Malika Varma believes that the “timing is right”. The timing to take over the Malika’s Kantha Collection baton from veteran kantha revivalist and mother, the inimitable Shamlu Dudeja. “Mum is always there with us. She will be 83 in May. What she has done for kantha, I don’t think anyone else could have done. I had her at home for 11 months (in the lockdown), while I launched my website on her 82nd birthday. And, it was with so much joy that she was handing over (the charge),” Malika tells t2. Both mother and daughter started the brand 35 years ago. While Malika took a break in the middle, she is now back in full swing with “new ideas” and dreams.
Like menswear, which has been on her mind for a while and this Poila Baisakh sees the unveiling of MKC Men. “We have of course dressed men right through. Sanjay Dutt has worn our kantha. All the governors have worn it. I, however, feel we haven’t done justice to men. For me, it was satisfying because these pieces are masterpieces by virtue of them being done in Bengal by the women in the villages,” says Malika. She wants to free kantha from the “traditional box” that the craft has been put into. “We need to change that perspective,” she says.
For this special shoot, the idea was to further just that. Kantha paired with denims and sneakers. What fun!