Anushree Reddy’s Spring/Summer bridal edit, Ahilaya, draws inspiration from women of Hindu folklore

The Hyderabad-based couturier introduced her latest bridal collection, Ahilaya, on the third day of the just concluded Lakmé Fashion Week X FDCI as her SS ’23 edit

Srushti Kulkarni Published :  31st March 2023 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  31st March 2023 12:00 AM

Ensembles from Ahilaya

Beauty, a term that has been defined and redefined throughout human history — a concept that has fascinated philosophers, artists, poets and scientists alike! A complex and multifaceted concept that has evolved over time. Often associated with femininity and women, beauty is considered to be one of the divine attributes in Hindu mythology as it is associated with the concept of sundara, which represents mind, soul, purity, charisma and grace — an idea that surpasses the physical.

From Ahilya, who was Lord Brahma’s most beautiful creation ever; to Damayanti, the princess of Vidarbha Kindgdom and Draupadi of Mahabharata — the examples of marvellous mythological figures are endless. Although these women lived ages ago, their beauty continues to haunt the creative minds even today and one such artiste, who is deeply inspired by them, is renowned fashion designer Anushree Reddy.

The Hyderabad-based couturier, known for her beautiful and elegant designs influenced by traditional Indian styles, recently introduced her latest bridal collection, Ahilaya, on the third day of the just concluded Lakmé Fashion Week X FDCI as her SS ’23 edit. “Ahilaya is informed by the bold, beautiful, fun and fearless apsaras who wore multiple colours and looked ethereal, at least that’s what we are told,” she begins, adding, “These mystical women were the mean girls in their worlds who would be sent to
carry out the agendas of gods and yet they were perceived as pure, mysterious and beautiful.”

Speaking of how she began, she reveals, “This collection is a riot of colours as I wanted to explore the burst of colours apsaras brought with them, or at least how artistes imagine it to be. In this bridal line, we have played with hues, keeping the upcoming summer season in mind. Ahilaya features contrasting tones where outfits flaunt three to four colours and we must have used every existing shade in the pink family.” There is a mix and match of pure sunset hues, a collage of contrasting soft pastels, exaggerated gold accents, falling leaves and an array of freshly plucked exotic wildflowers and singing birds.Besides the vibrant colour palette that spans sea green, aqua blue, coral, tangerine, lavender and yellow, Anushree Reddy’s SS ’23 collection that we saw on models as they walked down the aisle, was crafted with references taken from across the ages and then blended with modern cutting-edge sensibilities to make something that can only be described as wearable art.

Also read: Couturier Vaishali Shadangule's latest collection, Beneath, morphs an array of sea creatures

Fascinated by the absolute and unapologetic beauty of women like Ahilya, one can come across historic references of textiles, motifs and embroidery that form a perfect amalgam of vintage design aesthetics and modern silhouettes. “I resonate with Hindu mythologies because even small elements like the moon
and its colour are an inspiration. Its space has a lot to take from and it also has several characters, all
of them have their story to tell,” the couturier elaborates.

Sushmita Sen

The Lakmé Fashion Week collection also boasts traditional zardosi embroidery, a craft that has been kept alive to this day by skilled artisans from the era of the Nizams of Hyderabad; with the use of age-old and intricate resham hand embroidery on fabrics like raw silk, katan and organza. “The collection is a tight
23-garment line and the designs are elaborate, thanks to the heavy hand-embroidered silhouettes that range from classic bridal wear to cocktail saris and gowns,” she shares. The men can also expect a fair share of kurtas, sherwanis and traditional overcoats.

Among the many outfits, show stopper Sushmita Sen’s sparkling lemon lehenga ornate with silver and zardosi motifs was the highlight of the evening. The collection will be up for grabs on the website
and will be put on display at her stores later this week. When asked about what more the designer has in
store for the year, she says, “We are refurbishing our website and expanding our offering for men by
exploring a prêt line and introducing semi-formals,” she concludes.

Price on request. Available online.