From Paris Hilton to Aaradhya Bachchan, why designer Viranica Manchu’s bespoke fashion brands are a hit with celebs
Aaradhya Bachchan, the daughter of Bollywood power couple Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan, wore an eye-catching Florentina dress, exceptionally crafted for her 10th birthday that was celebrated recently.
The dress came from Maison AVA, the children’s couture brand founded by Viranica Manchu, which has won over fashion connoisseurs, influencers, celebrities, fashion editors, fashionistas, and child celebrities within a short period.
Paris Hilton, known for her bright and bold fashion statements, recently accessorised her look with Maison AVA’s custom-made mid-back length double-layered veil, custom dyed in neon pink, to add a traditional touch to her otherwise contemporary gown at her post-wedding “Neon Carnival” at the Santa Monica Pier in California.
While receiving the Padma Bhushan, Badminton star PV Sindhu wore a double Ikkat olive green patola saree paired with a Kanchi blouse from Label Vida’s festive heritage collection.
Viranica Manchu is no stranger to celebritydom. Her husband Vishnu Manchu is a successful entrepreneur, educationist, film producer, and one of the leading stars in the Telugu industry. She is also the niece of former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, YS Rajasekhara Reddy, and the cousin of the current Andhra Pradesh CM, YS Jaganmohan Reddy.
Born in the US, Viranica completed the formative years of schooling in Chennai and Hyderabad before moving back to finish high school and pursue BBA in fashion marketing, following it up with a programme in Gemology and Jewellery Design.
“I had always wanted to become a doctor though there was a fashion bug in me,” she says, adding, “I explored internships and volunteered in hospitals, but realised my calling was not in medicine, and my heart was in fashion.”
After completing her graduation, she moved back to Hyderabad and later got married and had four children.
“I was always looking for different and well-tailored outfits for my children and found a glaring gap in the market. I felt that if I as a parent felt this, many others felt the same way, who wanted beautiful ethnic or Western outfits for their children,” she explains the pain point behind Maison AVA.
Viranica started the atelier in January 2021, choosing Hyderabad as her base.
“People were sceptical about launching during the pandemic. But I took it as an opportunity to learn about the market and develop certain silhouettes one doesn’t normally see in other labels. We took the time to reinvent different types of handwork and set the right foundation for the brand,” she says.
Maison AVA, Viranica explains, is children’s couture that can be made specifically for an occasion – for a wedding, birthday party, celebration, milestone birthdays, etc. It also comes with a concierge service with custom design services for parents too who want coordinated outfits.
“For the launch, we had a grand photoshoot where everyone in my family, husband, parents, in-laws, children – a large group of 15 dressed in Maison AVA and Label Vida,” she says.
Label Vida, Viranica’s other brand, offers a curation of heritage weaves from all parts of the country, exclusive and specific to a region, whether it’s Banarasi, Kanjeevaram, Paithani, Patola, and more. These are again customised with different styles or embellishments, according to a customer’s preference. Label Vida also offers different collections to choose from.
Maison AVA’s target audience is parents, professionals, or entrepreneurs who want to dress their children in luxury.
In February, she has plans to take it global. Label Vida's clientele is between 25 and 45, young brides and those looking at customised clothing for celebrations, etc.
“Currently, Maison AVA is available is direct-to-customer, and clients can visit the Maison AVA atelier in Hyderabad by appointment. The plan is to have experience centres and four stores in Dubai, London, New York, and Beverly Hills. The plan for Vida is to make it available online first where AR and VR technology can help clients make the right choices,” Viranica says.
Label Vida, Viranica says, will help in uplifting the weaving community and reviving dying art forms.
So right now, the competition is very, very low for Maison AVA. However, if you look at Vida, there are, of course, many players - locally as well as nationwide, called heritage looms and there are so many talented designers in our country today.
“A lot of weavers’ families don’t want to continue the same profession as their parents and grandparents. I want to be able to create a platform where this art can live on. We are looking at how we can position them and accentuate the already beautiful garments, with a collection that is very vocal about craftsmanship and the hand embroidery that goes into it, true pieces of heritage,” she adds.
Edited by Megha Reddy