On a creative high

IN THE eponymous world of design and fashion there are a few people who doodle and critiques call it an artistic rendition, when their creativity touches cloth its transformed into an artist's canvas; colloquially they are referred to as artistic geniuses.

By Soniya Kirpalani (Contributor)

Published: Sat 7 Jul 2007, 10:59 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:10 AM

Dubai's own Deeya Nanda is winning accolades across the globe. Having studied her entire life in the Dubai, Deeya went on to graduate from Central St Martins and The London College of Fashion.

Showcasing her première collection at London Graduate Fashion Week she won critical acclaim from both faculty and fraternity. Tapping into nature; birds of extinction were the leitmotif of her collection; researching intensely she selected the most extinct and exotic creatures from London's wild life sanctuary. Capturing details off these exquisite creatures, using photography she replicated the textures onto textiles, developing prints and tonalities, then shaped her silhouettes.

Winning important internships she worked with legends like YSL, Oswald Bowtang and even Bollywood's erstwhile Vikram Padnis and Dubai's own Splash.

Shooting her first collection through its natural trajectory of nature's exploration she shot her campaign on the sensiferous sands of Hatta. Her stint in Dubai saw her work on a brief stint with Splash as a designer/buyer. She travelled globally and imbibed a deeper understanding of taking attire from the design-board to the storeroom.

Deeya says "I realised there was a great dearth of visual merchandising and styling while shooting and this was challenging for me. I started looking for styling assignments. It had to be more than 'pretty pouting picture perfect adverts'. I landed some exciting projects like Wafi and a TVC campaign with Nestle. It pushed me to find another dimension of my creative self as I styled the cast's clothes and designed the whole ambience for this shoot"

Nestle had asked Nanda to design a studio space of a young Arab brand. "This taxed my creativity and curiosity, the effect was intriguing as I used a mesh of modern minimalism and Arabic calligraphy which is the visual voice of young Arabia" Deeya explained. Soon she was designing portfolios for several designers and retailers - including Splash. Whilst shooting an advert she received a surprise offer through Bare Face.

A dream job for someone so young, she was invited to style a culturally sensitive shoot for a project by Tatweer at Universal Studio in Orlando, with none other than Steven Spielberg. Working with Steven Spielberg's team to design ensembles for his futuristic vision of Dubai, she researched the art of creating 'contemporary period attire' to ensure the 'ghitra' or 'shela' was represented in cultural context in balance international understanding. A lot of help came in from the Arab socialites and style aficionados, which meant I was able to live up to my commitment."

"I had less than ten days to prepare; researching the several different ways of wearing shelas and ghitra. It was a balancing act. A good budget helped, as I bought most of the ensembles here and then took it with me. Though the aesthetics of the attire were correct, it was a misfit. I realised this only after I went into fittings how truly tough it was and at the same time, it was my learning curve."

"Every day I had to worry about continuity of 30 ensembles and cast, I learnt of tapes and pins that could hold down attire at gale force. The other stylists from Hollywood shared their technical repertoire with me."

"Coming home to Dubai, I most definitely miss the creative spirit I realised in the USA; sadly very few people truly understand designer formats, they are mostly label lovers. That made me realise that this is the time for me to put together own collections, to start my signature line. I think it's time for the youth of Arabia to design change - not just in their attire but to bring in creativity to every day lives and objects" Deeya concluded with her usual exuberance.

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