Sunday, June 26, 2011

Indian 'Haute couture' in Bangkok

I am sure my friends will snigger when they see the title of this blog. I cannot even pronounce 'Haute Couture'! In fact Tara does not trust me to buy clothes for myself and I have stopped buying for her after I bought the first and the only sari during my courting days. While she kept it, she never wore it again after the first try. She is afraid, in fact very sure, that if allowed, I will end up looking like one of the sidey characters of a SI movie.
... ..Bonny Sethi

My idea for a blog on a fashion designer came while attending Ayesha's wedding. I learnt that Bonny Sethi had designed clothes worn by many at the wedding including Ayesha, Viji, Gayathri and herself! The dresses were very striking and even to my untutored eyes it was clear that they enhanced the aura of the wearer! They were not outlandish like the ones we see sometimes in a fashion show.

A few examples of her designs.

While acquainted I had my opportunity to speak to her about her work in Goa at Aparna's wedding. I always look for something positive to write about India and Indians and it is not easy if you live in India and read the papers early in the morning. Luckily her story proved even better than I expected.

She was a very popular teacher in one of the International schools, even though she had studied to be a fashion designer and was independently running a fashion unit in India. Unfortunately there are very limited choices for well qualified women who come as dependents on their husbands' work visa to Thailand. We meet experienced doctors, engineers and lawyers who are unable to work.

After many years as a teacher, she took a bold decision in 2009 to start a company in Bangkok and follow her passion. Hired skilled tailors from India and got them work permits. She proudly says 'All very legit and the company pays taxes'. Very creditable to do this in a different country and working with the local rules and regulations.

I was told that one cannot just walk in to her boutique and tryout a dress and buy. You meet her by prior appointment. When I asked her why, Bonny said it works better that way. Gayathri confirms this as she spoke about her experience of getting clothes made by Bonny. They were colleagues at the international school. Gayathri says 'It is 'one-on-one' and personal. She sits down with you, tries to ascertain your likes, encourages you to try new things and it is a very interactive process'.

I also gathered that her clientele is largely expat Indian, even though she did design a dress for Coleen using Indian fabrics to attend the wedding in Goa. She uses authentic Indian fabrics and delves deep into our heritage for her creations.

Her first fashion show in Bangkok.

Bonny is on FB and also has a website which gives you an excellent idea about her work. Both are very well designed and tell us that essentially she celebrates all things Indian, the fabrics, the artistry and the originality of our ancient designs. You will enjoy browsing the sites.

Yes she also designs jewellery.


Gayathrirao said...

Jai Ho, Bonny Sethi! I am so very pleased with this blog as it really focuses on the wonderful designer AND committed boutique owner she is. Thanks Nidhi! And now I have to excel in something so you do a blog on me as well!

srinidhi said...

You have:-) and I have written about the Trio!

srinidhi said...

Seen on FB:
Bhavna Shah and Rajitha Narayanan like this..
Marisa Narula: Nidhi you have given Bonny the credit she truly deserves. She is truly elegant and gives her time fully to all who come to see her.
..Doreswamy Srinidhi: I love the way you encourage me! Thanks a million!
Marisa Narula: But do truly deserve it as you write so well.....
Gayathri Rao: Bonny's the best - and so are you , Nidhi! It is so wonderful to have such talented friends - what says??

Malini said...

Always a fan of Nidhi's blogs! So interesting to read about whats happening in Bangkok and that too through the eyes of someone living in Bengaluru! Kudos to Bonny of course and to you for bringing us snippets and pix to enjoy!

Kesari said...

Unlike the designs that one sees on FTV, these designs leave too much for the imagination!


srinidhi said...

But no harm in excercising your grey matter:-)

srinidhi said...

Nice to see your comment Malini. Feels good to know you liked my blog! Bangkok is close to our hearts and has many things to offer!

Maya Gopinadh said...

Lovely Blog Nidhi and so close to our hearts! We are so proud of our super designer Bonny and her fabulous creations! It was wonderful seeing you and Tara at Ayesha's and Aparna's weddings. Thanks for the Bangalore-Bangkok vignettes. And now I can comment at leisure as I have taken that long awaited break from teaching! Best wishes, Maya