ZRII Style Launch17 October 2009 - by Lakshmi Narayan
17th October 2009, is the auspicious occasion of Diwali, which immediately conjures up images of vibrant colours, fabulous rangoli patterns, deafening fireworks, mouth watering Indian sweets and savouries, and last but not least beautiful clothes designed with traditional embroideries on romantic fabrics with a sensual look. It is on this auspicious day that fashion designer Rakhee Thakorlal launches her ZRII Style website and fashion label.
Rakhee is abound with such enthusiasm and sits before me wearing a vibrant cherry red crushed silk tunic with gold sequins on a v-neck line with a beautiful teal blue crepe silk panel skirt, a simple but elegant look. Rakhee was born and brought up in the bustling metropolis that is Mumbai and coming from a family background in the garments industry she says there was never any doubt in her mind that she would become a successful fashion designer. Rakhee worked as an assistant designer in Mumbai for several years for fashion designers like Priyadarshini Rao and Krishna Mehta. In 2007 she married and relocated to the UK where her husband was based. She tells me "I told my husband that although I am moving to London I have set myself a goal that one day I will have my own fashion label."
Rakhee tells me that she was frustrated with the poor fitting of Indian clothes normally found in shops and she soon stopped buying Indian clothes off the rack and started designing her own outfits. Her ensemble includes saris, tunics, salwar-kameezes, skirts, trousers, blouses and jackets, which all have the unique ZRII touch. Over the last three years since moving to London whenever she would go out sporting her creations, friends and family would always complement "wow what a great outfit where did you but that from?" and of course her reply would be "this is my own design which I have had specially made." Wowed by her creations friends and family began to give orders to have outfits made for their own special occasions. She began designing clothes on a part-time basis and with the support of her family decided that it was the right time in her life to fulfil her dream and dedicate her time to what she loves doing. Today she can proudly say she has her own fashion label ZRII.
Rakhee designs haute couture pieces both for men and women, she shows me some of her ensembles, and I notice that they all have a defined cut with traditional embroideries but with a very contemporary look. Not only does she design Indian groom and bridal wear but also casual outfits for evening and day wear. She is quick to tell me that "I do not want people to type cast me and say that I can only design Indian clothes", she pulls out further samples of tops and jackets which have been designed with a western look but with a hint and a splash of ethnicity. Versatility is her strength she can design for the ready to wear market too. But having met Rakhee and she would agree herself that it is dealing with individuals according to body types and personalities, creating wardrobes and trousseau in accordance to a person's lifestyle which has always been her forte.
As we come to the end of my interview, Rakhee pulls out the sari which I had requested her to design for me, Diwali is a time when new clothes are a must and I had to spoil myself by having a sari personally tailored for the special festive season. The sari is handed to me in beautifully embroidered sari bag with matching bangles and a gold sequin clutch bag. The sari made from a pure georgette fabric is a pale mango colour with gold sequins all over and a contrasting purple brocade border with beautiful antique embroidery and a complementing sequin blouse. Rakhee's look is classic elegance but with a soft sensuality, I sense there are great things to come from this young and gifted fashion designer.