India is a melting pot of cultures across the globe and the country's evolving fashion industry is a testimony to it, says well-known Italian designer Angela Missoni, who is smitten with the six-yard wonder and hopes to make the sari a global garment
"India is so diverse. It's gorgeous. It's like paradise. A true example of the perfect amalgamation of the world culture, India has always been a land of inspiration to the designers across the globe," Missoni, creative director of the Italian fashion house of the same name, told IANS in an exclusive tete-a-tete here.
"We are positive about the growing links in the world of fashion and design between India and Italy," added the eldest daughter of the founders of the Missoni label, Rosita and Ottavio.
Angela was in Jaipur as a key speaker at the 14th edition of the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institute (IFFTI) conference hosted by the Pearl Academy of Fashion (PAF).
She is the creative director of her company's fashion labels Missoni, Missoni M and Missoni Menswear. By the time she was 18, Angela had already started assisting her mother in conceptualising and creating the brand's women's collection.
Her clientele includes noted names from international showbiz like Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Ashley Judd, Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, Nicole Richie, Katie Holmes, Kim Kardashian and Emilio Pucci.
While many foreign celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Pamela Anderson have flaunted a sari in recent times, Angela says she is so impressed with the Indian attire that she wants to "work on it to make it mainstream in the international market."
"Seventy percent of my collection is knitwear so it will be difficult to make a collection entirely dedicated to sari. However, I want to work on this Indian apparel with a lot of prints and Indian fabrics and want to make it a mainstream garment around the globe," she said.
Angela also believes that India has the potential to be a leader in the fashion world given its rich reservoir of textile and crafts, but she wonders why the industry is lagging behind.
"India has the same potential like Italy. It has the best in textile and crafts, culture and history to inspire its designers. I think the country has great opportunities to become a global leader in fashion.
"I find the country is an amazing place to sell branded accessories and menswear, but it is yet to open up to designer clothes in a big way," the design veteran told IANS.
Missoni is a six decade-old brand, and Angela credits her parents for thinking out-of-the-box and maintaining the values of the brand through generations.
"From the onset, my parents found success by breaking the mould and walking their own path of aesthetic vision. That's how they were able to invent a style.
"The Missoni brand is still successful after 60 years due to the power of sharing values through generations and the freedom given to individuals to express their talent," she explained.
She hopes young Indian designers, who aim to earn name and fame in the competitive fashion world, tread the same path.
"I'm always very impressed when I see the potential of a creative talent and I like to support it by sharing my experience with young aspiring designers all over the world.
"Never be shackled by borders, norms and conventions. That is what fashion expects from you. You (young designers) must have the ability to rise above all challenges and believe in your dream. For this is the only way your dream can become a reality," she said.