on their aesthetics. When we asked designer Mrunalini Rao, she shared with alacrity that her mother made all her dresses when she was young. “I remember, since my first birthday, she made bouncy and flowy dresses for every occasion. There was one suspender dress she made, which is my most favourite of all. My mum crafted these ensembles with different styles of embroideries, smocking, ruffles, pretty bows and the latest fabrics available. I was always running around her curiously looking forward to seeing what was in the making and when I could try it on,” says the Hyderabad-based designer. She added that her mom’s sari rack was always a part of her play, something that later influenced her to take up designing as a vocation. “I also often used my mother’s saris to create various anarkalis and kurtas,” confesses Mrunalini.
Well-known Hyderabadi designer Divya Reddy reminisces about often rummaging through her mother’s closet as a child. She says, “I would be lying if I claimed my ransacking has come to a total halt even as an adult. I attribute my love for traditional textiles to my mother as I grew up so influenced by her sense of style.” She reveals that she went out of shopping expeditions with her mother which influenced her quite a bit. “Also, I love upcycling her collection,” says Divya.
Meanwhile, Mumbai-born footwear designer Sabista Khan, of the high-end jutti brand, The Cinderella Story remembers, “My mother’s closet was like a trip to wonderland for me. More than anything, it was her shoes I was after. I’d step into her high heels and use her lipsticks, then strut around the house like I was in a late 90’s Bollywood movie!” The designer in her late-twenties also fondly remembers how she had used a whole bunch of her old saris and dupattas and upcycled them into dresses and shrugs and even footwear.
Dipti Mrinalini known for her sustainable weaves and designs sourced from various weavers in village clusters shares, that it was her parents who took her to several villages of the country to explore the handmade heritage and craft of the same. “I’ve grown up seeing my mum wear crisp, neatly pleated handwoven sari in warm, earthy tones with perfectly matched accessories. When I was barely seven years old, I would wear my mom's cotton sari and experiment with different drapes for hours-on-end,” recalls Dipti. She adds that her first designs were made from saris taken from her collection-ombre dyed georgettes, fine silks, chiffons and handwoven cotton.
Jyoti Reddy who works closely with ahimsa or eri silks for the label Ereena, says, that she would revel in watching her mother dress up in traditional ensembles. “I think I unknowingly began imbibing her aesthetics, eye for decoration and detail and an art-filled world view.” She shares that she has preserved her old saris for reference in my work and also often use elements from them or revive them depending on the skill of the weaver.