Fashion mogul Anita Dongre finds new reasons to fall in love with Rajasthan on every trip. She tells us how the state influences her art.
T+L Which handicrafts of Rajasthan do you like?
Anita Dongre Gota patti is a revelation. While it manages to create a regal look, it is surprisingly light and easy to wear.Some other handicrafts I often work on, include cut danawork, zari, thread work, batik, and mirror work. It is beautiful to witness how the old crafts of Rajasthan are nurtured and are still very much alive today.
T+L Any Rajasthani royals whose fashion choices you admire?
Anita I find two women from the Rajasthani royal families really interesting, one of them being Rajkumari Diya Kumari of Jaipur. She has impeccable taste in arts, crafts, and fashion. She was personally groomed by her grandmother and is rooted in reality, while also being a custodian of a rich legacy, and keeping the art and culture of the royal family alive. I also admire Rajkumari Siddhi Kumari of Bikaner, who runs a museum on Bikaneri art and culture inside Junagarh Palace, Bikaner.
T+L Locals designers/boutiques you visit while in town?
Anita I am particularly fond of Ayush Kafliwal’s AKFD design studio in Jaipur. AKFD uses local crafts such as beaten brass, stone carving, and mirror work—the kind that have evolved over centuries.
T+L Fashion accessories to buy in Rajasthan?
Anita Though the state is a storehouse of colourful fashion accessories, my personal favourites are the lac bangles.
T+L Favourite restaurants and bars in Rajasthan?
Anita Whenever I’m in Jaipur, I make it a point to visit Anokhi Café.
T+L Where in the world do you find the most fashionable people?
Anita For me, it would be Milan, Italy.
T+L A global fashion hub you keep returning to?
Anita Though I don’t have enough time at hand to visit at present, but I would really like to return to Italy. I find its rich art and culture really inspiring.
T+L What is your idea of an ideal vacation? What’s next on your list?
Anita A vacation for me is being in any place without an agenda. My next trip will be to Austria in October.
T+L Rajasthan has quite evidently been an inspiration behind your designs. What do you look forward to during trips?
Anita I keep looking for new elements whenever I visit the state, and I find myself intrigued with the different fabrics, artwork, handicraft, and embroideries that hold years of history. We recently shot the latest collection of Grassroots at the Karauli City Palace, home to some of the finest paintings of the Rajputana era. It is truly amazing to see the royal family’s sustained efforts that have established Karauli as a leading historic, artistic, and spiritual destination.