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Money cannot buy class, but it can open “classy” doors, says veteran designer Madhu Jain

brunch Updated: Mar 11, 2017 20:00 IST
Lubna Salim
Lubna Salim
Hindustan Times
Madhu Jain,bamboo ikat,St Moritz
(Avantika Meattle)

Date of birth

May 10

Sun Sign


Home town


Place of birth


First break

A chance meeting with Tarun Tahiliani at Ensemble decades ago


Convent of Jesus & Mary, New Delhi and Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi

High point of your life

Introducing a new fabric blend, the bamboo ikat, which is a first in the world

Low point of your life

Losing my Golden Retriever Buzo, who was my soulmate

If not a designer, you’d have been...

A historian working with a museum, since I’m a real history buff!

The one thing about Indian fashion that bugs you the most?

The excessive use of bling. I have a preference for classic understatedness.

A Hollywood star you’d like to style...

Kate Winslet, because she’s got a strong personality and exudes intelligence and confidence – a rare combination indeed.

A prominent personality from history you would like to dress, and why?

Without a doubt it would be empress Noor Jahan, for being the forerunner of Indian fashion and design. Not many people know that she developed chikankari and discovered ittar!

She also introduced Benaras brocade and Dhaka muslin to the Mughal courts.

Which Bollywood couple you’d like to style for their wedding day?

Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, because she is the ultimate clothes horse and he is unafraid to experiment.

Your favourite music on the ramp is...

Taarab music from Africa. It’s primeval and sublime.

A customised drink for Madhu Jain would contain...

Lemon, as in good old nimboo pani!

A high-street brand that one can spot in your wardrobe...

Anokhi, since its clothes resonate with my own style sensibility.

Describe your closet in three words.

Neat, coordinated and eclectic.

The one thing that you never leave your house without?

That’s a no-brainer. It’s my mobile phone, which is my hotline to work, family and friends.

The best way for you to unwind is by...

Hanging out with old buddies. My friends are precious to me and nothing can beat the comfort of

old friendships.

Money doesn’t buy class — true or false?

True. Though, it can open “classy” doors.

If there was an earthquake, what is that one thing you’d save and why?

A copy of the Bhagavad Gita that was given to me by my father when I got married.

Your advice to budding designers would be...

No matter how tempting it is, don’t be a slave to current trends. Have the guts to carve out your own path and follow your heart.

*My Favourites

Food: Curd rice

Movie:Gone with the Wind (1939)

Holiday destination: St Moritz

Colour: Indigo

Book:Sounds of Silence by Nan Umrigar

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From HT Brunch, March 12, 2017

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First Published: Mar 11, 2017 19:47 IST