by Meher Castelino
Most designers love to shout from the roof tops about their collections. But Anand Gupta launched his designer label AnandG Couture in Mumbai with the understated confidence of an old master who has been featured in top international magazines like Vogue andCollezioni, preferring to let his work speak for him.
The confidence and humility of Anand Gupta comes from having traversed the entire scape of the fashion industry and dealt with its highs and lows in intense measure. On the plus side, the many ‘firsts’ to his credit include being the first Indian to have a showroom in Milan in 2002, first Indian to present his collection in Milan Fashion Week, to be the backbone of the Tracey Boyd label, being directly responsible for her growth and more.
Today, AnandG’s sprawling 9000sqft atelier in central Mumbai is a dream place, with racks weighed down by exotic gowns, dresses, Indian lehengas, rich silks embellished with shimmering Swarovski, stones, zari, beautiful embroideries. He has now opened a classy 300 sq. ft. studio in Mumbai where he meets his clients only by appointment, to understand their unique requirements, their personalities, before he creates their swish garment.
Anand’s journey into fashion has been circuitous, starting in New York in 1984, where he had been dealing in real estate from the office of a garment exporter called ‘Super Craft’ on Broadway. The love affair with fashion began there, and there was no stopping him. He switched lanes, moved to India to set up a designer wear sampling and production unit, which rewarded him with a turnover of Rs 8 crore in just two years. From Delhi to Mumbai (where he launched his label Pretty Lady) to global fashion hubs, Anand rose and rose until the 1992 riots, which deeply impacted his business, driving him to near bankruptcy.
In search of new avenues he flew down to Italy, whereStefano Scarpellini trained him in his workshop/atelier inRogno Brescia on the nitty-gritty of Italian couture. He was introduced to another wonderful designer who taught him how to make high end prét garments. “Edoardo Marini my guru took me under his wing and taught me the finerpoints of real fashion. I made two collections, which he inspected for mistakes. After that I learnt that a garment’s quality starts from inside and patterns have to be technically perfect.”
Anand also worked in the atelier of Renato Balestra, created embroidered garments for Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Laura Biagiotti in Roma, Enrico Coveri in Florence and D & G; then moved from high end prét to Diffusion and onto ready-to-wear couture line.
In 2006-07 London was a big market for Anand selling to two boutiques in the English capital called Yuvish and Phulkari, to whom he still continues to supply. Collections were also presented to Stella McCarthy and designer Tracy Boyd was a regular buyer who took the full collections for the various seasons as created by Anand.
Men’s wear was alien territory for Anand but he learnt from trial and error, and soon ended up becoming the biggest beach wear specialist exporter to North Italy for 32 companies. To create more interesting collections in beach shorts, new print techniques and brighter prints with grain or pique textured effects were developed. The label “Pretty Lady” was now working with top line brands in Italy. “We had a great time. For six months we were very busy. Then for three months we did sampling and we were closed for the rest of the year.”
Anand’s collections are now sought after in the London market. Sitting in Mumbai, he is kept busy creating lavishly embroidered bridal wear for London brides. “It takes three months to make the Indian bridal wear and we have orders from 10-12 brides a month, with each ordering two garments. New collections and embroidery designs are created every month. The collection comprises 10-12 dresses, 7-8 gowns and 7-8 lehenga, choli, dupatta, sets. There are many Indian brides in London who want ethnic wear as well as bespoke gowns in their trousseaux,” informs Anand.
Anand goes the extra mile and also creates an entire theme around the wedding, from suggesting the right jewellery to team with the bridal wear, designing momentous crockery, theme linen, the entire décor of the special locations associated with the wedding.
In 2012 Anand created haute couture gloves for all the fashion shows during the spring/summer shows in Italy. His biggest clients for the sheer elegant beautifully embroidered elbow length gloves wereGiorgio Armani, John Galliano, and Roberto Cavalli. Naomi Harris, the Bond Girl from the film “Skyfall” wore his sequinned embroidered mini in 2011 for one ofthe Londonevents.
Featured in Collezioni Moda, Sposa and Haute Couture, Vogue London and Fashion Italy,Anand G’s “Pretty Lady” Label is a much respected brand amongst the designers of the European fashion world.
For Indian women who want to get the feel of European and British styling with Indian sensibilities; the AnandG label will give them an international feel of high end couture from both genres.