sensibility that seems to have earned her the distinction of being the fashion director for an established brand like Satya Paul.
We met up with the designer over a cappuccino during her recent visit to the Satya Paul store at the DLF Emporio mall in Delhi.
Is Satya Paul a good fit for your image when you’re doing well on your own?
Satya Paul saris are a must-have for those keen to have a good collection of saris. I have grown up seeing my mother [actress Neena Gupta] wearing their designs. Some of their most iconic saris, in a way, have influenced my own design sensibilities also. So, when this offer came to me, I couldn’t refuse, as it is one of the very few brands that I connect with.
What are the changes that you will bring in?
I don’t want people not to recognise a Satya Paul. That’s why there will be no change in terms of design and style. I am just going to make it more contemporary by working with the design team for saris as well as accessories.
Will you move on to trying out new silhouettes and styles?
I’d want to introduce newer fashion prints and play with the sari’s structure if possible. Even simple techniques such as draping your pallu like a shawl make a difference. There are more than a hundred ways of tying the sari.
However, I must also say that most Indian women tend to shy away from a sari that is unconventional. While fabrics can play a big part, a sari which is tampered with a lot hasn’t worked so much.
It’s a global norm to have a designer take over a fashion house. Are you setting a similar trend in India?
Wow! It really feels nice to hear that I have become some kind of a trendsetter, finally. Otherwise whatever I have done in life seems to have been learnt only through error. I really feel that this may open up the doors for several young and competent designers to actually be far more relevant to the masses and bring a design revolution of sorts.
What are your plans for your own line?
Through my label, I’ve tried to offer saris that are not just affordable but also make one stand out. These days I’m focusing on getting my line ready for the fashion weeks, as I haven’t designed anything new since March.
What kind of relationship do you share with your parents?
I have a close and special relationship with my mother as I’ve spent the maximum time with her but I must admit that my relationship with my father [Caribbean cricket icon Vivian Richards] has also been very special. Although we are unable to meet too much, we are connected on the phone or mail or we try and meet in London. Mom at times can get a little hard on me (just like most mothers) but dad lets me be.
Your mom always wears beautiful saris. What’s her take on your designs?
Mom definitely has a beautiful collection. When I was growing up, I loved watching her dress up in beautiful saris. She has been a big influence on my designs. When she did the serial Ladies Special for Sony, she wore most of my saris, which was very flattering for me. But, unfortunately, soon I saw replicas of my designs being flaunted in serials like Pavitra Rishta. I was pretty zapped.
Why didn’t you choose to be an actor or a sportsperson like your parents?
I tried my hand at both acting as well as sports, but couldn’t make a mark in either of them.
The women she’d love to dress
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: She has never worn anything designed by me and has a very different kind of style. I would love to
design for her.
Barkha Dutt: Another formidable personality I’d love to style.
Mary Kom: She was on my wish list till recently. Fortunately, I got a chance to dress her for an event in Delhi.
From HT Brunch, January 13
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