There is something very strikingly beautiful about Chhaya Mehrotra’s simplicity in designs. Modern silhouettes, subtle color palette and almost-bewildered cuts make her clothes perfect for Indian women. She shares a slice of her beautiful journey with The Lifestyle Potpourri…
How do you start your day?
The first thing I do is switch off the alarm and get that extra 15 minutes of sleep! After waking up, I glance through the newspaper with a morning cuppa of green tea and spend some time with the kids before we finish breakfast and pack for the day at factory. Breakfast is the time where, me and my husband plan out the entire day.
What shaped your outlook as a designer during your formative days?
My origins are rooted in Banaras and the variety of exposure I had across all platforms in the domestic textile industry right after NIFT molded my creative realm as a designer—from hand block printing to digital printing, hand embroidery to computerized embroidery, and designing for ethnic wedding wear to designing furnishing fabrics for Heimtextil, or high-end fashion fabrics for Texworld Paris; I knew my biggest strength lies in versatility. I take my education and experiences as the alphabet…what I write with it depends on my mood and requirement!
What inspires you to create newer designs?
Inspiration could be from almost anything. It could be a faint memory of childhood or a poem that I wrote. Sometimes it’s a place or a craft, and sometimes it could be a conversation with a kid or a friend. But inspiration isn’t enough to keep you going; it’s the instant mood lift you get when you see a sketch perfectly turned out into a garment—that excites me to create newer designs more than anything else.
Tell us an anecdote that has been consequential in your journey as a designer…
We had shifted to Noida from Banaras mainly because of family business. I just started with three tailors for my label and did exhibitions often; I was doing decent business. However, one day a long-lost family friend walks into our factory for some work and instead looks at my collection and threw a barrage of questions at me—“Why don’t you participate in fashion weeks?” and etc… On that guest’s insistence we applied and got the required membership; this was 2011. Looking at how our label is positioned now, you bet this anecdote was consequential!
Who is your favourite designer and why?
How can you pick one when it’s a sea of stunning work out there!
Amongst international designers I like Stella McCartney and Ted Baker’s creations—their sense of colour palette is very intense. Amongst Indian designers, A&T and Rajesh Pratap Singh are my favorites for their perfect approach to minimalism; Ritu Kumar inspires me for her timeless appeal to every piece of clothing; whereas Sabyasachi has touched my heart with the grandeur of detailing in his work; I also admire Rahul Mishra for the magic he created with wool, and Rajdeep Ranawat for the perfection he can bring to any cloth with a riot of colours. Lastly, I am very fond of Raw Mango and Anavila because their simple work can exude a whole lot of beauty!
Five must-haves in a woman’s wardrobe…
A handloom saree, crisp white shirt, pair of blue denims, nice perfume and an all-purpose shift dress