For somebody who had no serious ambition whatsoever, Anushree Reddy has traversed an eventful path. Whether it is adorning celebrity wardrobes or creating ripples on ramp walks, this super talented Hyderabadi fashion designer speaks her heart out in an exclusive tète-a-tète with Ritz.
Text: Vanaja Banagiri
Makeup and Hair: Sandy
Photographer: Shreyans Dungarwal
Digitec: Sushmitha Tadakamadla
Assisted by: Pranil Chintewar and Ankit Totha
Fashion is her middle name and her eponymous label is flaunted by many a celebrity. If there is no `Anushree Reddy’ in a bridal trousseau, it probably means the bride is not savvy enough or her family has not `arrived’ on the high profile social scene. If that is not a statement, what is! But what’s interesting is the fact that Anushree Reddy never aimed for any of this. In fact, when she was a teenager, she had no ambition whatsoever. It’s quite a surprise even to her that she has evolved into one of the most sought after fashion designers in the country today. “My growth has been very organic. Honestly, I just wanted to take it easy and had no burning desire to pursue a career,” she says describing her journey, “I started it for a lark, just so that I could do something productive with my time after I got married. I don’t even have formal training in the field of fashion design. In fact, I am a business management graduate. I started off with one local tailor because I felt it was the easiest thing to do which didn’t need much investment. In a way, he was instrumental in pushing me because he would wait for me to turn up every morning and call me if I was late. It’s hilarious to remember those days. Anyway, I ended up making a bunch of clothes which were terrible. I participated in an exhibition and a couple of outfits got sold that too by my own family members because they probably felt obligated. The organiser told me later that I had to work a lot better. She was being polite, of course, because they were terrible. The utter lack of imagination and finesse were so obvious.”
Anushree is as candid as they come when it comes to her shortcomings. Anybody else in her place would have been probably given up but not her. She decided to take it seriously and how! She put her mind to her second collection which was a sell out. “I learnt through trial and error. The success of my second collection was the much needed shot in my arm. Over a period of time, I found my niche in wedding wear. I think like a bride and that helps me in getting it right. In fact, the lack of professional training helped me emerge as an original designer. I just go ahead put colours, fabrics and designs together that appeal to me regardless of the design rules. That has become my hallmark, even if I may say so,” she says in her characteristic candour. From then to now, she has grown from strength to strength in her professional life. “My turning point was being accepted by the Fashion Week. Even there, I made few mistakes initially. I learnt the ropes and got it right soon. Today, the first step for any upcoming designer is participating in the fashion week,” says the 31 year old who paved the way by being one of the first few to venture out of the city and carve a niche on the national ramp.
Personally, she has become a mother of 2 boys and balances everything smoothly. Married to Jaiveer, who belongs to a prominent political family, Anushree is grateful for the support she received from her parents and in laws. “My parents gave me complete freedom to pursue whatever I wanted to. They sent me to the UK for my MBA. They supported me when Jai and I wanted to get married. They have always been my source of strength. Jai has been an amazing husband. Initially, he used to be amused with my `tailoring’ endeavour but was always chilled out about everything. We live in a joint family and my in-laws are a blessing. I feel very secure with them around. My kids are well looked after and I have been able to focus on my work peacefully, all thanks to them.”
Anushree cherishes her childhood memories even now. “My mom has two sisters. All of us grew up together and it was a lot of fun. I am closest to my first cousins. We would hang out with one another the whole time. Our huge family is a great blessing. There is a great sense of solidarity which is rare to find these days. My mom insists that I attend the family kitty (a regular meet-up where all the women in the family gather for a meal) regardless of how busy my schedule is. I try my best to but sometimes it becomes difficult when I have a show coming up or orders to deliver.” And her calendar is chock-a-bloc with those. “I am fortunate enough to belong to a family of achievers. I’ve inherited a lot of qualities from that gene pool. The only thing missing in me, I feel, is their social skills. My dad has been a great influence on me as well,” says the second daughter of Malathi and Sukumar Reddy, “My sister Preethi and I spent a lot of time in our grandparents place. We had a fantastic childhood. My grand mom had the most amazing cook. That’s where I got the love for eating from.” Despite the fact that she was surrounded by delicious non-veg cuisine, Anushree has always been a vegetarian. “One trip to the local market along with our cook during my early childhood was enough to put me off meat forever,” she reminisces.
Her personal favourites are hues of pastels. When we ask her if she’s game to wear bold colours for the cover shot, she says gently, “That’s not me at all.” But she more than made up with the stunning ensemble she picked for the shoot. From the photographer to the make-up expert, everybody was delighted with her persona and her attitude. Having worked with super models and actresses, she effortlessly puts her best foot and angle forward like a pro. We feel she will make the best muse for her own creations. But she brushes it off with nonchalance. “I don’t wear my designs often leave alone showcasing them.” In the midst of the shoot, her dad watches while on his way out and decided to make the best of the opportunity. The father and daughter request the photographer to click on of theirs together for their family album. “We don’t have a picture of just the two of us,” he says. “I can’t believe it,” she says. As she gets in and out of her changes, she chats up with the entire crew making each one as comfortable as she is in her own skin. Self assured, super talented and sensitive, that kind of sums up Anushree Reddy, the designer and the woman! We just love this sassy girl and her sartorial elegance.