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13.01.2015

If the story we’re about to tell you were a dress, it would be an Indo-Western garment of the coolest kind, cut over two generations from the same bolt of cloth, lined with layers of archives, shimmering with celebrity skin, hemmed by countless international air miles and equipped with deep, deep pockets. 

Ready to try it on for size?

What size does Jennifer Lawrence wear, we ask, and Naina just laughs.

Fitting Room 

Aditiany is one of those famous companies you’ve never heard of, a behind-the-scenes stealth operation that embroiders clothes for international fashion labels such as Saint Laurent and Gucci, Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, at a workshop-plus-library at Kala Ghoda, Mumbai with offices in New York. 

These frocks, gowns, jackets and shirts eventually find themselves on various red carpets around the world, worn by a bevy of celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Solange, Blake Lively and Naomi Watts. Singer Taylor Swift wore a Swarovski-encrusted dress by Aditiany for her performance at the recent Victoria’s Secret fashion show (yes, they did the bras too); Jennifer Lawrence’s Calvin Klein dress at the Oscars, when she won Best Actress for Silver Lining Playbook, was also theirs.

“That dress was a piece of work,” remembers Naina Shah, vice president of Aditiany, during a recent chat at The Pantry, a South Mumbai cafe. “It was intricate, with over a million macro bugle beads sown onto a chiffon base. Twenty five karigars worked on it for two weeks. I flew with that dress to New York so it could be there in time for the Oscars.”

What size does Jennifer Lawrence wear, we ask, and Naina just laughs.

Paper Planes and Patterns

Paper cuttings of garments are shipped to the workshop at Kala Ghoda, Mumbai along with yards and yards of fabric, neoprene for Balenciaga, chiffon for Calvin Klein, different shades of tulle.

Aditiany was founded by Naina’s mother in 1991 in New York, and the company’s first clients included Michael Kors, who was just starting out at Celine, and a young and relatively unknown Alexander McQueen. “A lot of the dresses at the recent Savage Beauty McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art were ours,” she recalls.

Pretending not to be star-struck at all, in our most professional voice we ask her to walk us through the entire process: first, there are the swatches of embroidery. These are inspired by anything from the grain of wood at a café in Paris to mosaics in Morocco or even the swirl in the cappuccino at The Pantry. The designers at Aditiany also plumb their deep archives, a library of over 500 books on everything from nature to architecture, literature and fashion, as well as stacks of magazines and binders that date back 15 years.

Once the swatches are ready (the latest one is numbered at 18,003), Naina shows them to fashion houses, who pick the ones they like and incorporate designs into their upcoming collections. Sometimes, they give her their own patterns too. “But a lot of the embellishments you see in these collections originate from us,” Naina explains.

Paper cuttings of garments are shipped to the workshop at Kala Ghoda, Mumbai along with yards and yards of fabric, neoprene for Balenciaga, chiffon for Calvin Klein, different shades of tulle. Sample dresses, seen on runways, are worked on for up to two weeks and shipped out. Based on orders placed by buyers, these are then put into production.

Shoes You Can Use

Aditiany doesn’t work with Indian designers or take personal orders, but Naina plans to launch her own home goods and fashion accessories collection soon, which will feature the company’s signature embroidery.

You’ll recline against an embellished sofa cushion or slip into a pair of sequined pumps, and just for a minute, be standing in Angelina Jolie’s shoes. 

It’s a shiny thought to brighten your day with, after all the the Golden Globes glitz from yesterday.

Getting there: Visit www.aditiany.com, email info@aditiany.com, follow them on Instagram at @aditiany.

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