Tigers and a Timeless Bungalow
Featuring bold tiger prints and luxuriously smooth silks, Verandah’s ‘Asian Court’ and ‘T 91’ collections made a stunning showcase at PR Colombo on 13 and 14 October.
Born out of a desire for fresh prints and bohemian clothing, Verandah Creative Director Anjali Patel Mehta – created a brand that pays homage to her beliefs, classic tastes, and unconventional upbringing.
Featuring design work that’s free-flowing with subtle structural enhancements, comfort is the name of the game for the designer, whose many talents and diverse background make her an unusual entrant into the fashion industry.
Coming from an impressive background in finance courtesy of Wellesley College and the Indian School of Business, Anjali found herself stumbling unwittingly into the world of fashion.
Having returned from New York, fresh on the heels of a burgeoning career at Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, the designer was out of options for clothing that embodied her unique taste and style. She then turned to fashion, first for herself and then for close friends and family, before the line really ascended to international heights.
Speaking fondly of her childhood and mother, a driving inspiration behind the bright and bold collections Verandah is known for, her pieces are based on visceral experiences and all-consuming emotions.
Asian Court, in particular, is based on her ancestral home in the thickets of Bombay. The collection features silky pants, kameez, blouses, and maxi dresses that form an integral part of the bungalow – one of the oldest in the area.
With the mosaic tiles represented in hues of lime green and turquoise and tops that feature the ripe pomegranate fruits and passion fruit creepers her mother lovingly plants, Anjali paints a stunning picture of her life with her clothes.
When asked about the importance of comfort in her design process, she immediately said that it is a prime consideration in everything she creates. Having started the line following the birth of her children, Anjali wanted her maternity collections to not just exude comfort, but unmistakeable style as well.
With the maternity line gradually evolving into resort wear, the Creative Director still places luxurious comfort at the forefront of everything she does. With long-flowing sleeves, loose pants, and tasselled kimonos, vacationers can move seamlessly from day wear to night wear in Verandah’s bold apparel.
Gushing with love for Sri Lanka, the Mumbai-based designer then walked The Sunday Morning through her second collection for PR, titled ‘T 91’: Named after a lone tiger, Anjali and her family witnessed on a safari in India. The collection features custom prints that depict these regal creatures, peacocks, architectural motifs, and cloudless night skies.
With an upcoming swimwear collection, the photo shoot for which took place in Sri Lanka earlier this week, Anjali also seeks to give credence to her unabashed “beach b*m” lifestyle. More than just a South Asian designer whose collections “stick out like a sore thumb,” she also boasts of resort wear that is featured in Miami Swim Week.
A once prolific sportswoman who now enjoys golfing with seniors, Anjali is also very committed to social causes. With a percentage of her profits going to a variety of notable causes including the Malala Fund and Tiger Watch, her joy at combining social impact with a passion she enjoys immensely, is only second to her commitment to ethical and sustainable fashion.
With all material being sourced in India, save for the rich silk she uses, Verandah is all about celebrating its Indian roots and heritage.
The creative force is also a firm believer in executive her vision – most of her clothes feature prints that she curates through digital printing. These make her collections a rich tapestry on which she weaves concrete experiences and recollections, rendering the design process one that is both very personal and meaningful.
With her pieces retailing in over 50 stores around the world – PR included – Verandah is a bold brand for South Asians embracing fearless prints. While our aesthetic may still be dominated by risk-averse staples, Verandah is a herald of the change set to sweep the region.
Check out her eye-catching collections while they last at PR – 41 Horton Place, Colombo 07. You can also keep up with Verandah through the official website and social media handles below.
By Archana Heenpella
Photos by Indika Handuwala