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Mandira designs saris for women who rule the world

March 13, 2014 19:17 IST

Mandira designs saris for women who rule the world

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"My mother made me realise that the sari is one of the few outfits where you can never go wrong. You can wear it to office, a corporate event, a birthday party or even a wedding. It’s a versatile outfit."

Mandira Bedi, who presented her first-ever collection of saris on Day 2 of the Lakme Fashion where nine extraordinary women – including her mother Geeta Bedi – showcased her designs, speaks candidly with Divya Nair about her inspiration for choosing to design saris, how she manages to stay so fit while sharing two cents of advice on how to drape the nine-yard.

From noodle straps to backless blouses, Mandira Bedi has led the way for the modern day women through her sartorial choice of saris.

So when she announced her first ever collection at the Lakme Fashion Week, the excitement was phenomenal.

Unlike most other actor turned designers who have celebrity showstoppers, Bedi chose Jamuna Pai, founder chairperson, Blush cosmetic clinic, matrimonial lawyer Mrunalini Deshmukh, Schauna Chauhan, CEO, Parle Agro, nutritionist Pooja Makhija, celebrity blogger MissMalini, celebrity fitness trainer Yasmin Karachiwala, gynaecologist Dr Kiran Coelho and jewellery designer Shaheen Abbas to present her collection.

For Bedi, who says she derived her inspiration for saris from her mom, there was no two thoughts about who her showstopper was going to be.

Geeta Bedi -- Mandira Bedi’s mother -- who walked the ramp for the debutante designer was overwhelmed and was short of words to describe her daughter’s hard work.

“I feel proud of her and I’m happy to be her mother. I’m also happy that she chose me to launch her collection,” Mandira’s mother said after the event while addressing media and well-wishers.

In a candid conversation with Divya Nair after the show, Mandira Bedi talks about her inspiration for choosing to design saris, how she manages to stay so fit while sharing two cents of advice on how to drape the nine-yard…

Tell us a bit about your collection

My first collection is about celebrating real women of today. From the colours, to the designs and the people who walked the show, everything has been carefully picked by me. Since it’s a summer collection, I chose to experiment with colours like blue, orange, yellow, violet and fuchsia and fluid fabrics like georgette and chiffon.

Who is your inspiration for fashion?

Even when I was a kid, I’ve always admired my mom for her saris. I just love the way she carries it off. It’s she who made me realise that the sari is one of the few outfits where you can never go wrong. You can wear it to office, a corporate event, a birthday party or even a wedding. It’s a versatile outfit.

For fashion, I don’t have any personal inspiration or favourites. I just pick what colours I like and personalise it to suit the occasion.

As long as the cut, length, fit and colour of the outfit suits you, it doesn’t matter whether you are wearing a sari, tshirt or a kurta.

Please click Next to read the interview...

Lakme Fashion Week: Full Coverage


Image: Mandira Bedi with her mother Geeta Bedi who showstopped for her debut collection on Day 2 of Lakme Fashion Week
Photographs: Lakme Fashion Week

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'Although it looks easy on stage, it takes a lot of time and patience to design an entire collection'

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From an actor to television host and now designer…how has the journey been for you?

It’s an ongoing journey and I don’t feel like I have quit one for the other. I still love talking and being in front of the camera. It has been an exciting journey for me and today is a special day for me for two reasons -- one, I got to showcase my first collection and second, my mom was my showstopper.

Why did you choose to design saris?

I have always loved saris and since the time I hosted the cricket show, people have complimented me for my choice of saris. I always wanted to do something of my own. As you know, I have never been to a design school so I don’t know what it takes to design a collection. I felt like a child learning the tricks. A lot of people asked me ‘why saris’ and I told them why not?

People tell me saris are traditional and are dying, but I feel they are here to stay. It is one of the few outfits that looks good on everyone and is timeless.

Were you nervous about your first collection?

Yes, I was. Although it looks easy on stage, it takes a lot of time and patience to design an entire collection.

The last week has been very hectic. It felt like a decade. I was nervous how it would turn out to be, but I hope I did a good job. I don’t know what the audience feels, but I’m happy I could deliver.

Why did you choose these special women to walk for your first show?

When I started to design my collection, the idea was to design it keeping the every day women in mind. Each of these women who walked today is special and dear to me. To me they are superstars and deserve every bit of stardom. Dr Kiran Coelho is the one who helped deliver my baby. My son is now a little over two years.

