Designer Amit Aggarwal on dressing up Priyanka Chopra Jonas, his brand's USP and more

The celebrity couturier's latest collection will be showcased in Dubai on May 4


Ambica Sachin

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Published: Wed 3 May 2023, 6:07 PM

At 42, with a relatively young brand that marries innovative technology (cue metallic polymers) with heritage craftsmanship, Delhi-based couturier Amit Aggarwal has ensured his sculpted artworks stand out in a crowd. His brand identity may be a tale of contradictions — futuristic yet timeless, modern yet rooted in tradition — but the DNA of an Amit Aggarwal ensemble is indisputable.

Hailing from a family of engineers, science is integral to this NIFT graduate’s design aesthetics, evident in the recycled material he uses to create modern silhouettes or the sustainable fashion wear he promotes. Having dressed a host of celebrities, including Janhvi Kapoor and Ananya Panday, it is his eye-popping old-school textile drape as worn recently by Priyanka Chopra Jonas at The Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) opening in Mumbai in the presence of global superstars like Zendaya and Gigi Hadid that has social media talking. Ahead of an exclusive one-day exhibition in Dubai on May 4, we caught up with the designer to learn more about his USP.

Everybody wants a one-of-a-kind showstopper dress that not only looks wow but can make them stand apart from the crowd. Is that too much pressure on a designer?

Truth be told, I consider this a privilege. As a couture designer, it has always been my endeavour to create ensembles that truly speak to the wearer. Each piece that we craft is intended to make the person wearing it feel like they’re celebrating themselves and if I am able to do that then I consider that to be my honour.

In a sea of home-grown designers vying to grab eyeballs, how would you describe the Amit Aggarwal brand’s USP?

It is the amalgamation of paying an ode to our heritage craftsmanship while innovating with techniques and materials to create a design language that is contemporary yet timeless.

Our brand is made up of many juxtapositions, we create designs that are fluid yet have form, look metallic yet are malleable, and lightweight yet structured, inspired by the science of biological forms yet deeply philosophical in the narrative. This, I believe, will always remain central to our DNA and is our USP.

You are a relatively young brand having started in 2012 and at 42 you are pretty young too! Do you believe social media helped you reach out to a new set of clients, unlike earlier times when clothes had to be worn by actual people who would then have to be seen by potential buyers?

I feel technology and social media have made the world a smaller place. At Amit Aggarwal, we aren’t just selling our garments but also extending an entire experience which is part of the brand ethos and persona, and social media has most certainly helped us tell stories of not just what inspires us but also the various aspects of the process that make us.

I think this has been an integral part of bringing the holistic world of Amit Aggarwal to our patrons across the globe. And while I still believe in the impact and benefit of in-person appointments, it is also about embracing change and evolving and I am all for it.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas's Banarsari drape ensemble took Amit Aggarwal 6 months to put together
Priyanka Chopra Jonas's Banarsari drape ensemble took Amit Aggarwal 6 months to put together

What is the key brief in your mind when you get the opportunity to dress a global icon like Priyanka Chopra? Did she have any input with regard to her dress?

To mark day 2 of the NMACC and in line with the theme of highlighting Indian textiles and dress on the fashion imagination, I created a custom look for Priyanka that is an ode to her being and path, rooted yet ever evolving.

A vintage Banarasi brocade navrangi saree draped in a uniquely traditional manner over a jewel-toned structured silhouette paired with a holographic bustier is a perfect culmination of age-old Indian textiles that have been innovated with and adapted to stay relevant and showcase their facet of being timeless.

I thought this approach was a testament to Priyanka herself who has constantly reinvented herself and made her mark all over the globe.

What about Saba Azad and the bridal red saree-gown you designer for her for the same event?

Saba is a beautiful and charming woman and to highlight her grace I chose to create a saree-gown in the colour red. An ode to the intricacies of Indian craftsmanship and textiles but with a contemporary spin, our custom outfit married two textiles — a vintage Banarasi brocade crafted in gold threads and a structured body.

“The bustier was pleated with signature unique material and structured along the bust to sculpt the body. This molding flowed into the sleeves as well. But it’s the draping technique of the Banarasi that blurred the distinction between a saree and a gown.

Gwen Stefani wore your green pre-stitched pelisse sari at the 90th Annual Christmas celebrations in Rockefeller Center. How did that make you feel?

It is always extremely humbling to have someone love our pieces of art and showcase them on a global stage. I am grateful that India is being recognised by people across the globe for what we bring to the fore in fashion, textiles, craftsmanship, and design.

Saba Azad in a custom Amit Aggarwal saree-gown for the NMACC event
Saba Azad in a custom Amit Aggarwal saree-gown for the NMACC event

From dressing celebrities to designing art pieces for your loyal clientele — how do you balance out your aesthetics for both?

I create pieces that I believe celebrate the one who is adorning them. Couture is all about making a piece your own and that is the approach I keep while designing.

To all those drawn to your Dubai exhibition hoping to pick up a piece like Priyanka’s what would you like to say?

I am extremely excited to be able to share my work with you. Dubai has always been a place that has shown me immense love and it is extremely humbling to have this opportunity in association with VESIMI. I hope you enjoy wearing these pieces as much as I enjoyed making them for you.

Amit Aggarwal and Gehna Jewellers’s collections will be showcased at an exhibition hosted by VESIMI at Anantara Downtown, Business Bay Dubai from 10am to 8pm today

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