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Why Alia, Priyanka, Katrina LOVE her!

Last updated on: March 28, 2022 07:35 IST

Pret designers Alpana Mittal and Neeraj Chauhan are excited about showcasing their collection at the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week. 

Their label, Alpana Neeraj, entered the India Fashion Week universe in 2008. 

Known for their unapologetic, non-conformist aesthetic, the brand has been endorsed by international celebrities like Lady Gaga, Elizabeth Hurley, Nicki Minaj and Naomi Campbell.

Back home, their creations have been worn by Alia Bhatt, Katrina Kaif, Kiara Advani, Mrunal Thakur and Kubbra Sait. 

In an email interview with Anita Aikara/, the designers share details about their latest collection, the most memorable outfit they have designed for a celebrity and what made their Lady Gaga outfit so special. 

IMAGE: Designers Alpana Mittal and Neeraj Chauhan. 
Photograph: FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week/Instagram

From making a debut at the India Fashion Week in 2008, to showcasing at the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week in 2022, how has your approach to fashion changed?

I think our brand has evolved very organically since our debut in 2008.

It has evolved in its language with each showcase through all the learnings, hardships, buyer interactions as well an unravelling of our unique style.

We have gradually hit the sweet spot between functionality and fantasy.

You have showcased at the Miami Fashion Week and the Milan Fashion Week. How different is it designing for international fashion weeks as opposed to Indian ones?

The design process is practically the same as our handwriting is independent of wherever we are showing.

It is a little more challenging to show internationally as we're not on home turf.

However, the response has been as warm and welcoming as it has been in our own country.

IMAGE: A model presents a creation from their Autumn/Winter collection at the Delhi Fashion Week in 2009.
Even then, the designer duo were known for their innovative style.
Photograph: Vijay Mathur/Reuters

Can you explain the mood board of the collection? What was the creative process that went into designing the looks?

The collection celebrates a return to life after the unprecedented events of the last couple of years.

It is a celebration of the resilience and indomitable spirit of human beings and their ability to grow through challenges.

The creative process reflected how we, both as individuals and as a brand, have evolved through it all. It is a coming-of-age collection.

We gravitated towards keeping the vibe relatively minimal while the elements of fantasy we have incorporated highlight how imperative it is to keep hope alive.

What is the colour palette you played with? Which fabrics have been used?

The colours ebb and flow from neutrals like vanilla whites, beige and black into vintage pastels like peach, old rose and sea greens with pops of reds in between.

The fabrics are soft and diaphanous, incorporating organza, tulle, metallic chiffons and taffeta.

IMAGE: An outfit from Alpana Neeraj's collection for FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week 2022, which has been inspired by the Lakme Lumi Cream.
Photograph: FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week/Instagram

How long did it take to put the collection together? What were some of the challenges you faced?

The ideating process generally starts at the end of the previous season and it takes about 4-6 weeks for us to complete the actual process.

The primary challenge was hitting that sweet spot between wearability and fantasy.

We wanted to ensure that our larger-than-life ideas translated into no-fuss, high-impact outfits while retaining their ease of wear.

Could you describe the showstopping outfit?

The collection ends on a fantasy with restrained drama and tamed volumes.

The finale outfits have been sculpted and moulded with diamonds and crystals set in three-dimensional bodycon silhouettes.

Swathes of tulle and metallic organza flirt with crystal-studded bodysuits and geometric 3D structures placed strategically to enhance their demi goddess-like vibe.

IMAGE: Kubbra Sait chose this yellow Alpana Neeraj silhouette for the Vogue Beauty Awards 2018.
Photograph: (left) Hitesh Harisinghani/ and Alpana Neeraj/Instagram

You have worked with Bollywood actors and celebrities. Which has been the most memorable outfit you designed for them?

We feel honoured to have had the opportunity to work with some exceptional artistes who are icons in their field.

The one which we will always remember is designing for Priyanka Chopra for Vogue India.

It was our very first association with a Bollywood star after our debut and we were so starry-eyed and in awe.

What was designing for Lady Gaga (external link) like? Could you describe the outfit?

It was an amazing experience when her stylists reached out to us and briefed us about her performances.

We were stoked as she shares the same unapologetic theatrical vibe that our brand is known for.

The outfit she wore was a bone white sculpted pencil dress with 3D power shoulders, embellished with crystals and diamonds.

Alpana Mittal

IMAGE: Designer Alpana Mittal. Photograph: Kind courtesy Alpana Mittal/Instagram

An important fashion lesson you learnt that has helped you in your fashion journey?

(Alpana Mittal replies) One of the most valuable journeys of my life was my stint with (fashion designer) J J Valaya.

I learnt how to play with colours and the value of perfecting minute details from him.

He is undoubtedly undisputed in those qualities, apart from others.