A little after 10pm, Arjun Kapoor took a bow in front of Anamika Khanna. A few hours before he told The Telegraph backstage: “I am so happy that I am walking for Anamika. If there is one person that I wanted to meet in fashion for the longest time, it was her…. Her work speaks. She is very comfortable being who she is and is not seasonal. She doesn’t chase the temporary high of what is relevant today. She is timeless”.
Janhvi Kapoor couldn’t stop clapping. Earlier in the afternoon, Sridevi’s daughter was recounting how her first investment was an Anamika Khanna lehnga. “So, recently she sent over a lehnga for me to wear for one of my events and I liked it so much. I messaged Tanya, my stylist, if I could buy it. And then Anamika was like: ‘Just keep it’. It is invaluable, that piece. It’s the first investment I would say I made that I want to pass on. I remember mom used to do this. She used to buy clothes and she used to keep it and she used to be like: ‘I’ll pass it on to you all’. It was the first piece I wore which made me feel that if I ever have a daughter, I would want to keep this and pass it on to her,” she told The Telegraph at her ITC Royal Bengal room.
A Wednesday. Long after the pulsating beats had stopped, the heart and the mind hadn’t stop doing cartwheels. Cartwheels of being part of the audience at Royal Calcutta Golf Club at Blenders Pride Fashion Tour powered by Fashion Design Council of India. Cartwheels of pure joy at having witnessed ecstasy unfold on the ramp. Anamika Khanna’s unbridled imagination. And, the passionate expression of the same.
A three-tier pyramid. Intriguing figures merging into the interplay of light and shadow. Only to spring to life with dynamic charm, much like the black-and-white ramp made aesthetically evocative with mask-like designs, that came to life with Anamika’s magic realism. The magic of Indian art and craft and Anamika’s fountain of optimism in giving it a contemporary and international vocabulary. The celebration of the diverse culture of India and channelling a ferocious dialogue to embrace it with all your idiosyncrasies.
Her woman was an effortless superwoman. Resplendent in her romance and power, yet relaxed, much like the fluid vigour in her ensembles. The manifold interpretations expressed through ruffles, pleating, embroidery, layering, trails, capes, volume and colours formed one beautiful canvas, mirroring the painstaking effort. A visual treat. A craft paradise. Eclectic and cool. The story included satins, silks, cottons, lace, organza and tulle. A simple cotton dress made edgy with ruffles and statement earrings. An embroidered oh-so-hot jacket dress or that fiery chikan ensemble. There was a nomadic charm about Anamika’s women, but at the same time a striking sensibility of rootedness. The classic Anamika ivory was followed by colours and opulent youthfulness. The bibs. The earrings. The footwear. Goosebumps.
Her men were classic crisp. In prints and in sneakers. In embroidered jackets with sneakers. In Zen pants and kantha jackets. In clashing prints. Suave and mint-fresh.
Congratulatory handshakes, warm hugs and a zillion compliments later, Anamika seemed bare of a ‘blenders pride’, but washed over by the astonishing awkwardness of an artist, not belonging to the arclights, but who answers her heart’s call. “I think it’s in my heart. What I do, it comes from within. And it’s a process. I have reached a stage where I have sort of started feeling the clothes more than just making them,” she told The Telegraph post-show.