About Anjul Bhandari
Anjul Bhandari is a couture label based out of New Delhi that has been at the vanguard of reimagining the traditional embroideries from Awadh namely Chikankari and Mukaish. She has brought Chikankari to the mainstream of bridal fashion through her elegant and classic aesthetic and the use of her signature pastel hues. Launched in 2012, the eponymous label has become synonymous for its Mughal craftsmanship and staying true to the traditional roots of the craft. Anjul Bhandari’s couture is every woman’s dream woven in the classic and effortless embroideries of Awadh. Helmed as the master of creating heirlooms to be passed down generations, her creations define timeless and ageless elegance.
The namesake of the label has always been recognized for her personal style, artistic decisiveness and her love for everything handpicked. Having been introduced to the arts through her social worker mother in law who worked to uplift the lives of artisans from the area, Mrs. Bhandari spent years learning more about Chikankari and Kamdani and identifying the master craftsmen to work with.
Kamdani, a dying craft for years has gotten a facelift as a result of the couturier’s efforts. Identifying modern ways to use the technique to complement Chikankari have been at the forefront of keeping the artform alive. Chikankari, originally embroidered using 32 unique tankas is now produced generically using only 4-5. Keeping tradition alive is the key philosophy of the label and we do so by employing 18 of these tankas in our designs.
Ek Taar is another such technique only a few are able to master. A saree is created in a little less than 2 years and we produce those on special request.
The Label Anjul Bhandari, established in 2012 and is focused on bringing back the old world glamour, romanticism and opulence associated with Mughal culture.
What started as a revolution to provide young women vocational training, has now produced more than 1500 skilled craftswomen and men, all working with the label.
Origins of Craftsmanship
The second half of 18th century saw the Nawabs of Awadh resettling to Lucknow from the Delhi court, where they gave credence to the legendary extravagances of oriental monarchies. The independence from Delhi allowed them to shape their own aesthetic and style in redefining court splendor and royal patronage. Late 18th to middle 19th century Lucknow attracted artists, artisans, musicians, chefs and literary figures, making Lucknow a cultural hub and giving it the glowing reputation of defining class, taste and most notably arts.
Origins of chikan have 2 narrative. One that of a princess, who out of boredom of her indolent lifestyle began to embroider a beautiful cap to attract the nawab’s attention. Soon that sparked jealousy among other women and they all took up this embroidery which evolved over time.
The other is a male narrative that come from Calcutta. It’s the tale of a wandering saint who taught this fine craftsmanship to Ustad Mohammad Shair Khan, an ancestor of Fiaz Khan, the first recipient of the master craftsman award in the early 60’s.