Even today, Dr Coelho helped another woman deliver a kid before she came here. My mom flew all the way from Delhi to be with me on my special day. It’s the best gift she could give me.

How did you convince these women to walk for you?

None of these women have walked the ramp before. They did it only for me because I told them that it’s my first collection and I want to dedicate it to all my superstars. I could not think of anyone else to present my collection and I’m glad they agreed.

I admire my mom and my inspiration for saris come from her. Although this was the first time she walked on stage, I felt she was more confident than I was. While all of them went on stage, backstage I was feeling very emotional and was worried I would come on stage and cry.

I hugged each one of them because their presence really means a lot for me.

Interestingly, you’re not wearing a sari yourself…

Yes, you’re right. Today is an exception. I wear a sari to almost every event but today is not my day. It’s their day and I particularly wanted these special women to present my saris because I have designed it for women like them who are out there ruling the world.

It’s my way of thanking and remembering them.

Please click Next to read the interview...


Image: From left: Jamuna Pai, Dr Kiran Coelho and Yasmin Karachiwala
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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'What you're wearing should be reflective of who you are'

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How do you manage to stay so fit? Please share some fitness tips.

I’m a crazy fitness freak. Today, I was really busy as I had to be at the venue by 7 am, but otherwise, I run at least 10 kilometres every day, and you can see the results for yourself.

I don’t eat junk and I swear by healthy foods. Thankfully, I’m able to strike the balance.

The key is to know how much your body needs and to feed it exactly that. Not more, not less. Don’t starve, don’t exert.

Tips for women who’d like to wear a sari for the first time

Use three safety pins -- one to pin up those pleats, one to pin the sari with your petticoat and one to pin the pallu to the blouse.

If you ask me for my personal preference of how to drape the sari, I think the pallu looks good when you let it float on your arm.

I’m not a great fan of pleating the pallu and pinning it up. I feel it destroys the fluidity of the outfit.

While I’m all for experimenting with the sari blouse -- you can team the sari with a tshirt, spaghetti or a corset; the drape is what ultimately matters.

What are your future plans?

I have always been brave enough to follow my heart, that’s how I entered the entertainment industry. A lot of people think I jump from one to another. But that’s not the case, I love what I do and I only do what I love.

I don’t intend to quit acting or anchoring anytime soon for anything good or better.

At the same time, design is my newfound love and I’ve just begun. I’m just one show old; I have so much to learn from this show.

I would love to do more shows, but I’ve made up my mind, I won’t overdo it. So, you’ll have to wait for at least a year until I unveil my next collection.

Please share some fashion tips for our readers

A lot of people pick up stuff randomly from a shop or from a designer just because they love the colour or the shape of the outfit. I’d suggest people to understand their skin and body first and pick things that would highlight their best attributes.

Like my husband says: your best accessory is your smile.

So, anything you wear, you have to remember to personalise it. At the end of the day, what you’re wearing should be reflective of who you are.

Please click Next to see Mandira Bedi’s collection...


Image: A model showcases Mandira Bedi design
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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'What you're wearing should be reflective of who you are'

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50 shades of... blue? Mandira's trademark spaghetti strap blouse makes a smashing appearance as part of her debut collection.

Please click Next to see Mandira Bedi’s collection...


Image: A model showcases Mandira Bedi design
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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'What you're wearing should be reflective of who you are'

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Yet another daring sari on the runway

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Image: A model showcases Mandira Bedi design
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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'What you're wearing should be reflective of who you are'

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Two thumbs up for the stunning sari border.

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Image: A model showcases Mandira Bedi design
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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'What you're wearing should be reflective of who you are'

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Make way for the goddess in a sari. Toned abs, absolutely necessary.

Please click Next to see Mandira Bedi’s collection...


Image: A model showcases Mandira Bedi design
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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'What you're wearing should be reflective of who you are'

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Dare to wear this one only after a month of serious workout in the gym.

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Image: A model showcases Mandira Bedi design
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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'What you're wearing should be reflective of who you are'

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Our very favourite Alecia Raut towers in this stunning sari.

Please click Next to see Mandira Bedi’s collection...


Image: A model showcases Mandira Bedi design
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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'What you're wearing should be reflective of who you are'

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Opting to give the sari a pass herself, Mandira Bedi gave us a hint of her sexy abs as she took to the runway in a figure-hugging top and a pair of fitted jeans. Woot!


Image: Fashion designer Mandira Bedi with her models who showcased her creations
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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