RITU KUMAR | india | Hindustan Times
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india Updated: Aug 31, 2006 13:11 IST

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Ritu Kumar is one of India's foremost designers, who has developed a unique style of her own, reflecting the ancient traditions of Indian craftsmanship in a contemporary vocabulary.

Ritu holds the status of a revivalist in the Indian fashion industry, who has successfully bridged the gap between traditionalism and modernity. However, her work today has gone much beyond revival - It is constantly evolving within an aesthetic which is sophisticated both in the eastern and western sense, with each of her collections making a contemporary statement in a fast changing modern India.

Ritu, who began her work with four hand-block printers and two tables, in a small village near Calcutta thirty five years ago was the first woman to introduce the 'boutique' culture in India under the brand name 'Ritu'. Today, she has outlets in all major cities in India. Ritu's boutiques feature a multifaceted showcase encompassing the very best of Indian design, with specially produced range of high fashion garments and accessories using silk, leather and cotton. Ritu's range of western and Indian apparel is all about traditions and individual talent, and women across the continents can easily identify with her vision of design.

Her design philosophy is based on the premise that everything founded on a good aesthetic cuts across all borders - be they geographical, cultural or otherwise. This very aesthetic is the factor central to the Indian handwriting which underlies her creations.

While Ritu Kumar's forte lies in traditional Indian clothes, that draw heavily on the textile and embroidery heritage of India, and remain classics of their kind  she has evolved another style for the young buyer, a collection that, in her words ,has "redefined traditional handwriting to meet the changing needs of the new generation. The inspiration

 of these garments are basic Indian motifs,prints and embroideries but with the usage of a wide range of western silhouettes mingled with Indian styles.

Ritu has been designing the wardrobes comprising swimwear, eveningwear ,traditional Indian wear, casual wear, formal evening gowns; of the three winning Miss India's, for their participation in International Beauty Pageants (Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Asia Pacific respectively).

Her book "Costumes and Textiles of Royal India", published by Christies in October 1999 chronicles the history of textiles and art design in India.