Couture Rani: One-Stop Shopping for Your Designer Wear

Varun Bahl

Gina Mathew has always had a love for fashion, especially Indian design and craftsmanship. She never imagined she would one day launch an online boutique that prides itself in just that. India’s thriving fashion industry has little visibility outside of India, however there’s a constant growing demand Mathew says for high-end traditional apparel by those South Asians living outside of India. Many of us have shopped in India for our designer high-end clothing during our own weddings. However, CoutureRani.com is a luxury website for Indian designer wear that we can access here in North America. We spoke to the site’s founder, Gina Mathew who told us about the site and the collaborative relationship between a designer and the customer as the driving force behind the site.

 

What is the inspiration behind Couture Rani?

Gaurav Gupta

The genesis for the business really began while I was working in the fashion industry in New York and noticed that some of the world’s top brands were using the skills of India’s artisans to produce stunning works of beading and embroidery for the designers’ collections. Most of these artisans worked behind the scenes and consequently Indian fashion was being represented on the world stage by designers outside of India.  At the same time, I noticed that the fashion industry in India was booming and that there was a  growing demand for high-end traditional apparel by South Asians living outside of the Indian sub-continent. Yet in spite of this need and India’s thriving fashion industry, Indian fashion did not have a visible platform outside of India.   Most customers  who want designer garments from India have to travel to the fashion centers of either Mumbai or New Delhi to purchase these items, spending in excess of $1,800 for airfare alone. The process is laborious, time, consuming and inefficient. Couture Rani was the ideal solution to remove the barriers of geography, access, supply and distribution to meet the immediate needs of the consumer.

 

Varun Bahl

Couture Rani is unique in that we employ a made-to-order business model allowing customers to purchase a custom made garment they truly love. Customers start by choosing the style of garment they want from our existing product offerings or can work with our team to create an original design. Similar to visiting a designer in his atelier, customers can choose from the designers’ range of fabrics, colors, patterns, and other design elements to make the piece truly special and one of a kind. Since most have to travel to India to take advantage of this service, Couture Rani is able to provide customers this convenience in the privacy of their own home. Additionally, we have also partnered with renowned Indian designers providing customers access to top designers who primarily only retail through select boutiques in India.

 

Gaurav Gupta

A woman with discerning taste who appreciates the art of creating a bespoke garment and understands the time, talent and skill involved in making it.

 

Gaurav Gupta

One of the most surprising trends for fall shown on the runways this season was long sleeves on sari blouses! Designer after designer sent this look down the runway during Delhi Couture Week. There was also a focus on a softer color palette with lots of pastels, creams and golds being shown as well as softer silhouettes for lehengas. Gone are the heavy overdone, overworked lehenga skirts. Now it’s about softness, volume, movement, and much of the embellishments are in the form of intricate embroidery and brocade trimmings rather than crystals and sequins.

 

How did you decide what elements types of styles to include?

We decided to focus on couture bridal and eveningwear because it is the heart of every Indian designer’s business and is where the strength and talent of India’s design industry lies. This is slowly changing, however, as younger designers move away from a traditional/bridal centric focus and move toward prêt a porter or ready to wear collections. Designers like Bibhu Mohapatra and Prabul Gurung who got their start in India and have found enormous success in the West are a testament to the talent that exists in that genre as well.

What are the price points?

The price ranges from $550 for a churidar to $25,000 for some of our most intricately designed lehengas.

How do you decide what designers to include in your line?

We wanted to start small and work with designers who have a unique point of view and distinctive style. Therefore we chose Ritu Kumar for her traditional bridal designs and focus on indigenous crafts, Varun Bahl for his romantic, luxurious designs and exquisite craftsmanship, and Gaurav Gupta for his modern interpretation of classic Indian design.

 

For more information and to shop online visit: www.couturerani.com 

 

 

 


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