Back in the mid 90’s, the colours of the fruit bowl were de rigeur. Everyone from Sangeeta Desai to Tarun Tahiliani churned out ensembles in peachy hues, lemon yellows, citrus greens and cherry reds. This season, Delhi designer Monisha Bajaj takes a cue from the past and presents her Summer 2001 collection in fruity colours like mango, banana green and lemon yellow.

Not one to follow the usual summer trends, Monisha has not used the regulation whites and pastels but you do find the occasional gold, indigo blue, cream and off-white. "Summer doesn't mean that one has to strictly wear dull colours. Even if you are not too adventurous, you can coordinate it with something bright to liven up your personality."

Typified by Indo-Western silhouettes, Bajaj has used cool linen blends and cotton-silks for semi-fitted clothes, straight pants, slinky tops and long skirts. Monish has even used dori work to highlight her shirts in the pret collection.

The Monish Bajaj couture range is fashioned from sensuous chiffons, georgettes, organzas, gold tissue and net with shading in lime and yellow, gold and white.

Bajaj, also a model for Aviance, has incorporated a lot of layering into her designs. "I have also mixed and matched different kinds of fabrics. For instance, I’ve teamed crotchet lace trousers with chiffon tunics. I prefer a simplistic, uncluttered look, which is comfortable and non constricting."

Monisha is a product of Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in Los Angeles who, before establishing her signature style of underplayed chic in the domestic fashion industry, worked with Fashion Destination in LA where she designed their contemporary fashion division.

It was only towards the end of '96 that Monisha focused on the Indian market and set up her own label 'Monisha Bajaj'. "I always wanted to be my own boss. I guess that is why I left a great job in Los Angeles and came to Delhi," she reminisces.

"But establishing yourself in the domestic market is easier said than done. I had my fair share of doubts and teething problems, but I was confident that my style of underplaying would gel well with the clients here. I was also fortunate to have good media support which bridged the gap easily," she adds.

And so, Monisha began retailing her line at Carma in Delhi. Monisha Bajaj designs are available in other parts of India as well - Xenon and Intrigue in Kolkata, Oorja in Hyderabad and Heritage in Delhi. NRI’s may check her lines out at Westside in Dubai.

But for the best of the lot, check out Monisha’s latest collection at her signature store in Defence Colony, New Delhi.

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