Handcrafted to perfection with meticulous workmanship using Dabka, Badla and Gota work, Simar Dugal’s Ziba collection brings to life silhouettes, which are nothing less than opulent pieces of art.
One name that instinctively pops up in the fashion world while talking about Indian-heritage-inspired clothing is that of model-turned-designer — late Simar Dugal. With intricate craftsmanship and eloquence at the core of her design ethos, Simar Dugal’s eponymous label has been loved for passionately bringing forward Indian aesthetics and culture through sophisticated silhouettes.
Two years after her untimely death, Simar Dugal’s label, under the leadership of her son — Arjan Dugal, still dominates the ethnic fashion realm with its surreal designs and collections that seamlessly blend India’s rich cultural heritage with a modern aesthetic.
Ziba — the latest edit by Simar Dugal label — reflects everything the brand is renowned for, and the sartorial pieces from the collection are sure to take your breath away with their intricate artisanship.
Giving an insight into the collection, couturier Arjan Dugal, who is taking forward his mother’s legacy, says, “Ziba, like the Sahar Collection before it, is an ode to my mother (Simar Dugal) and the person that she was. Her aesthetic, her views of her celebration of Indian fabrics, woven and embroidered, the revival of older Indian embroideries with a modern touch, and from pieta dura motifs to phulkari to Papier-mâché in a whole new light — each collection is an amalgam of Ma and me. She loved prints, gota, vintage crafts and textiles, whereas my aesthetic leans more towards embroidery, detailing and incorporating bursts of colour in the garments. I stand by my mother’s philosophy of reviving traditional silhouettes and embroidery techniques, but I seek my own perspective on existing templates. Both the Sahar and the Ziba collection stand true to this ideal.” He adds, “For Ziba, I have used some of her older, recurring motifs and adapted them to different silhouettes and treatments, changing them as per current trends as well as making them more appealing to a younger generation. I have used traditional treatments that my mother always used, such as Dori and Aari embroidery, and adapted it to different motifs and cuts and created the Star Shararas.”
Not surprisingly, the muse for Ziba, which resonates with the Mughal regalia with its scintillating and delicate workmanship, is none other than Simar Dugal, who was also dubbed India’s first supermodel. “Ma’s designs, like her life, were free from fear. They were unapologetic and bold. I learned to identify different textiles and designs at my mother’s knee. We spent many vacations sitting in the corner of little shops in the hills or deep within a village while my mother scoured the place from top to bottom for her latest find. My love for textile, crafts, design and anything out of the ordinary is not just inherited but also ingrained in me. Every collection is a celebration of Ma, her teachings, and her vision. My mother is and will always be the inspiration behind my designs,” informs Arjan, who was a menswear designer before taking charge of his mother’s label. Arjan is successfully running his eponymous label Arjan Dugal since 2014, which has a vastly different vibe from that of his mother’s label.
“Arjan Dugal as a brand is classic but modern and eclectic. Simar Dugal is a vintage, artistic brand with an eternal appeal,” explains Arjan, who has taken over as the Creative Head of the Simar Dugal brand. He adds, “Each collection from Simar Dugal has taught me so much, and I delve to the very depths of each collection and its fabrics and treatments before I even start designing.”
While the brand Simar Dugal has already carved a niche for itself in the fashion industry and is a favorite among Bollywood divas like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt, Neetu Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty, Malaika Arora and others, the brand is further growing under Arjan’s creative leadership. “We were already well known for our gota use and treatments, so we expanded heavily into gota lehengas. In every collection, we now launch 3-4 different types of gota lehengas and have created a niche for ourselves in the market. We have also adapted older embroidery techniques and fabrics to younger silhouettes such as peplums and dhoti pants. We have expanded into bridal lehengas as embroideries are my passion, and I found that to be the optimum outlet. The Namrita Lehenga from the Sahar collection and the Chinar and Ek Taar Lehenga from the Ziba collection are such examples,” says Arjan.
Speaking about Ziba, every silhouette in the collection tells a unique story and the name of the collection — Ziba also has a story behind it. The versatile designer, who has learnt the ropes of designing from his mother, reveals, “The collections are named in line with the times as well as a reflection of the collection. Our last collection was called Sahar which means ‘New Dawn.’ That was the first complete collection which underwent the entire process from inception to execution after I took over as Creative Head of the brand. Ma was a tough woman who broke stereotypes. She became a model after having me and became India’s first supermodel. She ran a successful designer label despite several personal hurdles. She passed away after battling an illness for more than three years. The Simar Dugal brand honors the women of today and the name ‘Ziba’ is to signify the beauty of substance, internally and externally.”
Handcrafted with meticulous attention to the smallest detail; the regal collection is full of beguiling designs and is a rendezvous of culture and modernity. From lehengas dipped in red, pink, and navy to classic shararas and jackets in mustard, ivory, and sea greens — the collection is a kaleidoscope of colors and silhouettes. “The current collection has colors ranging from light pastels to noir black and includes ivories, mustards, sea greens, fuchsias, tangerines, reds, and different shades of blue. Our favorite colors are ivory/cream, mustard, sea green and navy, so you will always find these colors across all our collections,” explains Arjan.
Exquisitely crafted, Ziba portrays a colorful harmony of various handicrafts, blending effortlessly with Simar Dugal’s signature Gota and Ari work. Highlighting the techniques used to create Ziba, Arjan says, “We always use traditional techniques and fabrics. This collection includes Dori and Aari work, Zardozi, Kantha and Chicken stitches,”
While attention to detail, handcrafted embellishments, high-end fabrics, and signature floral patterns are the USP of the label, the Ek Taar stands out in Ziba, “The Ek Taar, with embroidered chevron patterns in zari, gota applique with tassels all over the body, stands out in this collection. It is a quirky, boho take on the usual treatments my mother used,” says Arjan.
The designer excitedly also gives an insight into their upcoming collection, “Our Fall Winter Collection this year will be reflective of traditional fabrics, techniques, styles, and treatments. It is going to be like something you have never seen before. Gota and applique from another world, seamless thread embroidery, use of shading techniques with thread, Dori and Aari, Zardozi and sequence. This one is going to be something special. We are looking forward to launching that in the coming months.”
Meanwhile, the Ziba Collection begins from INR 22,000 for the Pret Pieces and goes up to INR 2,20,000/- for the bridal lehengas. Every silhouette in the collection takes you on an old-world voyage with its exquisite craft and extraordinary designs.
Simar Dugal’s stunning designs can be purchased from the brand’s store in New Delhi or through several multi-designer stores online. One can also purchase the collection directly from Simar Dugal by contacting their sales team on our Instagram, they ship worldwide.