Anuradha is known more of a revivalist of textile crafts than a `fashion designer`, simply because the base of her designs are always traditional Indian textiles and in her own small ways she contributes towards their preservation. She`s one of India`s most unlikely designers Armed with a Masters` in Business Administration from Michigan, U.S., and experience in a corporate house, she moved on to combine all that she is and all that she had imbibed, driven by her passion for Indian textile crafts.
She works mainly with hand woven natural fibre fabrics and travels extensively in her search for the unusual and beautiful. She works with master weavers and crafts people in most textile centres, which range from Kalamkari hand painters in Kalahasthi, Andhra Pradesh to Bandhani karigars in Mundra. Her designs are timeless and are very simply cut, as the focus is always on the textile, weave, print and the craft. Predictably, she has a clientele from the fields of arts, theatre and design.
She prefers that her clothes be worn by a selective few. Every season, new collections are put together which are usually based on a particular textile craft. Each of these comes after months of intense travels and experiments and with sheer ingenuity of her craftsmen. Lately, the emphasis in her work has been on using vegetable dyes in most craft traditions. With the world waking up to the environment issues, these are so much more relevant today.
A contemporary designer with modern sensibilities, she infuses life in to often-neglected craft farms, introducing new design idiom, revitalizing and motivating the craftsmen to break away from the mundane. The style is distinctly individualistic, sophisticated and deeply rooted in Indian ethos. The silhouettes range from purely Indian to fusion styles. Her belief in `beauty in simplicity` is common to all her timeless collections in hand-woven natural-fiber fabrics.
For the past nine years, her entire body of work, epitomized in the eponymous label produced by her design company Noor, has striven to ensure its survival by making it relevant to contemporary fashion. Her label Noor came in to being four years ago, out of her passion for handlooms and now retails from Ogaan in New Delhi and Kolkata, `Carma` in Delhi, `Melange` in Mumbai `Anuradha Vakil` in Ahmedabad, Ffolio in Bangalore, Madras and Cochin and her own shop Noor in Ahmedabad.
Anuradha started off with a subtly worked range of indigo dyed saris and kurta/churidars featuring Kutchi bandhini and badla work. Innovation came not only from the contemporisation of the traditional Kutchi colour palette and adaptation of the resist dye techniques, but Vakil also showed some interesting design features with daringly low plunging `V` necks and a well managed square neck that dipped low at the back.Other of her ranges featured Chettinad weaving, and an empathetic mélange of antique and contemporary pieces.
It was a truly Indian collection! Anuradha seamlessly blended old textiles with the new for a collection that looked fit for a Mughal princess. Her showstopper was Shabana Azmi, who walked in a royal blue embellished sari worn with a deep red blouse and bandhini stole.