When actress Deepika Padukone picked her wedding saris from a private low-profile label Advaya, it put the spotlight on designer K Radharaman and his Bengaluru-based Angadi Galleria. Part of the spotlight came because of a social media mishap with ace designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee.
In an Instagram post, Mukherjee had initially failed to mention that both saris worn by Padukone — one for her Konkani wedding, and another for her Bengaluru reception — were designed by Radharaman. He later corrected his post.
Radharaman, whose family has worked in woven work for the past 600 years, says he has no hard feelings against Mukherjee, but felt obligated to speak up.
“I do not and never did have any intention of being critical of Sabyasachi Mukherjee or anyone else. I do not have any negative sentiment towards anyone and we did thank him publicly on social media for giving credit to us after we pointed the error to him,” Radharaman said.
“That said, when I was informed that another design label had claimed credit for my work, I felt obligated to speak up on behalf of the entire design community of which we are all a part of,” Radharaman added.
Asked if he thinks ‘popular’ Indian designers have an edge over textile experts like him, Radharaman said: “I am as much a designer as any other designer, the major difference being is that I am low profile, and have not yet publicised the work under my private label Advaya, though it has been in existence since 2010. I also own retail brands that are distinct from my design label and unfortunately the difference between retail brands and designer labels is not yet fully understood here as it has been in the West.”
Radharaman calls himself primarily a textile designer.
“My role is to design and engineer textiles, and in this case, the sari. A textile designer has to conceive the look and appearance of the fabric before a single thread is in place. Hence, to discredit a designer for his or her work is simply put, unfair,” he added.
Padukone chose to celebrate her wedding day and Bengaluru reception in an Advaya Kanjeevaram sari.
Both saris, in pure zari, were designed by Radharaman under the label Advaya from The House of Angadi.
So why has The House of Angadi and Angadi Galleria kept such a low profile during the wedding and Bengaluru reception?
“We understand the need for keeping purchases made by VIPs and celebrities discreet. We respect the privacy of our customers and sometimes have to be mindful of their commercial associations (past and present) with other brands which sometimes prevent them from disclosing the identity of the designer from whom they choose a garment,” Radharaman said.
When I was informed that another design label had claimed credit for my work, I felt obligated to speak up on behalf of the entire design community.
“Many celebrities, apart from Deepika, have bought Advaya saris from The House of Angadi. My family has been in the trade for 600 years and began as court weavers to several royal families. My father has had the privilege of having several of his creations worn by great personalities including former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Maharani Gayatri Devi, Nargis Dutt among others,” Radharaman said.
“Besides, in this instance, you would appreciate that choosing a wedding sari is a deeply private affair and we chose to respect this fact,” he added.
Radharaman said the saris selected for Padukone’s wedding was a decision by her and her family members.
“Deepika was personally present and tried out the saris before her family and she completed the purchase. The design in question was not customised for Deepika, but is among the rarest and most exclusive of designs,” he said, adding that the Padukones are among their old clients.
Padukone eventually wore a Sabyasachi design for a post-wedding party, which the designer promptly displayed on his social media, labelling it ‘head-to-toe in Sabyasachi’.
Singh and Padukone are set to host another wedding reception in Mumbai for their friends on November 28.