reating a collection has the ability of bringing one close to terminal despair flipping to utter joy, all in the blink of a peacock's eye. 48 hours before this image was taken the Tulip Dress did not exist. Neither did much of the collection. A sudden monsoon in the South of India had put a hold on printing the linen sampling lengths. Sure, in the meantime there were other styles to be finalising. Tweaking embroideries here, amending a sleeve there, perhaps removing a collar, but the hopeful smiles couldn’t disguise the redundant shears sitting on a vast white sampling cutting table and Master-ji idly sorting out his patterns whilst discussing cricket with a colleague.
The cloth arrives (in my long career it always has, somehow. I put it down to a lot of us praying...). We are at once uplifted beyond joy to see four chaps wearing a fabulous assortment of Madras check shirts, walk into the room together and in pairs carrying bales of precious cargo. I gasp as wonderful new prints are unfolded. The room is now festooned with a cornucopia of colourful flowers. I touch each length. The patterned cloth is a tangible realisation of my creation. They are spanking new but oh, so familiar. I want to sit with them for a while. Take tea and talk to them. They are like friends after all. I know this moment can't last as I drape lengths around me to clutch and claim possession. Shanthi appears and has no need to ask whether the prints are approved as she instructs assistants to gather the cloth and jolt the sampling team into action. Shears crunch through fabric, sewing machines thrum as seams are drawn together, buttons are counted and attached. The lengths of cloth are now transformed into a new seasons collection. There is bubbling excitement when we hear the ‘psst’ and ‘hiss’ of the steam-iron becoming a triumphant ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ from the finishing department. Miracles have miraculously happened and grateful thanks are given.
During the next 24 hours the collection will travel with me 2,000 kilometres to Jaipur and meet a new team, each member dedicated to show the new designs at their beautiful best. The photograher, make up artist and model are no ordainary team. We have worked together for years. I sent coloured sketches and swatches to them days ago indicating how the collection should look. This is a vital stage as hair, make-up and moods are worked out in advance and time is precious, always.
From the very first concept sketch months ago, to the final photoshoot, involve so many of us. So many livlihoods. These unprecedented times highlight the importance of our conections. We have honoured to keep all orders placed before lockdown. A beautiful, unseen collection is in it's finishing stages and I look forward to sharing these with you one day soon.