From India, With Love
Friday, June 15, 2012

Emirati Lamya Abedin’s Queen of Spades now has a new range — the Maharani Collection, inspired by Indian queens and the regality of Indian clothes, cuts and colours. The much-feted designer tells wknd. what went into her creative workshop

The inspiration behind the Maharani collection is Indian culture: when and how did you get acquainted with Indian culture?

The richness of Indian culture and its traditions have fascinated me. I have always included an Indian touch to my previous collections — be it in the sari abayas or the accessories. There is art in the fabrics they use... This time I wanted to do something more than that: study the culture, the art and the fashion well and create a dedicated collection. My eyes shifted to the beautiful dupattas, ghagra skirts, ghararas and cholis. They got me inspired. You will find the Chunri Abaya, the Dupatta Abaya, and the Ghagra Abaya all incorporated into this collection. 

CLOSE TO HER HEART: The richness of Indian culture and its traditions have fascinated Lamya Abedin

Did you go to India to do research for the collection?

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to travel to India as yet. However, my Indian friends and the large Indian population [in the UAE] have definitely been of great help. It is a place I do dream to visit. I believe it’s got the best workmanship and a vast variety of handiwork that beats most countries. The fabrics are like pieces of art, their embroideries are breathless, and their blend of colours is mind-blowing. If it wasn’t as I say, it wouldn’t have reached out globally and made a mark in the fashion industry. 
Famous designers from across the globe have had at least one collection with Indian culture incorporated. I would love to visit Rajasthan, feel its heritage and see its regal forts and palaces. Another place I’d love to visit would be Goa, where East meets West. I also want to visit Kolkata, Kashmir, Ladakh, Ooty, Manali, Bangalore, Pune, Delhi and, of course, Mumbai! Wow, what a long list!

Does Bollywood influence your work in any form?

Bollywood has always been there since we were kids… I love watching the gorgeous Indian actresses and have monitored how their fashion has evolved over the years.

How big is the demand for India-inspired fashion here?

It is much bigger than I thought. People absolutely love it and feel comfortable and glamorous when wearing India-inspired clothes.

Tell us something about the range: the cuts, the colours, the embellishments…

I felt I would have been very ungenerous if I had chosen a specific tone, so I used all the colours used in the Indian traditional Festival of Colours. I played with the prints by mixing together vibrant and abstract pieces, and adding all sorts of hues, blending in fuschia, yellow, green and purple... I used a vibrant assortment of materials and fabrics including silk, brocade (banarsi), velvet and chiffon to create alluringly glamorous pieces: embellished and draped dupatta scarfs; embroidered, or plain and flowing down the back, or draped over the shoulder Duppata Abayas; complemented by the more traditional, decorative and jewelled Chunri Abaya collection. The Ghagra Abaya is crafted from the flowing lines of the ghagra skirt.  

The cuts of the abayas, the choice of fabrics and textures used are, once again, an artistic exploration with linens, block printing, self-embroidery, suede, cotton, and lace, incorporated into the design to bring extra dimension in the texture and to enhance the beauty of the designs.

The fabrics are further adorned with unique techniques that incorporate zari work, ribbon work, mirror work, zardozi and sequence work, and hand embroidery and chunri (tie-and-dye) to instil the Maharani Abayas with an authentic, regal feel.

What has the feedback been so far?

The response has been fabulous; I believe this collection was a happy one, one with beautiful radiant colours symbolising a bright future. People have come to love it and are asking for more. The kind comments I get through phone calls, Facebook, Twitter and personal emails — not only from Dubai, but from all around the world — have really touched my heart. Such responses push me towards my next step: I had promised myself to always challenge myself so that I come out with the brightest and most incredible ideas to suit the tastes of our ever-trendy ladies.

Where can one get to purchase this collection and what is the price range?

At Galeries Lafayette in Dubai Mall. The price range starts from Dh2,900.

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