Between the idea and reality, between the motion and the act; fall the will to succeed and to excel. It is the same that has driven designer duo Mona Lamba and Pali Sachdev.
Mona and Pali share a home and a cause: Designing. Hitting the catwalk more than two decades ago, the designer sisters have helped etch India on the international fashion map. The duo gave in to an inner compulsion, a natural aesthetic urge to pursue a dream in design with total dedication and determination. They were among the first few designers to hit the Indian catwalk more than two decades ago; creating a niche when designing was an alien concept in India.
The designers started in 1985 and in 1987, they flagged off their boutique ‘Monapali’ in Kolkata making their dream a reality. Thereafter, there was no looking back as they moved on to become stalwarts of the Indian Fashion industry.
The Monapali style: an unconventional mix of mediums; be it textures, textiles, prints or embroidery is the expression of the brand. Monapali revived traditional Indian art and crafts like Kantha, Folk Art (Madhubani, Worli, Pattachitra), tribal motifs and the Alpana from the realms of oblivion and elevated it to the status of haute couture culture. Combining block print with spray/smudge prints and hand paint, cutting through layers of fabric to create a distinct pattern and tearing fabrics to create anew is their forte. Multifarious embellishment techniques in ceramic, cord, terra cotta, mouli, ropes, wooden and shellac buttons and gauze have been used by the designer duo in a new creative avatar. The designers have also experimented with different stitch dye techniques like Shibori, and the traditional embroidery technique of Phulkari to create a range which captures the element of ethereal earthiness. The Monapali silhouette takes its cue from Indian cuts while also embracing the western style to create fusion wear. The designers offer a variety: a couture line, a diffusion range and a prêt collection with each range offering exquisite work and exemplary designs.
The designers have made their mark across the globe, showing at international fashion weeks, trade shows and exhibitions. Time and again they have been invited by the Government of India and NIFT to participate in various events all over the country. In 1994, they represented India at the Festival of India in China and in 1999 they represented the country yet again at the Bridal Summit Asia Pacific at New Delhi. They have also been a part of the New Delhi International Fashion Week 2002 where they shared the platform with international designers like Russel Sage, Vassilios Kostetsos, Manuel Fernandez, Miranda Oosting and Daniel Herman, to name just a few. The designers have also held numerous solo shows in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad and were awarded the Kingfisher Hall of Fame Award in the year 2000 along with the Jewel Of Bengal Award by the Rotary Club. As a rare compliment, Lakme India has launched a lipstick named after the designer duo called ‘Monapali’. The designers have also been a part of the Lakme India Fashion Week and later the Wills India Fashion Week since its initiation. In October 2002 they were the first designers from the sub continent to participate in the Toronto Fashion Week. This was followed by the Seattle Fashion Week 2010, Dubai Fashion Week, and in May 2011, the duo will be heading for the Jordan Fashion Week 2011.
They have designed for the Indian film industry and several international celebrities. H.E Adrianne Clarksons, Governor General of Canada being just one of their many clients. The likes of the late Patrick Swayze, Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Bipasha Basu, Minissha Lamba, Tina Ambani, Shabana Azmi, Nikki Bedi, Tabu, Lady Swaraj Paul, Juhi Chawla, Kiran Kher, Aparna Sen, Sarla Birla, Madhu Neotia, Priti Goenka, Shirin Paul, Raheja’s and Usha Mittal, Neena Gupta, Saraj Jane Dias, Rituparna Sengupta, Riya Sen, Moonmoon Sen, Dimple and Simple Kapadia, Sarla Birla, Madhu Neotia, Shobha De, Usha Uthup, Ujwalla Rawat, Meghna Reddy, Nikita Anand, Sarah Jane Dias, Madhu Sapre, Meher Jessia, John Abraham, Anita Ayub, Mini Mathur, Namrata Shirodkar, Milind Soman, Celina Jaitley, Manasvi Mamgai, Monikangana, Ushoshi Sengupta to mention just a few have been on their list too.
Mona and Pali are founder members of the Fashion Design Council of India. In 1993 the designers did the Mumbai Miss India Fashion Show followed in consecutive years were the Mumbai ELLE Magazine Launch Show, Mumbai Bacardi Diwali Fiesta, NIFT Shows, Calcutta All India Hotel Convention, Launch of the ITC Sonar Bangla in Kolkata, The Look at the Oberoi Hotel Kolkata, Midnight Fashion at The Tantra at The Park in Kolkata, Femina Bridal Asia in New Delhi, Inner Eye Fashion Show at The Grand, Kolkata; Patiala Heritage Show, Lakme India Fashion Week (2000-2004) and ABM Amro bank show in Kolkata. They have also participated in the Hong Kong Fashion Week and at the Intertex Milano at Milan. They were also invited to participate at America Fashion Week, held in Miami in May 2004, the Eurasian Fashion week in Russia 2008 and Virginia Fashion Week 2010.
In the year 2007 their creations walked the ramp at the Centurion Bank of Punjab Show in Chennai and Chandigarh, the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi in March and October, the FTV Bar Show and First Face in Hyderabad, the Khadi Fashion Show organized by the South Asia Foundation in Katmandu in October, and raised funds for Maneka Gandhi’s pet project in Delhi and Bangalore through an exhibition.
In 2008 they have showcased their collection at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in March and in October and the Dubai Fashion Fiesta in July, Bride & Groom in Bangkok. At the Kolkatta Fashion Week, Bipasha Basu and Minissha Lamba walked the ramp for the designers. Besides participating in the Wills India Fashion Week in 2009, the designers participated in the opening show of the Lakmé Fashion Week titled the 10 Year Celebration Show, Then- Now-Forever in September 2009; India International Fashion Week 2009, Wills India Fashion Week Spring Summer 2010 and Kolkata Fashion Week Earth Couture September 2009. At the IIFW in December 2009, the designer duo for the first time launched a line of paintings that served as an inspiration to their resort wear collection. In 2010 the designers opened the year with WIFW this was followed by the Jaipur and Chennai Fashion Week respectively. In 2011 Monapali has been a part of the Bangalore and Ludhiana Fashion Week and have opened the Chennai Fashion Week slated for 13, April.
Monapali also design and export to international marquees like the Maxmara group besides other international conglomerates.
Quiet, reticent and self-effacing, they are considered by fashion pundits as ‘Silent Contributors’ to the livening up of the Indian fashion scenario. Rohit Khosla, the father of Indian fashion industry, had applauded their work. He remarked that they are one of the most innovative and original designers of all times. (Appeared in 'The Economic Times- E.T. Esquire').
- Monapali Silk Route (Couture line)
- Monapali (Indian diffusion and prêt line)
- MAPP (Western prêt line)
- MPP Creations (Export label)
- Monapali Pour Home (For men)
- Monapali Design (Interiors/Space design/Paintings)
Coming up: Home line, Jewellery line