“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”…Marilyn Monroe. At an age where most girls are running after fancy shoes and are enticed by fashion fads, the young and dreamy Chhaya Mehrotra was looking at fabrics, prints and patterns with wide eyed wonder.
Born in the lap of beautiful city of Banaras, famous for its muslin and silk fabrics. Chhaya’s story was weaved in gold and she was destined to take the city and its cultural heritage to places further elevating its position on the global map. Born into one of the oldest textile printing families, it was natural that Chhaya was bought up amidst conversations revolving around textiles, fabrics and design from a very tender age. She used to devote a lot of her time in her dad’s printing factory learning new things, understanding the different fabrics and invariably picking the nuances of business. She observed how her father checked each sari in a glance. She learnt a lot from him and his ideologies. Chhayya picked up important elements like colors and detailing that are integral elements of the textile industry. She has not only taken a family’s legacy forward by a thousand folds but also carved a niche for herself in the fashion industry.
Banaras is known for its textile landscape, handloom and powerloom weaving, block screen and digital prints, handwork and computer embroidery. While describing her home town Banaras, which is very close to her heart, she reminisces “It’s brimming with traditional and modern techniques and all of this combined inadvertently formed a lasting impression.”
Fabrics and colours being her first love, she pursued design professionally and earned her a degree in Textile Design from NIFT in 2003 after graduating in commerce from BHU. A formal education further propelled and channelized her natural flair of designing into something more concrete. Label Chhaya Mehrotra has been showcasing at the Fashion Weeks since 2012. Breezy tunics are synonymous to her label. Her label puts forth a wide range of luxury, pret & diffusion collections each year apart from its exquisite line of affordable couture.
“I’m interested in style and timelessness” she said in an interview. Her long journey into textiles, fabrics and colors have bought a certain timelessness and balance to her designs heavily influenced by heritage rendering it a modern look.
It is a common saying that one can take a Banarsi out of Banaras but you can never take Banaras out of a Banarsi. This sentiment reflects in her designs which have a poetic fluidity to them. “I’ve worked with block prints and hand embroideries on traditional textiles but I value the importance of technology on the design process. I love Tussar and Banarsi weaves as much as I love French lace” she opines.
As luck would have it, she married a man who was engaged in textile business where she continued to express her natural charm through her clothing. She is a member of the prestigious Fashion Design Council of India and was appointed as a member on the Board of Advisors to DC-Handlooms, Ministry of Textiles, in the year 2006. Interestingly, Chhaya was also one of the top 20 finalists at the Vogue India Fashion Fund 2014.
Imbibed with richness prints, adorned with hand embroidery and an amalgamation of textiles from different parts of the country when touched with her magic wand, her designs look phenomenal.