The city of New York is one of immense significance when it comes to Pride Month, considering the colour and vibrancy on offer all throughout June. The events this year were one of immense significance for Delhi-based Mayyur Girotra who became the first South Asian designer to open New York City's official LGBTQIA+ Pride events by launching his luxury pret collection. He kicked off Pride Month with a runway show at SoHo’s Ave India Design Collective where he debuted his first ready-to-wear capsule, “Aikya”.
In conversation with Bazaar India, the designer speaks about the launch of his new collection, his views on equity for all genders, taking Indian craft to a global platform, and much more.
Nandini Bhalla: Congratulations on launching your new prêt collection Aikya in collaboration with Pride at Google and the Indus Google Network. Tell me how the collaboration came into being?
Mayyur Girotra: I did a show in New York in September 2022, and I wasn’t aware that someone from Google had attended it. Later, I received a call from my partner in New York and she said Google wanted to collaborate with us. I couldn’t believe it...I was thrilled! One of the leaders at the Indus Google Network, Shilpa Maniar, was impresed by the language, designs, and concepts we showcase at Mayyur Girotra, and the project materialised beautifully. And so, we decided to kickstart Pride Month in New York. This was a very exciting project for me, and also rather different, because I’ve been focused on bridal couture and Indian wear for a long time now. And to come up with a luxury prêt line, while still keeping the brand language intact...it was a fun process. The Google team has been a wonderful partner...they believe in creative freedom, so I was able to work on my vision and suggest ideas about the show.
NB: Can you take us through the collection, and how you have married the joy of Pride Month with your own signature style?
MG: Any piece you pick (from the collection)—whether it’s a trench coat, high-waisted pants, or a cropped shirt—is genderfluid. Nearly 95 per cent of the collection is non-binary. I am known for my prints and how I design them—I take Indian art, sculptures, heritage, buildings, and incorporate them into my designs, prints, and embroideries. We have done exactly that with our prêt line. You will see a lot of authentic artwork. Our signature workmanship remains, and the silhouettes have evolved to become more bohemian and eclectic.
NB: Which are your personal favourite pieces?
MG: I have a fond spot for the trench coat called Janet. It’s lovely and that’s one of my favourite pieces. Then there is the Madras-check with patola prints...you’ll find the pattern in the form of oversized jackets and shirts. I especially like these pieces, but it’s hard to pick because I love them all.
NB: What are your views on equality for all genders?
MG: It’s about love. And love comes with freedom. How can your freedom be taken away from you? If your body, mind and heart are not in sync with the opposite sex and you love someone from the same sex—it is your choice and your freedom, and that freedom cannot be taken away from you. It is a basic human right. How can someone force you to love or not love in a certain way? I think it’s such a shame that we still need to discuss this topic...
NB: Through this collaboration, you are taking Indian craft to a global platform. How important is that for you?
MG: I believe that India, right now, is at the centre stage of the world, whether it is our art and culture, or our embroideries and techniques. So many global brands are coming to India to get their couture garments manufactured. And even Indian designers are being taken far more seriously in the world now. I moved to New York five years ago, and I can certainly feel that difference. My work has evolved and is not just restricted to the South Asian community. I’m creating clothes for all communities, and I have clients from across the globe.
NB: Is there any particular craft that truly has your heart?
MG: I work very closely with Kutch and Kashmiri embroideries. We have used these techniques since the inception of the label. In this particular collection, you will notice that we have used these embroideries in a very eclectic, modern way. It screams India, it screams art, it screams our culture, it screams the story that I want to put on the ramp. And yet, the pieces are modern and friendly for all nationalities and cultures to be able to wear them.
Credits for third image: Left to right: Trench Coat Dress, ₹38,500, Trench Coat, ₹39,500, Pyjama Pants, ₹18,500, bucket hat, ₹5,500, T-shirt, stylist’s own, skirt, ₹18,500, crop shirt, ₹12,500, all Mayyur Girotra; Sun Sin Stack, ₹1,500 each, Simran Chhabra Jewels, shoes, stylist’s own
Credits for fourth image: Left to right: Emroidered Boyfriend Shirt, ₹22,500, pants, ₹16,500, Short Boyfriend Shirt, ₹12,750, embroidered pants, ₹28,700, and trench coat, ₹48,000, all Mayyur Girotra; Seceda Studs (on all three models), ₹5,200, Love Letter; shoes, stylist’s own
Photography by Ashish Allen Sinha, Styling by Palak Valecha and Yashima Babbar