What I Know About Style

Anu, Ananya



Queen of Kaftans Ananya founder Anu Mirchandani on her Indian heritage, addictive London and people watching in St Barts

What sparked your interest in kaftans in particular?

I’m originally from Mumbai in India and I was inspired by the popularity of kurtas and kaftans – the more elaborate and sexier vesions of kurtas – from there. A lot of my Indian friends were making them. I’m totally inspired by my Indian heritage – the colours and embroidery, although I also get inspiration on my travels.

What is your fave travel destination?

South of France – where I sell a lot of my designs. I love the energy and beaches of the area. I love to swim and I enjoy people watching. People dress really well there. Notting Hill and St Barts are also great people-watching spots. People give me inspiration for my designs and I enjoy going to beachy places and checking out the different kaftans.

Where else provides inspiration?

Rajasthan for its palaces, art and books.

Why did you choose Notting Hill for your stand-alone boutique?

I originally set up shop in Knightsbridge where I also stocked other labels. It’s where I styled Keira Knightley for the Bend it Like Beckham premiere. I moved to Notting Hill six years ago because I love the vibe here.

You have a strong celeb following. Can you name-drop a few?

Victoria Beckham, Madonna, Paris Hilton, Elle McPherson have all bought my designs. Naomi Campbell continues to shop here and Colin Firth has bought things for his wife. We also have lots of local TV celebs who buy from here. Lots of Bollywood stars including Shilpa Shetty – we have a store in Mumbai which my sister handles.

Who would you most like to design for?

Cheryl Cole because she is so pretty and successful. I also think Natalie Portman and Kate Middleton would be good to dress.

Describe your typical work day…

I don’t have a typical work day. I do come into the shop every day, but I’m always out and about sourcing to get ideas for my designs and I also have a lot of meetings. I do a lot of my designing at home where there are few distractions.

Where can we find you after work?

E&O or Mediterraneo in Notting Hill or Cipriani, The George Club, La Petite Maison or China tang in Mayfair where I live.

What’s your tipple of choice?

I like a glass of rosé on holiday.

And what do you miss while you’re away?

London is home for me. I think it is the best city in the World – it has everything and it is addictive. You can never get fed up of London. I’m always entertaining visitors from the US and India.

How do you keep fit and healthy?

I go to the gym three times a week.

What are you working on now?

Summer 2012 collection and I’m doing up my home – I studied interiors at Inchbald School of Design. I love interior design and being creative.

What’s your philosophy on life?

A lot of my designs include butterflies. They can live for just three or four days. It’s a good metaphor for how to live life – to the fullest.

Ananya, 196 Kensington Park Road, London, W11; www.ananya.uk.com; 020 7792 3339

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