I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the management of LIFT and the lecture panel for their
guidance and support.
My sincere appreciation is extended to my peers and colleagues who gave their unstinted support to
complete this assignment.
Last but not least, a special gratitude and love to my dearest parents who brought me to this world for
making many sacrifices for my betterment. My special thanks go to my two lovely sisters too, for their
support and encouragement.
Introduction about the designer 3
First collection 7
Best collection 8-9
Latest collections 10 - 11
Other lines by the designer 12
Conclusion 15 -17
Introduction about the designer
The legendary figure in Indian Fashion industry, Ritu Kumar was born on 11th November 1944 in
Amritsar. She graduated from Lady Irwin College (University of Delhi) in New Delhi, 1964. Later on she
went to Briarcliff College, New York, United States of America in 1966 for higher studies.
She got married to Shashi Kumar in her early 20’s and moved to Kolkata. By the time she was 25 years
she completed a course in museology. She understood still there was a part of her which was really
interested in fashion.
In 1960’s, she started her career as a textile designer in a very small scale, with four hand-block printers
and two tables in a village near Kolkata. She was the first to introduce the boutique concept to India
under the brand name “Ritu”.
Most of Ritu’s work is inspired by the royal heritage of Asia, especially India. The various crafts that she
uses in her garments vary from heavy dabka, zardozi, chikankari, kashida and karabagh. She was able to
develop a style of her own and her designs reflect the ancient traditions of Indian craftsmanship.
Today, she has thirty four outlets in all major cities in India and one outlet in America. Ritu Kumar
Boutique features a range of high fashion garments and accessories using silk, leather and cotton.
Started her career in 1960’s with a couple of hand block printers in Kolkata
In 1966 she introduced the boutique culture to India by opening the first boutique in Defence
Colony Link Road
In 1968 open “Ritu’s Boutique” on Wellesly Street
In 1969 her first business venture “Ritu’s Boutique” was converted into a partnership
In 1972 she started another partnership firm called “Ritika”
In 1973 Ritu Kumar revived the ancient craft of zaradosi. The signature Ritu Kumar look was
In 1975 she and her husband (Shashi Kumar) set up Kalamkari Design Pvt Ltd to produce for
international markets like London, New York, Germany, Amsterdam and Australia
Renamed her “Ritu’s Boutique” as “Ritu” in 1985
In 1990, she established a shop-in-shop at the Les Galeries Lafayette, Paris, as an ongoing
promotion of India
In 1994 she launched “Karabagh” collection – a collection of leather accessories and silk
In 1998 she won the outstanding women entrepreneur award from the PHD – Chamber of
Commerce and the lifetime achievements award from NIFT
In 1999 her book “Costumes and Textile of Royal India” was published by Christies in London
By 2000 she had completed the setting up of the subsidiary “Ritu Kumar Dot Com”
In 2002 with her son Amrish Kumar joined her and she launched a sub brand “LABEL”
In 2004 she was selected as the President of Fashion Design Council of India. Same year she got
the chance to design costumes for Oscar-nominated short film “Little Terrorist”. This film was
directed by her son.
She received the Indira Gandhi Priyadhashini Award in 2007
In 2008 she received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and
Letters) in France.
The House of Ritu Kumar launched its first perfume “The Tree of Life “on September 23, 2008.
Collections of Ritu Kumar
“I believe in going deep into the roots of every design to find out its relevance in the present context. I
also try and visualize whether a woman would look elegant in my designs. It’s a lot of hard work. But
then this is a very competitive field and unless you put in that extra effort you will tag far behind.” (Ritu
Kumar First City, Aug-9)
Within last two decades she has presented number of collections. Few of her great collections are
Zardozi Collection (1985)
Her first collection was Zardozi. This was introduced in 1985. More detail about this collection is
mentioned under the topic “First Collection” (page 7).
Kashida Collection (1988)
“Kashinda” is a Persian word. It came to Bengal through the Muslims. It is now included in the Bengali
vocabulary meaning ‘embroidery’. Another name for this is ‘Kashmiri embroidery’. This design is
adopted from traditional embroidery, in which only one or two styles of stitches are used to make an
entire garment. It is well known for the beauty of its colour, texture, design and technique.
To develop this collection she used coloured thread on hand block printed fabric. Blocks are small
surfaces of wood carved in reverse. These are dipped into dyes and the design is transferred on to cloth.
To date Rithu uses this technique significantly in RITU’s garments sold at her retail outlets around India.
