Enter designer Radhika More's boutique Enaya, nestled in a bylane at Aundh, and you're greeted with the warm glow of yellow lights reflecting off the racks. The wooden floor boards are contrasted with the deep blues, greens, pinks and reds of the clothes. Upstairs, you hear the sewing machine going on, with no breaks. Make your way to the source of the sound, and you see fabrics and threads, mannequins, some dressed, some bare, and five members of her staff immersed in their work. This look around gives you a peak into what trends the city can expect to don next season.
Radhika, in the midst of showing the kaarigars the kind of gold sequin work she is expecting on the pink silk fabric, says, “We have been doing a lot of heavy Indian wear. The wedding season has kept us busy.” The weddings will continue and so will the churning out of designer wear. A lot of the embroidery being done is with gold threads and amidst the fabrics strewn about, you spot brocades brought from Benaras, a variety of silks, georgettes and chiffons. “For summer, pastels – yellow, orange, mango – ruled my collection. Now, I'm looking towards more deeper, winter colours. In western wear, I'll be using velvet. Silk fitted dresses too will be on the racks. A little threadwork on the yolk, and an addition of pleats on some of the georgette dresses would make for fine evening wear,” says this young designer, who in a span of close to three years has found a niche for herself in the city's design arena. Her experience is backed by a degree from the School of Fashion Technology (Pune), a degree in Fashion Management from Cavendish College London and Pattern Cutting from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, UK.
Other dresses that she is working on are asymmetrical dresses, rich silk tubes and off-shoulder gowns and short dresses. “In Pune, for western wear particularly, my target is the young working girl - she has spending power and a taste for trends. Sometimes, clients like to customise dresses that are already on display or they want to replicate it in different colours,” she adds. Her typical design process starts with understanding what her client is looking for. Post some sketching and talks, comes the sourcing of fabrics. “We mainly get our fabrics from Delhi and smaller places up north, never from Pune. It's more economical that way,” she reveals. “Then I sit with my Masterji, get his view on the design and once everything is set, we go ahead.” As she speaks, the pattern cutters go about their work, at the end of which they mark a green raw silk fabric for the embroidery. “A basic fit is then done, before the final stitching,” Radhika adds.
In an adjoining room, one finds more fabrics and some ready outfits. “The last season has had an overdose of anarkalis, so the next will be something fresh and different. I'm working on a variation of dhoti-pants, patialas and semi-patialas with short, fitted tops. And there's a combination of different work – cross-stitch borders, brocade yolks, a mix of fabrics,” she reveals, adding, “And there won't be two of a kind owing to the experimentation we do.”