You’re from Bandra, Mumbai – can you tell me about how you got interested in fashion, and your fashion training please?
Yes I live in Mumbai – in vibrant Bandra, which is full of energy, creative people, and fab food. I did my three-year training in fashion design from the Raheja Institute of Fashion Technology, Worli in Mumbai. I was always good at drawing and I loved embroidery, most importantly because of my late grand-uncle – who was a costume designer for the epic drama film ‘Mughal-e-Azam’.
You’re somewhat of a veteran in the Indian fashion industry, starting your label almost 12 years ago! How has your brand evolved since then?
After finishing design, I got the opportunity to do costume designing and clothing for movies, and television channel dance shows. I took it on as a challenge, and I learnt time management and quick delivery.
Later an American buyer wanted me to design some accessories, and that’s how my exports started. The Fashion Design Council of India happened the same year…That’s how my accessory journey began.Necklace from Felix Bendish's Water collection
You have done couture, bridal gowns, Indianwear, accessories, jewellery, clutches – from where do you get all this creativity?
I love creativity. I believe a good designer must bring something new to the table. I sell without compromising on quality and the concept that I imagined. Lucky me, that I am into embroidery, so through that medium, my design products have been well priced and balance both functionality and fantasy.
You had done a large couture showing at the beginning of the year – how was that received – and can you tell me a bit about your collection?
I did Fashion Scout – at London Fashion Week twice. Wow, now that’s a completely different experience. I did my accessory collection, which they loved. It was all about the thematic drama.
We know about your incredibly quirky accessories – you have put animals, flowers, all kinds of amazing motifs – and now you’re inspired by water in this collection for Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week. Can you tell me about that?
My new collection is entitled ‘Water’. My inspiration stems from the calm and magnificence of the oceans. Existing since pre-historic times, ever-changing, vast, and powerful enough not to be destroyed completely – even by man’s follies. With its dancing waves, its waters moving with the rhythm of beautiful aquatic creatures, sea horses, sea urchins, vibrant corals, lobsters and shells, this collection is all about forgiveness and resurgence…like the ebb and flow of the tides, and the ocean itself.
There are a lot of sea motifs and sea horses in it – how did your love of the ocean translate into the designs?
During the lockdown, things were bad and everything seemed impossibly difficult. I kept gravitating towards Nature in all her avatars, but most of all her seas and oceans. I just wanted to run away and immerse myself in a beautiful beach surrounding. The pandemic has been disruptive, but we human beings have our primitive survival instincts to change and march forward.
The piece I received – the colourful headband – reminded me of the colours of Mexico, from a visit a few years ago. What has inspired you to do that – is it also a part of the Water collection?
I have shifted my vision to design pieces that will outlast trends, and be for multiple uses and nationalities. Today, audiences are global and infinite, and not bound by time or place. Our signature style is hand-embroidered, quirky accessories that brilliantly play with lots of textures, prints, neon, pop colours and crystals. It’s now time to surge forward and have fun doing this with a bit of whimsy and lots of colour.
What is your creative process while making a Felix Bendish accessory?
I start with lots of research, pictures, art works, paintings, and cultures that inspire me. Once I am ready, I sit with my worker for the first piece and we create the idea on embroidery. I love using different textures and mediums in embroidery to balance a quirky mood.
What are the techniques you use, from traditional Indian techniques like gota patti, embroidery, also sequins – and the materials?
I do use lot of Indian fabrics for textures, beads, sequences, recycled glass bottles converted to crystals, whatever inspires me…!
Do you work out of your atelier in Juhu? Is that where the pieces are made?
Yes, I have my own place in Juhu, where I enjoy creating beautiful art.
What are you looking forward to at LMIFW SS’21? What do you feel about the digital fashion weeks – do you think this can help make your brand truly global?
I am enjoying digital for two reasons. Firstly, the digital platform is global. A lot of people and my buyers can view it from anywhere in the world using any technological platform or device. Showcasing my idea and the film format can be done with ease. Secondly, overheads are controlled, so it’s more focused.
Who is the typical Felix Bendish woman?
Someone who is not afraid to experiment with clothes, accessories, or lifestyle.
Which celeb have you particularly loved dressing?
Sushmita Sen – she’s pure class and elegance.
Why are accessories like bands, earrings, necklaces, clutches, and brooches so important for an outfit?
My accessories dominate once worn. It could be worn with a simple outfit – just one fashion accessory element can make a huge fashion statement. During this ongoing pandemic, people are acutely aware of their budgets. The price range would definitely be key. Travel for a long time would be not possible for most. That’s where a collection such as mine brings a sense of relief to the buyer (and wearer!). A lot can be achieved in fashion by just playing with some fabulous accessories and without spending on a heavy-duty clothing line.
Your biggest dream?
People from all walks of life should own a Felix Bendish product!
Lifestyle Insider is a kind of junction point, connecting people with diverse interests that touch on the more luxurious aspects of lifestyle – fashion, design, travel, food and spirits, art, watches and jewellery, cars, yachts, and aviation, and technology. People today don’t fit into boxes and categories. In our individual ways, we are interested in diverse themes, products, and the challenges that face our world today. You will judge how well this effort of mine caters to your passions and proclivities.
Lifestyle Insider is a showcase of all that is beautiful and luxe. Behind every creation, is a designer, chef, entrepreneur, or a design maison. I have delved into my own appreciation for objetsde luxe that I have admired over the years – be it a love of fashion from the world’s top Parisian and Italian fashion maisons and their ’90s muses, or the care that goes into sari and Indian textile collections in my own family. Growing up on four continents, as the daughter of a former Indian Ambassador, I’ve seen a remarkable array of historic places and met a myriad people. My aim is to bring my world view into this website, a curation of what I find particularly stunning, unique, and newsworthy.
It’s an exciting time for brands all over the world. With change comes opportunity. With the global ‘reset’ and uncertainty on many fronts, there is a chance to write a new script. Let’s be those pioneers.
A bit about me:
A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.
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