Sangmarmar Collection (1996)
This collection was launched by the end of March 1996. She was inspired from carvings on the Taj Mahal
to do this collection. She has mostly used tones of white to do this collection.
Gulmohar Collection (1998)
This collection reflects the joy with the use of vibrant prints on chiffons.
Bridal collection (1999)
Ritu noticed that traditional Indian brides mainly dressed in shades of red. She thought brides should
not restrict themselves to red. When she is doing her Bridal collection in 1999, she used colours such as
mehendi green, saffron, khaki, turquoise and off-white.
Prêt to Couture (2000)
She presented her “Prêt to Couture” collection with a collection of woolen, silk and leather garments.
It was a collection of casual and formal wear. She was inspired by the basic Indian motifs, prints and
embroideries to do this collection.
Zardozi Collection (1985)
Zardozi is a kind of embroidery famous from mughal period and inspired from Persia.
Zar in Persian means gold and Dozi is embroidery. Wire known as ‘zari’ is used to do the embroidery.
This can be done in gold, silver and using multi colour thread.
After years of research, innovation and creation, in 1985 she launched Zardozi collection of traditional
wedding and evening wear in New Delhi. Novel use of material and the technique of Zardozi itself she
was able to attain applicability much wider than its traditional use.
Bridal Collection (2008)
After reading many articles about Ritu Kumar,
I believe her best collection was the designer bridal
The bridal wardrobes designed by Ritu Kumar
are unique. They are noted for their design and choice
of colours. Every Indian brides dream is to wear one
of Rithu Kumar’s unique bridal creations on that
special day. To create these stunning outfits, she uses
most of the ancient techniques such as zaradozi,
bandhani and chilkan work. Each garment designed by
Ritu for the bridal collection is a gorgeous and they
were decorated with the use of expert zari
embroidery, embellishments and thread work. These
garments are crafted in naturally rich fabrics like silks,
georgettes, crepes, tissues.
Her bridal collection is an excellent example
to show her natural gift in designing.
Image from her Bridal collection
The term "bandhani" derives its name from the Hindi word Bandhan which means tying up. The
Bandhani work has been exclusively carried out by the Khatri community of Kutchh. Silk or cotton cloth
is used to carry out this technique. Cloth is tightly tied with wax thread before the whole cloth is dipped
in a dye bath, afterwards thread are untied, the parts so protected being left uncoloured. After the
processing is over, results into a variety of symbols including, dots, squares, waves and strips.
The main colours used in Bandhani are yellow, red, green and black. In fact all colours in
bandhani are dark, no light colour is used, and the background is mostly in black / red cloth.
Chilkan is a traditional embroidery style from Lucknow, India. It is a unique craft involving
delicate and artistic hand embroidery. Initially, plain white cotton thread was used on plain muslin. In
her Bridal collection, Ritu has tried this technique on a variety of textile fabric like silk, chiffon,
georgette, organza, doriya and organdy.
Falaknuma Bridal Collection (2010)
Falakunuma was Ritu Kumar’s recent bridal collection. This collection was reveled with a fashion show at
Taj Palace Hotel Mumbai while the same creations were showcased on ramp in Delhi. She was inspired
by interiors of the famous Falaknuma palace in Hyderabad. This collection consisted of exquisitely
embroidered lehengas, saris, coats, kurtas, shararas and skirts.
About Falakunuma Place
This elegant palace was built by Nawab Vikarui-Umar Bahadur and located on a hill of 2000 feet high. It
is well known for its lavishly decorated interiors. The palace is laid out in the shape of a scorpion with
two stings spread out as wings on the north. The interiors of the main building have an Italian marble
staircase supporting marble figures and lined with portraits of British Governor Generals. The palace
also has an exciting collection of rare treasures - paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts and books
collected by the Nizam from countries round the globe.
Image’s from her latest Falaknuma collection
Image from her latest collection
To create these stunning out fits she has combined ancient handicrafts like zaradosi, bandhani, chikan
work. The collection boasts of rich metallic effects and intrinsic weaving and heavy embellishments, and
the clothes were inspired by royalty. Colour such as cream, beige, golden silver and black to bright
colours like orange and yellow was used to do this collection.
Other lines by the designer
Karabagh collection (1994)
The “Karabagh collection” was launched in 1994. It was a collection of traditional and modern handbags
and coats in leather along with a selection of cushions and quilts in silk.
