Designer Anita Dongre has helped put India on the global map. And the woman whose creation Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton picked for an outing and who has unveiled two stores in New York, says the Indian diaspora has influenced fashion across the world.
"The Indian diaspora has influenced worldwide fashion, making borders just a little bit thinner in the world of fashion," said Dongre.
About her foray into New York, she said: "We wanted to reach out to our overseas consumers. The US has a lot of young women who buy from us online or when they visit India. When we thought of having a presence overseas, SoHo in New York was an obvious choice," Dongre said.
How different are those pieces from the ones available in India?
"The Grassroot collection that is available in every store and online will be the same," said the designer, whose Bollywood clients include actresses like Kareena Kapoor Khan and Dia Mirza.
And what about Hollywood films?
"I have always maintained that I am a designer and love designing clothes. I enjoy seeing how stylists work magic with my design, but that is an entirely different skill-set. I would love to see Hollywood wear my designs," she said.
Dongre, who takes the fashion week's audience to Rajasthan through her collections, is all geared up to showcase her latest work at the India Couture Week here on Saturday.
"Rajasthan is the backdrop to some of my most cherished memories. It's the place I go back to season after season to draw joy, colour and grandeur from -- everything that is so intrinsic to a bride's special day," she said.
"Every season the state inspires my designs with its rich heritage, culture and crafts. The last collection, 'Alchemy', was inspired by the wildlife of Ranthambore against the glistening sands of the desert state," she added.
This time, her collection is a tribute to the Bishnoi tribe of Rajasthan.
"The Bishnoi tribe is most recognised for Amrita Devi and her village's sacrifices to save the 'khejri' trees in the region. It's this dedication and identification with nature that inspired me to both design this collection and plant a forest of 25,000 trees in the Bassi Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan," she said.
"The motifs and 'gota pati' embroidery beautifully translate the essence of the 'khejri' onto silks. Deep hues of maroon, ink blue and olive green accented with our signature red fuchsia and royal blue highlight the collection," she added.
What is particularly special about this collection, she said, is that it is ethereal and light at the same time -- much like the strong women of the Bishnoi community.
"It is this sense of strength and beauty that attendees will get a taste of on July 29th," she promised.
Any showstopper for the upcoming show?
"Our clothes and the craftsmenship have always been the showstopper at any of our shows," she said.
In fact, craft has always been the "hero" of what she does.
"I have an entire brand that celebrates learning from craftspeople -- the simplicity of their lives, the beauty in their crafts and their dedication to technique," said the designer, who launched the House of Anita Dongre in 1995.
The fashion house comprises a portfolio of brands -- AND (Western wear for women), Global Desi (boho chic for women) and the luxury brand Anita Dongre offering bespoke bridal, couture, luxury prêt (Grassroot), menswear and handcrafted gold jadau jewellery (Pinkcity).