Exclusive: Zara Umrigar Doles Out Deets On Her New Collection Anastasia

by Jehana Antia

Sonakshi Sinha in Zara Umrigar at the photoshoot of collection Anastasia, MyFashgram

Taking after her dazzling designer mother Sabita Dhanrajgir Umrigar, Zara Umrigar is herself a leading lady when it comes to designer-wear, not just in the country but also globally. An alumni of London School of Economics, Zara decided to go ahead with her dreams and pursue them to the fullest and well, today she stands tall with a label worn by Bollywood and Hollywood celebs alike.

When we think ‘Zara Umrigar’, the first few words that come to mind are timelessness, intricacy, detailing and beauty. Embodying just that, Zara is about to launch her newest and latest collection ‘Anastasia’ in collaboration with Dabangg diva, Sonakshi Sinha. In a quest to recreate ‘Old World’ glamour, Zara turned to the place she calls home. Gyan Bagh Palace, a majestic surprise in the city Hyderabad has served not only as Zara’s maternal family home but also an inspiration for Anastasia.

Inspired by the palace’s intricate detailing and opulent architecture, Zara’s new hand embroidered collection incorporating beads, sequins, zardozi, thread work and crystals, makes for the ideal pick for any modern woman of today. Zara chooses none other than Sonakshi Sinha as her muse to show just why her collection has been conceptualised for the strong yet elegant woman. Perfect pick, don’t you think?

Got you envisioning, haven’t we? Well, who better than the master creator herself to tell you what Anastasia is all about? MFG speaks exclusively to Zara Umrigar herself and here’s what she has to say…

Give us an insight on the brand’s ethos.

The brand is best defined by classic silhouettes and intricate, bold embroidery. I believe in creating pieces that will remain classic at any point in time, yet have an edge to them. I love adding in one thing to each of the gowns that makes a statement.

Sonakshi Sinha in Zara Umrigar at the photoshoot of collection Anastasia, MyFashgram

How much of the brand’s aesthetic is a reflection of you?

A big part of who I am is portrayed in my pieces. I am instantly drawn to anything that is old world or vintage and find the greatest inspiration in the smallest details. I love to experiment and push boundaries but while sticking to a certain aesthetic and that does carry through in my collections as well. I am always inspired to find ways to combine chic and edgy.

From being an LSE student to entering the world of ‘Haute Couture’, how does that happen?

I watched my mother, Sabita Dhanrajgir Umrigar design and create embroidered Indian wear from a very young age and was always taken up by the intricacies of the work that went into making each piece. After LSE, I did a detailed fashion design course at the London College of Fashion and worked under my mother for 2 years before starting my own label. Fashion has always been a big passion of mine and I knew it was only a matter of time till I followed that calling. However, studying at LSE did teach me how to run my own business and that has proved to be very beneficial over the last few years!

What about ‘old world glamour’ do you like best?

I love how subtly sexy it is. There is such an elegance, charm and character in anything ‘Old World’. I very often feel like I should have lived in a different time!

From Stella Jean’s 2015 collection inspired by Indian architecture and more to Louis Vuitton’s men’s collection inspired by palaces, It’s not new that India inspires several. How does Gyan Bagh Palace inspire you and in what way?

Gyan Bagh Palace is where my mother was raised and maternal family continue to live, so it’s really like I re-discovered a little piece of where I come from. Filled with countless memories, stunning architecture and art, it’s easy to find inspiration in ever corner of the palace. I did try to recreate that old world glamour in this collection while bringing in a modern edge to the pieces.
Sonakshi Sinha in Zara Umrigar at the photoshoot of collection Anastasia, MyFashgram

Why the name ‘Anastasia’?

Anastasia has several meanings, one being ‘Grand Princess’. It’s powerful and pretty – just like our collection. I have always loved this regal name and felt like it was the perfect fit for the ‘Royalty Meets Couture’ vibe of this collection.

How have you interpreted the Palace’s opulence into your collection?

I went through old pictures of the palace, the grand balls they would throw, the way they’d dress and just what it was like to live in a palace during that time. I sketched out intricate details of the palace that inspired me most and re-created it in a lot of my embroidery designs while sticking to elegant, chic silhouettes. From long trains to chokers and high slits, this collection was the perfect blend of feminine and brave.

Sonakshi Sinha in Zara Umrigar at the photoshoot of collection Anastasia, MyFashgram

From Shilpa Shetty to Kriti Sanon and several other Bolly bigwigs donning your outfits, what led you to choose Sonakshi?

Sonakshi is not only absolutely beautiful but also has an elegance about her that one doesn’t come across easily. The kind of person that is strong and powerful yet knows how to let her hair down. She is not only one of my best friends but has been also been the most amazing support right from the start.

Sonakshi Sinha in Zara Umrigar at the photoshoot of collection Anastasia, MyFashgram

Any particular reason that you prefer hand embroidery in your collection?

Hand embroidery is one of the most beautiful forms of art that exist and the patience and skill that goes into it are immense. Being able to bring my embroidery designs to life while incorporating it on to stunning silhouettes is really the best kind of combination. Everyone that wears one of these pieces knows the detail that went into creating it. I think embroidery brings dimension and character to an outfit.

Which of the pieces did you absolutely fall in love while creating?

The long sleeved black gown is the one I enjoyed creating most. I sketched the embroidery to match the detailed carvings you find in many of the staircases in the palace and mixed it in with modern lines and a huge train that made it so grand.

Sonakshi Sinha in Zara Umrigar at the photoshoot of collection Anastasia, MyFashgram

Have you gone the minimal way or maximalist way with this collection and why?

I don’t think it’s either. It’s a blend between minimalist, chic silhouettes and striking, bold embroidery.

Who did you envision wearing the clothes while creating them?

Sonakshi was my muse for this collection. I can’t imagine anyone bringing my pieces to life the way she did!

What’s in the pipeline? (‘coz we can’t wait!)

I just launched my e-commerce store, have my third store launch in the pipeline and I am already working on my spring/summer ’18 collection!

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