Designs on Dubai

Deeya Nanda, a young designer, born and bred in Dubai, earned her fashion degree from London only to return home and work towards unveiling her première collection on the sands of the land she loves most - Dubai.

By Soniya Kirpalani, Contributor

Published: Thu 20 Mar 2008, 10:32 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:31 PM

IN THE eponymous world of design Deeya Nanda is swiftly winning accolades for her creative narrative that transforms mere fabric into an artist’s canvas. A young graduate from Central St Martins and The London College of Fashion, she premièred her collection at London Graduate Fashion Week - to critical acclaim from both faculty and fraternity.

Tapping into nature - birds of extinction - she captured details fusing several mediums, replicating textures onto textiles, developing prints and tonalities, then shaped her silhouettes.

Graduating with a special degree in surface texturing and ornamentation, Deeya weaves her yarns from scratch; designing embroidery patterns and then actually working in the silken skeins and sequins for hand embellishments. She works in an inspired manner with crochet, knitting in pure cashmere or wool, developing delicate lace embroideries garments.

2008, will see Deeya showcase her skills under the strobe lights of Dubai Fashion Week. Excerpts from a chat:

How did you come to develop your own label? Did you commence your career with this collection?

I started my professional career with some pretty interesting internship at YSL, Oswald Bowtang and then decided to hone my talents further East. This took me to Bollywood and I worked under Vikram Phadnis. But I only truly understood my trade working with the Landmark Group, working closely with Raza and Mrs Renuka Jagtiani. It was under their guidance that I embarked on a full-fledged career working the flip side of the table for Splash’s merchandiser. Soon, I felt ready to leg it on my own; I started putting together my label whilst freelancing.

What freelancing work did you do between launching your label and working for labels?

Visual merchandising and styling has always caught my eye; I also realised I needed to understand this skill if I had to ever launch my own label. I was lucky to have landed several prestigious campaigns for Wafi, Nestle, but my biggest one was for Steven Spielberg Films and Dubai Studio City.

What was the experience like - working with a legendary team like Spielberg Films?

A crazy rush, I had to get my visa and rush to Orlando. It’s a joy and a treat to be on Steven Spielberg’s team. As a part of my assignment, I had to pick up several Eastern ensembles for his movie which is a futuristic vision of Dubai. Researching the art of designing and styling ‘contemporary period attire’ in keeping with the director’s vision was a tough task. I learnt a lot, shared a lot and made a lot of new friends. Learning the trade this way is completely enjoyable and experimental.

What is the next benchmark you want to mark on your career graph?

My next thought was to do a show in Dubai; it’s so important in a country that imports brands, that we create our own brands. We, the children of Dubai, have to build its brands. So how do we do this? Through design and through regional showings, that’s why my first ever full-fledged signature collection will be launched at Dubai Fashion Week called “Malice in Wonderland”.

That’s an unusual take on themes; what is the inspiration behind it?

I wanted to go beyond just fads and trends, I do not believe in designer diktats, I wanted to create clothes which people could buy independently and then work it with their own individual fingerprints representing who they really are. Luxury Prêt to Diffusion line, “Malice in Wonderland” - the collection - is reflective of both the positive and negative energies behind every personality.

Can you give us a sneak preview of some of the details of the collections?

Well it’s a light collection with some serious dark notes. Ballerina inspired tutu skirts and tops, oversized wizard cardigans, twisted tops, psychedelic leggings, tunics and long dresses - each ensemble tells a story through texture and tailoring. For adding warmth to winter - Jet, Candy Pink, Turq, Grays Anthracite, Wine, Blanco, Indigo meshed with touches of terracotta. Wool, Silk, Velour, Velvet and lots of lace get tempered and treated with hand stitched appliqué Swarovski crystals, digital prints, graphically enhanced textures-ensuring every garment carefully designed, from the exterior and interior making the wearer feel special, swathed in Deeya Nanda’s signature style.

What next for Deeya Nanda?

Well, more collections! I am also starting a by-appointment-only salon to cater to the woman of Dubai and have already been approached by several stores to create collections for them. One step at a time to launch my own brand.

Deeya Nanda will be showcasing her collection on March 22 at Dubai Fashion Week.

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