Blog Fashion | India
Rewild 23 - Fashion For Good
- 9th Nov 2023
November 4, 2023: Jaipur
In an effort to raise funds and awareness for the conservation of elephants and nature, Anita Dongre presented her craft-led couture show, Rewild'23, against the iconic City Palace in her hometown and eternal inspiration, Jaipur.
During a momentous weekend filled with opulence, royalty, and fashion, attendees were immersed in a cultural experience that exemplified the designer's philosophy and will be discussed for years to come.
Anita Dongre, a pioneer and advocate of purpose-driven fashion, has consistently prioritised women's empowerment and sustainability. Rewild's inaugural chapter was co-hosted by Jaipur royal family princess Gauravi Kumari. With the advisory partnership of Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and photographer Kartiki Gonsalves, the funds collected were donated to the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF).
The NCF's project in South India aimed to alleviate human-elephant conflict and advocate for peaceful coexistence.
Fashion and a critical plea to conserve the world's extraordinary fauna and pristine habitats were intricately intertwined in Rewild'23. Although the exhibition itself dominated attention, the entire weekend of activities also drew attention to the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation (PDKF), an organisation dedicated to promoting the financial autonomy of Rajasthani women.
The organisation advocates for social entrepreneurship through its collaboration with women in the provision of needlework and handicraft training, facilitation of health initiatives, promotion of education for girls, and skill development to establish sustainable livelihoods. Selected media were granted an exclusive visit to the foundation via pink e-rickshaws drawn by women, during which they had the opportunity to interact with the artisans and hostesses. Anita and Gauravi also declared their intention to establish Grassroot Home in partnership with the female artisans of PDKF.
Regarding her venue selection, Anita Dongre states,
"My inspiration and inherited legacy are Jaipur's cultural anarchy and exquisite aesthetics. Showcaseing Rewild at City Palace, a location steeped in sentimental recollections, was an epitome of fulfilment culminating in years of diligent effort."
The designer encountered Lekhraj-ji, a Pichhwai artist engaged in the restoration of the palace's deteriorating ceilings, at this location. Anita realised during their conversation that the only way to preserve his intricate craft was to produce works that could not be restored. Subsequently, the designer and artisan have worked together to incorporate the hand-painted craftsmanship of Pichhwai into haute couture items that have become brand signatures and are widely regarded as art collectibles.
"This show is a way for me to bring attention to India's endangered wildlife and its craft heritage. Pearl Gauravi Kumari's company on this expedition to rejuvenate and reestablish the wild is an absolute delight."Anita Dongre
Regarding the collaboration, Princess Gauravi Kumari states,
"When Anita initially approached us, we were ecstatic at the prospect of welcoming an Indian designer committed to promoting Indian craftsmanship and design internationally into our 300-year-old residence and the gracious hospitality of Jaipur City."
However, the genuine basis for this partnership is our mutual aspiration for a just and impartial global society.
In support of the NCF's endeavours, philanthropists and corporate benefactors travelled to Jaipur by air to commemorate this occasion and make contributions. The Foundation offers technological solutions and real-time elephant monitoring in an effort to mitigate the negative effects of India's deforestation on the communities that coexist with these magnificent creatures.
Additionally, The Real Elephant Collective's exquisite life-size elephants sculpted from Lantana, a noxious invasive plant devastating India's forests, garnered attention at the event. Every sculpture is crafted by native communities in the Nilgiri Hills, drawing inspiration from authentic elephant populations that peacefully coexist with human habitation.
The revenue generated from the sale of Lantana elephants is used to eradicate Lantana from the forests in order to improve elephant habitat and to encourage a more harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife.
President of Business Operations Yash Dongre, who spearheaded the realisation of the fundraiser's concept, explains:
"The intention was to motivate individuals from diverse interest groups to collaborate in order to effect positive change. The affection and support we have received from our benefactors and collaborators is beyond our comprehension."
This discourse was brought to the runway with the couture collection, which featured global contemporary silhouettes that encouraged the wearer to incorporate craftsmanship into occasions other than traditional wedding settings (e.g., cocktail parties, celebratory brunches, and red carpet appearances), thus fusing the old with the new.
Embroideries by the women artisans of SEWA, Gota-patti from Rajasthan, and hand-painted Pichhwai are included in the collection. Each garment showcases the luxuriant fauna and verdant vegetation of Indian forests. The entire collection is adorned with delicately embroidered and hand-painted elephants and birds that are interspersed with trees and floral motifs. These intricate motifs effectively convey the message of tranquil coexistence with nature.
The musical performance of the show was exceptional, showcasing the legendary Bhawari Devi's resonant vocal and the modern Komorebi in opposition to the formidable percussionist Nathulal-ji and his group of nagada players.
The weekend showcased a curated selection of domestic artists who paid homage to the state of Rajasthan. Notably, the entire undertaking was subtly guided by women. The table arrangements, which were designed by Claire Deroo, featured vivid bougainvillaea flowers that were cultivated in close proximity to the palace premises. Guests experienced Rajasthan in all its splendour during an unforgettable evening of fashion and music, accompanied by an exquisite Rajasthani thali curated by The Leela Palace Jaipur, the official hospitality partner.
Anita Dongre, when selecting a hospitality partner, states,
"With due consideration, I intended for each facet of the Rewild experience to embody the magnificence and friendliness of India."
Leela is an ideal collaborator for this occasion due to their magnificent palatial properties, extensive heritage in honouring Indian cuisine, and unwavering commitment to extending the warmest hospitality in India to their visitors. Glenlivet Glassware, the celebration partner, contributed to the merriment of the evening by meticulously crafting cocktails. The Midival Punditz provided the entertainment at the after-party, which featured a contemporary Indian dessert feasting station designed by Tejasvi Chandela, a chef and local artist.
Prominent figures who flew in support of the cause included friends of the wild and notable attendees, including Madhuri Dixit, Pragya Kapoor, Ayesha Kanga, Bhumi Pednekar, Manushi Chillar, Prajakta Koli, Sara Tendulkar, Tania Shroff, Raja Kumari, Karan Deol, Pragya Nadar, and Bhumi Pednekar, among others.The event was succeeded by an extravagant after-party, which was led by Midival Punditz and lasted until the wee hours of the morning, bustling with models and attendees.
A leisurely Middle Eastern luncheon was hosted over the weekend, accompanying the penultimate couture show. A restricted guestlist was granted access to this event, which facilitated an intimate interaction with Princess Gauravi Kumari and Anita Dongre. With the intention of fostering a lasting culture of societal unity for the betterment of all, Rewild is an unprecedented and unforgettable endeavour.