Quintessentially Smitten

Quintessentially Smitten

Classy and contemporary couture, coupled with a fine lineage in fashion and you have someone who can work magic on the Indian bride. With less than a decade into her own label, and with an incessant thirst for design perfection, designer Jayanti Reddy surely has the style power to transform the bride into no less than a sensuous Indian diva. Born and raised in Hyderabad, Jayanti earned a major in Business Administration and Marketing at Case Western Reserve University, Ohio. After graduation she started her eponymous label in 2012. With no formal training in fashion, and being a self-taught and self-reliant individual, she was always drawn towards creativity even as a child. 

“I’m not bound by any rules which I sometimes see as an advantage. My mother was very creative and had a flare for fashion and I think that rubbed off on me. That’s when I decided to enter the field, myself. Luckily, things went very well and with a lot of encouragement from everyone, there was no looking back,” says Jayanti.

Hence, with time and a passion towards fashion began the story of this design jewel. Every piece of Jayanti’s collection is created with intricate detailing, all while keeping in mind the needs of the modern Indian woman. Her attire is fit for every type of woman, and she turns the world into a personal runway for each of her muses. 

“My label epitomises an elegant and relatively understated sense of style with a strong emphasis on naturally dyed, hand woven textiles that are embellished with intricate hand embroidery. While the casual wear pieces are designed to be versatile, the evening formal and festive collections are occasion worthy and timeless,” shares Jayanti.

Her design story revolves around the royal touch in fashion designing in a way that’s not only interesting, but finds a voice of its own. As a designer, she has always had an eye out for details. Everything around her seems to embolden her creative impulses, be it people, travel, or even art. She is immensely inspired by India’s traditional weaves, and tries to create awareness towards our craftsmen and their talent. Her biggest challenge today is trying to keep up with the fast pace glamour of the fashion industry, as her idea of fashion is that of a woman who is confident. It’s an extension of one’s own intellect.

“My current collection is based on the likes of–Varanasi, Kashi Benares. A city of unwavering faith and the heart of Hinduism that lends its name to the warp and weft–two sets of yarn threads that run horizontally on the loom while weaving the yarn. Warp refers to the threads that are strung vertically, like fast paced modern people while weft is like the traditions and culture. Together they create an ensemble worth remembering.   

“Benares, much like the Indian bride, refuses to be defined. It is both old and new, traditional and challenging, ancient yet relevant,” says Jayanti.She further adds, “The collection is inspired by this glorious, complex city celebrating the modern Indian bride with its weaves. It celebrates every colour, from beige to navy blue, to peaches, reds, and mint greens. The collection features anarkalis , drapes, peplum tops, lehengas and saris giving the collection a holistic wearability.”

Handicraft plays a major role in defining her design language. With her label, she aims to contribute towards the handicraft industry of the country. “Handicrafts are a technique that India is known for, and is facing a great threat.  However, as a responsible designer, I feel we should bring back the lost art to it’s prior glory. Also, it would create employment opportunities for many skilled craftsmen all over India. The Jayanti Reddy organisation employs 70 skilled in-house craftsmen and indirectly employs around 100 other vendors. Along with that, we also work with a lot of weavers in Benares,” says Jayanti.

The worlds of art and fashion have simultaneously co-existed and collided for centuries. Their unique relationship, which over the years has witnessed the continuous overlapping of the disciplines. And as the distinction between the two become increasingly blurred, it has not been without controversy. Fashion has often been regarded the lesser of the two–art’s “frivolous other” with the question of superiority always at the forefront of discussion. 

Jayanti believes that fashion is a wearable form of art. Both aspects are interlinked and a mirror of the society. She says that art and fashion play a major role in influencing designers and their work aesthetics. It gives their designs a language harmony and  the ability to innovate. She also states that, re-innovation is certainly an aspect that the contemporary designers are looking at,  while also decoding modern forms of traditional silhouettes. 

Today, she has an online store catering to the international market and a celebrity clientele that keeps her in the news constantly. She keeps abreast with current trends by strengthening her social media presence. By becoming active on Instagram and she is all set to  take her label into its next phase. “We have had a great response for my latest collection.  I think it’s important to acknowledge this phase. Right now, I am focusing on more of a breather and rejuvenation period, so that I can bounce back again,” concludes Jayanti.

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja is a feature writer at L'Officiel India. She is a silver jewellery hoarder and an aesthete of all arts. You can find her unraveling new stories day in and day out.