In Bengali, a green parrot is called Tia Pakhi. Primarily brought up in France, Anais Basu’s french ascendants are from Mauritius. Influenced by her multi-cultural diversity she chose an exotic colourful name which increases the label’s enigma amongst the international buyers. Married to a Bengali and settled in Kolkata now, she uses Kantha to give a contemporary twist to her home accessories label.
Read on to know more about the designer who created this chic living.
MD: What drew you to designing?
AB: I was drawn to designing since childhood…… mainly DIY projects like sewing, knitting, embroidering, colouring books, painting and redecorating my bedroom, reorganizing the furniture, hand crafting christmas gifts… which were actually my hobbies. It only dawned on me later that one could make a profession of it when I attended a students’ orientation fair.
Initially I wanted to be an interior designer. But on showing my portfolio to some schools, was advised to take on Textile Design. Had never heard about it but thought that they knew best, so opted for that programme and never regretted it.
MD: Who or what were your childhood influences in design?
AB: My childhood influences have mainly been painters. I am passionate about colour and texture and would find extreme pleasure in seeing exhibitions or flicking through the pages of artbooks of yesteryear legends like Matisse, Chagall, Mark Rothko etc. Infact, I still refer to them for my work.
The latest fashions, and film and theatre costumes also interest me. My other takeaways would from nature and architecture.
MD: Why did you choose India to do your internship, after completing your studies in Paris?
AB: During my studies in Paris, I had the opportunity to showcase my work to professionals from the fashion field, some of whom had traveled to India for work. One suggested that my textile designs would look great if made with Indian savoir faire and techniques of embellishment. She asked me if I had ever traveled to India but my answer was no. This incident developed my curiosity for India and increased the desire to discover Indian textiles. This led me to find a company searching for designers for an internship in Kolkata, in 2006.
MD: How did you discover Kantha and what fascinates you about it?
AB: I was working for a textile export-house producing silks with computerized embroideries, in Kolkata. At the same time, through a neighbour I discovered Kantha and fell in love with the technique. This was my first step towards conceptualizing TIA PAKHI.
I am fascinated by kantha‘s simplicity and its intricacy. It reminds me of the first sewing stitches my grandmother taught me! Lending a beautiful texture to the fabric while blending with the surface, a simple design is made vibrant by the thread dashes which follow one another.
MD: As a designer what is your biggest or wildest dream regarding work ?
I dream of opening a TIA PAKHI store in Paris !
And would also love to do a large interior design project for a hotel incorporating our textiles.
Look out for this label during the upcoming Jaipur Literature Festival between 21st-25th January, 2016 at Narain Niwas Palace. It is a Wolf initiative which covers art, design, fashion, accessories, books, performances, installation and wellness.
Anais Basu +91 9831018222