How Rimple and Harpreet Narula Created Breathtaking Outfits For Padmavati

How Rimple and Harpreet Narula Created Breathtaking Outfits For Padmavati

Designers Rimple and Harpreet Narula detail the painstaking research that went into creating Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus on screen
How Rimple and Harpreet Narula Created Breathtaking Outfits For Padmavati

After watching the trailer of Padmavati, the one thing that won’t skip your attention are the intricately styled, gorgeous costumes. Going hand-in-hand with the larger-than-life sets the costumes for the film were meticulously crafted by couturiers, Rimple and Harpreet Narula. From illustrating Sanjay’s vision, to sourcing rare fabrics, to creating masterpieces, the designer duo let us in on the mammoth work that went into creating the tale of love, infatuation and revenge. 


Our design process started with understanding the narrative and time of that era. Shahid Kapoor’s character, Raja Rawal Ratan Singh hailed from Chittor, so we mainly used mulmul (soft muslin) and cotton for his costumes, to been practical, keeping in mind the weather conditions of the region. The prints were elaborate and meticulously done.


Once we read the script and were present for the look test, we automatically developed a mental mood board of how each character should look. Mr. Bhansali is a true perfectionist and that just means that all the teams involved in the production, had to be on the same page at all times. We worked closely with every department involved, including the team making the props.


Since the film is based in the 14th century, every influence we are currently living with, had to be eliminated from our minds. Everything had to be conceptualised right from the roots. In that era, most of the fabric and embellishment was sourced and produced locally. To achieve each look to perfection, we developed every block print separately, as we didn’t want to use what was readily available. The challenge was that there were very few artisans who understood that era. To make each creation more authentic, we used gold and silver leaf printing for Shahid’s turbans, giving it a royal feel. Months went in to dyeing fabric for costumes. It would sometimes take around 20-25 times, until we would get the colour right!


We attempted to break all clichés, without taking references from any past period dramas.  We had to rely on our research and imagination, taking cues from various surviving textiles we spotted at the different museums we visited. So, what you’ll eventually see is beautiful poetry woven graciously together.


Every character is different from the other and they were each given a unique look.

Shahid: Shahid’s look was easier to achieve (drawing inspiration from the Rajput’s), yet we researched deep. We checked out traditional wall paintings, textiles in Jaipur and Ahmedabad, and even the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Deepika: A lot of motifs were used, such as lotus, peacock and parrots, along with ancient Rajput art to bring about the element of romanticism. Gota was the main embellishment in Deepika’s costumes, along with beautiful zari. We however faced a lot of difficulty sourcing authentic gota since most of it nowadays is mixed with plastic, thus doesn’t get oxidised. To achieve authenticity, all the gota was hand-made from villages around Jaipur. Most of her garments had to be aged, using organic techniques like tea staining etc. For instance, if we had to give a pink or red tint to a fabric- we would dip it in pomegranate molasses.

Ranveer: Ranveer’s costumes were the most interesting to create. Since he was the sultan of the Delhi sultanate, who essayed a dark character, we used heavier fabrics such as brocades and velvets. To achieve a beasty feel, the artwork influences were more central Asian in nature from Afghanistan, Turkey and the Mughal Sultanate. Special crowns and turbans were created keeping the period and province in mind. The zardosi used on Ranveer’s costumes was the star attraction. Most of the embroideries were created in Lucknow and Delhi whereas, Shahid’s and Deepika’s were all done in Rajasthan.


We created some beautiful footwear for every character. The juttis you’ll see on Shahid is very Rajput in its design, whereas the ones created for Ranveer, took inspiration from old Delhi. The turbans created for Shahid’s character were adorned with stunning jewels from Tanishq. As for Ranveer’s, the jewels used were uncut and raw, to portray an element of the wild. On Deepika, we used a lot of traditional Rajputani jewellery, draping each piece intricately to perfect her look.


Take a look at what Rimple and Harpreet illustrated before the designs came to life so gorgeously on screen


Kareen Dsouza illustrates her own vision to the costumes that are the talk of town