Tell us about your upcoming show in Paris Fashion Week.
Oh yes, it’s very exciting! We have a showroom there and we take appointments around the same time. It is like an exhibition of some sort in Westin hotel. It’s a big hub, so there are a lot of international designers who take over the suites. We’re pretty new to the Paris fashion scene, three seasons old but the response has been very encouraging!
Your label is known for a lot of cultural symbolism, so what is the inspiration behind SS17 that you’ve brought with you to Dubai?
We went to Amsterdam’s modern art museum and we were completely blown away by the contemporary and modern art scene. We soaked in so many inspiring paintings, sculptures and it was just a visual delight as designers to experience that. It inspired us to try our hands with abstract brushstrokes and artistic mixing of colours for the first time, because we are usually very precise, as can be spotted in all our earlier collections. But we love the spontaneity, which inspired us to be very adventurous to play with colours and textures.
When you look around this room, you look at every piece, very different textiles and textures are being used. What is your process of selecting the material that you are working with?
We always look for something new which we are excited about. Yes, some techniques have become our signature so we reinvent them because everybody loves them. And to create something beautiful every season in that genre is also a challenge because how do you recreate it? You know, we did florals one season. Then what do you do? We did some thread work with the same applique. The colourful collection is very exciting is also selling very well because customers love the classic pieces, that you can wear for 10 years and will still be beautiful. And something like this collection is so fresh and exciting.
Do you think you attract the younger client compared to elderly women who actually have the money to come and purchase designer outfits?
No. I would like to believe that our label is one of the few that is very creatively exciting but even the older women will find something easily. There are some shapes, shrugs, open jackets and some easy tunics that attract all kinds of women. Being in India, it is a slightly conservative market where we won’t survive if we don’t cater to that “buying segment”. We know that segment very well. In fact, young girls and their mothers can both shop at the same store, from Indian outfits to western dresses, and leave with exciting wardrobe essentials!
When you come here to Dubai to exhibit, how different are your clients compared to India?
Women are in great shape here. In India there are women who are in great shape too but here everyone is body conscious. We have to make a completely different size range. But I also think Dubai women are extremely fashionable, they are conscious of international styling, trends and are a lot more aware and opinionated about what looks good on them. It is exciting as a designer to have fashionable girls who know what they want.
Exhibitions are a great way for potential customers to meet you and for you to meet prospective clientele, compared to fashion weeks. Do you think celebrity culture has completely overshadowed fashion in India?
Celebrities rule for sure. But there is a niche clientele who is very educated, who is a fashionista or who reads international fashion magazines. Celebrities will always be the original trendsetters for the masses but a girl who is knows her fashion, would not necessarily just blindly follow celebrities. She would follow brands, she would know her Instagram brands or whatever, and she would experiment. So I think niche that exists which doesn’t believe in that celeb madness.
How difficult or easy is it to work with your husband?
It is very nice together, actually. It just happens with us very naturally. We are blessed I think. Our design team does not get any conflicting ideas because we can probably disagree, and Pankaj can say something else, but never happens somehow. We always dislike the same things and we always like the same things. We have trained designers who are sensitive about their creations. I say, “ I think this is not very nice. Go and ask someone,” and Pankaj ends up saying the same thing, like maybe, “the colour is not looking nice.” So we just think alike. We have the foundation where we really work together quite effortlessly.
What other designers in India do you think are breaking ground in the world of fashion right now?
I would say, Amit Aggarwal and Anamika Khanna. I really respect them for their talent. These two are my all time favourites.