Anjul Bhandari expresses her legacy of chikankari in a scintillating, deep red

The celebrated couturier - known for refining and redefining heritage techniques such as Chikankari and Kaamdani – presented a stunning tableau of her skill, expertise and efforts in revival as she works with over many craftswomen & men in Lucknow.

September 14, 2022: "When I was traveling to Lucknow, and we crossed Kannauj, I came across these striking red roses and instantly felt inspired,” says ace designer Anjul Bhandari about her Festive 2022 collection Surkh Lal. The couturier launched her collection at in New Delhi, amidst beautiful installments created by Aaquib Wani Design.

Red lehenga by Anjul Bhandari

Reminiscent of the roses of Kannauj, profound and striking shades of red took centerstage as they made their bold debut into Ms. Bhandari's realm of Chikankari. Five thousand shola flowers made with eco-friendly paper ensured a veritable garden of roses was created within the store! “As a design house, we've always been synonymous with soft pastels, so it was a tad challenging to experiment with such a bold hue. Keeping the soul of the chikankari intact, and without compromising on its elegance, we organically dyed our beads, which were done specifically only for this range in red,” shares the designer. 

This assortment comprising 15 exquisite ensembles came to life with many dexterous handworks. An array of lehengas, shararas, sarees and Anarkali’s take us back to the historic town of Kannauj, known for the iconic itr (Indian perfume). Surkh Laal is a cornucopia of visually arresting hues, lightweight designs, tone-on-tone cascading embroideries, on-trend cuts and forgiving silhouettes - which make it apt for today's evolved fashionistas looking for some key evergreen pieces.

Red lehenga by Anjul Bhandari
The craft of Kaamdani came to life with the exquisite Eid Saree, on which an entire year is spent on embellishments. Its name comes from the fact that it takes one Eid to another Eid to create this saree made with the tiniest fardi (the mukaish dana) in two colours. The Mahee saree, a one-of-a-kind garment made exclusively with fish motifs, is considered auspicious in Awadh. This is a significant motif in the design vocabulary of the region that comes alive as Ms. Bhandari pulls out some of the oldest blocks from her repertoire. The fish motif differs in different parts of the saree: border, jaal & pallu, making it a true heirloom.
The Dagla, a unique piece showcased at the launch, is a piece worn by the Nawabs. Its jacket has a tie-up on the inside, much like an angrakha, yet a very different silhouette stitched exclusively in Lucknow. Again, a unique piece to be shown at this viewing.

Red lehenga by Anjul Bhandari
The striking Multi-bead Lehenga is particular with multi-coloured beads and features two different coloured Swarovski crystals. The lehenga, dupatta, and blouse combine for an estimated 30,000 crystals.

"This showcase is truly representative of the crafts that we have been working on keeping alive. We work with craftspersons on Chikankari and Kamdani in and around Lucknow This show is really an apt showcase of what their skilled hands can create!" says Ms. Bhandari.

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