From creating the zippered sari to marrying a most eligible bachelor — former model Amar Bedi who has walked the ramp with actress Rekha — designer Rohini Bedi has had it good. Once based in Delhi, she moved to the US nearly 12 years ago, quitting her label Rohini Gopa, but she found her feet in far-flung Orange County, thanks to Indians and Indophiles who loved her designs. And if her plans go well, she might return to the city where her career began, at least to take part in a fashion week, for which she has applied to the Fashion Design Promotion Council.
Former actress and model Pooja Batra is among Rohini’s NRI clients, many of whom order their wedding ensembles simply on the basis of a sketch and a Pantone shade card. Rohini explains how different their taste is from that of people in India: “They are much more into bling, more sexy. But if Bollywood cinema is anything to go by, the fine line dividing how American Indians dress and the style sense of their Mumbai counterparts is getting finer.”
Rohini and her sister Gopa were noted for their work with the sari drape — cocktail saris, structured skirt saris, saris with corsets and bustiers. Her zippered sari proved the adage ‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’ She explains, “After getting married, I had to wear a sari for formal dos, hence the invention of the sari as a zip-up ensemble.” It is rather popular in the US. “I have American TV hosts wearing it for shows. Pooja Batra even wore it to the Oscars,” says Rohini, who has styled Rekha and Dimple Kapadia in the past.
Recently, she has been combining antique with chic, like a fusion between traditional ghat chola weaves and zip-up saris. She also plans to retail from multi-brand outlets in India.