The name ‘Saloni’ means beautiful in Sanskrit, and it couldn’t be more apt, as designer Saloni Lodha makes dresses that make the wearer feel, well, beautiful.
Born in India, Saloni moved to Hong Kong to sell her designs in pop-up boutiques before eventually coming to London 7 years ago.
The influences of her native country have never left her designs: colours clash exuberantly, silks are draped with perfect femininity and artisan beading adds to the standout hues.
But Saloni is also influenced by living in London: quirky detailing and couture-like finishes only add to the appeal for her loyal host of celebrity fans including Emma Watson and Poppy Delevingne.
Clothing for the uber-girl who’s always first and last on the dance floor - we caught up with the designer behind it.
What are your design signatures?
The SALONI aesthetic is centered around a combination of vibrant colour, hand drawn prints, draping and versatile shapes.
Who is the Saloni girl?
The SALONI girl seizes a feminine appeal without being too girly. She is unique, beyond a classification of age or style and has an eclectic aesthetic. Most importantly she loves to have fun with the way she dresses.
What can we expect from the Saloni label in the next 3-5 years?
We plan on launching a stand-alone SALONI store in London. There is a lot of demand for more SALONI accessories and jewelleryry as well as for expanding into homeware for our prints. Hopefully it will be a very busy time. I am also looking forward to expanding our distribution in the US and Asia.
What celebrity would you most like to see wearing Saloni?
I have been extremely fortunate and proud that a number of high profile women like Helena Christensen, Samantha Cameron, Michelle Obama have bought and subsequently worn SALONI at important events. I would love to see Freida Pinto wearing SALONI as she is beautiful and talented. Most importantly - I think she would look great in the clothes.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I guess the obvious answer would be everywhere and this is undoubtedly true. I have noticed however that inadvertently inspiration has started taking the form of stories that resonate with me because they fundamentally relate to exploration, discovery, the meeting of cultures and what this gives rise to.
What’s your favourite piece you’ve designed to date?
The 'Iris' dress- I love the simplicity and pure ease of the shape.
You’ve lived in India, Hong Kong and London – which has influenced your designs most?
All of them in their own way. India for its appreciation of colour, fabric and embroidery and London for its quirkiness, vibrancy and cosmopolitanism. I have spent a considerable amount of time in Seoul as well which has become a very cool city and the pop-culture reference point for East Asia. I like to think that my designs are infused with a little bit of all these elements.
You’ve said before that you want to make ‘Made in India’ a luxury tag. Is that becoming a reality?
All the individual components are there. Skillful artisans, a historical tradition of the manufacture of beautiful things, an incredibly sophisticated domestic market for Indian wear, wide-spread sensibility and interest for garments. There is still some work to be done in bringing all these elements together to service the global luxury market but we will get there.
What’s next for Saloni?
Earlier this year we made our first short movie for SALONI which was an incredible though exhausting experience. I would like to keep working on projects which are creatively stimulating - perhaps some collaborations with artists and sculptors. There are so many possibilities!
SALONI is available to buy at www.matchesfashion.com