Goan designer bags top award at Cannes
07th June 2019, 03:54 Hrs
Goan fashion designer Verma D’Mello was awarded the ‘Best Red-Carpet Designer’ at the prestigious Cannes film and fashion festival, bringing laurels to Goa and India. This was for the fourth year in succession that D’Mello had enthralled audiences at Cannes and she was, reportedly, the only Indian to win an award at the world-famous event this year.
Incidentally, Hollywood actress Amber Martinez wore D’Mello’s creations, adding further glamour to the Goan designer. “I also received the award from her,” said a jubilant D’Mello. Commenting on her participation at the Cannes film and fashion festival, D’Mello said, “Presenting my new collection that reflects my life’s work to transform the lives of under-privileged and under-served rural women in Goa for the fourth time at Cannes has always been an honour.”
A highly sought after designer in Goa, India and overseas, Verma has represented India in Dubai (2014), Paris (2015), San Francisco (2017, 2018) and at the Cannes film and fashion festival since 2016. She has also participated at international fashion shows in Africa.
“It was great fun to present my stories of fashion and message from India, similar to my last three consecutive themes, which talked about women empowerment and calls for peace.”
D’Mello said her recent collection at Cannes was called “I am Ganga, a woman of today”, to highlight India’s sacred river, the Ganga, which flows through the holy city of Varanasi. “Our rural women possess great strength and spiritual powers of healing, replenishment, rejuvenation and revitalization. But when I encountered them and saw their lack of skills for even a basic livelihood, I was touched by how they, like our beloved Ganga river, need recovery from a deteriorating life-cycle of neglect and (environmental) pollution,” explained D’Mello.
The realization led D’Mello to enter into a partnership with Goa Sudharop, a California-based sustainable development non-profit “to teach the women skills and transform them into the jewels of beauty they should be.”
‘Thread Up’ is an initiative by D’Mello aimed at aiding women, who include tribals, widows and dropouts, to make them independent and to boost their self-esteem by providing them tools for their growth. “The dusky skies and beautiful smiles of these women reminds me of the charm of a ruby queen of precious stones. I want to make their lives better and help them create a new identity, gain self-respect and the power to design the life they want to glow like a ruby.”
Taking her own story of working to transform this powerful yet downtrodden Ganga like rural women into a ruby stone, D’Mello’s collection highlighted the vibrant colour and celebration of the sacred Ganga to cloth rural women in the many shades of ruby to symbolize their empowerment.
D’Mello said the response from the critics and fashion community was very overwhelming at the Cannes film and fashion festival. “Every year, the love and immense appreciation from various international fashion weeks keeps inspiring me and helps create a strong responsibility in making better stories through my designs.”
“In fact, it might be early to share but my excitement elevated when I recently received an invitation for two international prestigious fashion weeks and details will be shared soon,” said the fashion designer.
With two decades of experience, Verma has created ensembles for the Who’s Who of India and is one of the few Goan-Indian designers who believes in projecting the best of local artisans and talent to the world through her unique creations.
A graduate in literature, Verma was pursuing her degree in law when she got drawn into the world of fashion and moved to London and thence to Brussels, to pursue her dream.
Ever since, she has dolled up brides from all walks of life, making her the favourite designer for bridal gowns in Goa and catering to clients from India and abroad. After making her debut in the international fashion circuit at the highly-acclaimed bridal show at Bride Dubai 2014, and thereafter at the Paris Haute Couture in 2015, Verma D’Mello has done her bit in projecting Goa-India as the best wedding destination to boost tourism in the state.
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