The tree of life perfume (2008)
Ritu was the first Indian designer to launch her own signature perfume. She named it as “the tree of
life”. The bottle is designed with an old world charm, the glass bottle is imprinted with a beautiful
depiction of the Tree of Life and has an old fashioned pump spray to add to its allure.
Accessories collection (2010)
Her accessories collection was launched in 2010. The accessories are sub divided into three collections.
III. Laser Engraved and Madhubani
Ritu Kumar introduced leather ready-mades and accessories using traditional techniques. She
launched her “Karabagh” collection in 1994.
She developed handloom weaving to suit ready to wear needs.
Many times she has won the award for the Most Outstanding Evening Gown in International
She was honored with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by the National Institute of Fashion
Technology in 1998. Within the same year she received the Outstanding Women Entrepreneur
Award, bestowed on her by the PHD - Chamber of Commerce.
Again in the year 2000, she was awarded with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by the
Kingfisher group of industries at the Kingfisher Fashion Fantasia.
She got the award for the designer of the year 2004 by F Awards in Mumbai and ‘Glam Womens
wear (Indian) Designer’ by Tuscan Verve Zoom Glam Awards (2006).
The French Honor ‘chevalier des arts et des letters’ a knighthood was awarded to her by French
government in recognition of her contribution to Indian textile crafts and her interaction with
French fashion world.
She has also been graced with Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini awards for her achievements and
contribution in the field of fashion.
Ritu Kumar has designed the wardrobes of three winning Miss India winners for their participation in
international beauty pageants (Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Asia Pasific). The wardrobes
comprises of swimwear, evening wear, traditional Indian wear, casual wear and formal evening gowns.
Some of the beauty contestants for whom she has designed went on to win international titles putting
India on the global beauty map. Many have won awards for the Most Outstanding Evening Gown and
the Best National Costume.
Her outfits have been worn by style icons such as late Princess Diana and Jemima Khan, putting her
designs on the world map.
Ritu Kumar initially ventured into the crafts and then into the fashion world. At that time there were “no
designers” in India. Today, she has become one of the pioneers in Indian fashion Industry.
She had the courage to research and development. She was the first Indian designer to blend traditional
weaving techniques, fabric and embroidery with a modern perspective. Her ability to think “out-of-the-
box” made her where she is today. Her designs were unique and they reflected the ancient traditions of
Through her brand “Ritu” and her book “Costumes and Textiles of Royal India”, Ritu was able to take
India’s fashion and textile industry to a new level.
She had two fashion labels called “Ritu Kumar” and “Label”. Traditional Indian attire was manufactured
under “Ritu Kumar” brand. With her son joining her brand in 2002, she launched a sub brand by the
name of “Label”. Garments designed under “Label” reflected modern trends. It catered to young,
independent woman. Product range under this label was more focused on the cut, colour, drape and
feel of the garment. Garments under her new brand were more affordable. But, she made sure the
quality of these products was same as any other Ritu Kumar products. Introduction of a new brand
when catering to a new target market was a good example to show her marketing knowledge.
We can see that she did not limit herself to garments; she expanded her brand into accessory line with
colourful collection of handbags, wallets, clutches and footwear as well.
She displayed 25 sari’s in her initial sari exhibition and only managed to sell few sarees. Even though she
took two years to complete these products this incident didn’t discourage her. One person commented
that the saris looked like 'my grandmother's bedspread'. She took that as a compliment.
She proved that if one had talent and creativity, the handmade items can turn out to be more
demanding, attractive, glamorous and even more profitable than the products made by machines.
With the products featured on LIFW (Lakme Indian Fashion Week) in past few years, we can see that she
had a keen sense of colour and a good knowledge on market trends. She developed new styles adopting
fashion to suit local conditions, trends and customers.
This image is a proof to
show her talent in colour
matching. This also shows
her ability of blending
ancient techniques such as
tie and dye to create
I find her styles and designs very elegant and sophisticated. She has helped many craftsmen to revive
the dying legacy of Indian textile and embroidery. Examples would be revival of tie/dye in selected areas
in Gujarat, revival and change of end use of vegetable printing/painting and dyeing techniques in Andhra
Pradesha, revival and change in end use of the printing techniques of Tanjore.
She has single handedly given infinite colour choices in Bridal wear than any other Designer. In my
opinion her experiments with mix and match of colours and embroidery have worked excellently.
Within last four decades she has contributed significantly towards the Indian fashion industry by
preserving the culture through her large scale work in textile crafts and maintaining the traditional
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