Designer Neeta Lulla: Launching Her Latest Store in Delhiby Opinion Express April 10, 2018 0 comments
One of the fluid identities, Designer Neeta Lulla, has now come up with her new inventions and latest designs at her newly launched store in Delhi, addressed by Team Viva.
Designer Neeta Lulla doesn’t bother about the labels that get stuck on her and just goes with the flow. She has done it all, from costumes to wedding garments, pret to couture, and taken each task assigned to her as a challenge. So she chooses not to define herself or her design discipline. “From my school days, I have always gone with the flow and somehow it has worked. I have never sat down to make notes or planned my day from point A to point B. I have juggled with designing clothes for multiple films, styling magazine shoots, building a label, showcasing collections and spending time with the family. There is no hard and fast rule when you are multi-tasking. You just need to prioritise at that point of time and see to it that you finish the task.” The designer was in the city for her flagship store launch in DLF Emporio.
What are your expectations from Delhiites once you open your store here?
I have a lot of clients from Delhi who fly down to Mumbai to buy my outfits. With the kind of clothes and the work I am bringing in, I am hoping for great sales. There is sensuality in the latest range. There are vintage colours with silver and foam.
What will be your pitch in the crowded designer retail space in Delhi?
I feel my products will speak for themselves. If I am not doing well, I am to blame and may be I have not been up to the mark. But I have always believed and come up fairly because in the end, the product speaks. I think that is the loudest one can shout.
Apart from that, one needs to keep reinventing constantly. In that sense I am not a consistent designer. But some of my high points have been fluidity of forms and silhouettes, colour accents of the Renaissance and the subtle blend of Indian and contemporary. Last year, I had focussed more on heritage and played with Kanjeevaram saris. This season has Edwardian elements with pretty butterflies which would make one wonder if this is Neeta Lulla. I like to keep surprising myself, given the short attention span my buyers have. As a creative person too, I get bored with doing the same thing over and over again. That is my design philosophy.
Your meticulous research and knowledge of fabric are considered to be one of the reasons why you are sought after for period films. Do you bring that to your contemporary lines as well?
I have studied fashion, so I do extensive research on fabric and silhouettes. I have been teaching fashion for the past 26 years. But filmmakers get drawn by my ability to create a look which is conversive and in sync with the adjectives of the contemporary audience. For example, I had to create a brocade look. Instead of opting for brocades or pure silk, because my DOP was using natural light, I had to create something that looked rich but at the same time did not scream texture. Thus a lot of work was done on mul with embroidery sections created on it. We needed to walk that thin line.
Do you feel India is going through a revival period in fashion, bringing back our age-old textiles like Jamdani?
I think we are quite tradition-bound. It is just that social media has widely propagated that consciousness. There is such a strength in our great artisans and heritage of fabric, colours, and design, we can create a global movement.
How do you feel fashion designers can popularise khadi among a younger audience since it has the potential to employ the largest number of people in rural India?
I think khadi is the essence of our country and I have begun to use it even while styling for films. In the Kangana Ranaut-starrer Manikarnika, there is a whole segment where all the characters are dressed in khadi.
How does knowing the back stories of characters, their behaviour and where they are coming from help you in designing costumes?
It is a process that even I am unaware of. It is just an instinct. Once I get the story, I read the script about four times at length and jot down some takeaways of the character. A kind of colour may be shouts out in my head, a fabric, a fluidity of form. Apart from that, what also works is the careful research I do depending on what era it is they are talking about, what kind of trade happened around that time and between which cities or countries, the merchant boats that came in… It is a long and rigorous process. Manikarnika took me six to eight months. You have to be very careful about how you utilise colours while depicting a negative or positive character.
How different is it being a fashion designer from a costume designer?
As a costume designer, you create an entire look and lifestyle for the character that exists in your mind. The reason we call it costume is because it requires a lot of detailing to enhance figure types to create a character that you probably have heard about. As a fashion designer, the consumer is a flesh and blood filled out character and you fit into his/her requirements.
Do you feel fashion as we know it will see a downfall in the generation we are living in today?
There is a tremendous knowledge about what is going on with everybody and today, at the drop of a hat, you can go on to social media and see what all other designers are doing. Then the presence of brands has spoilt us with choices. And with so many online sites that tell you what to wear, how to style yourself and how to look good, people have started making their personal style statement. However, this was not the case earlier where one looked at a fashion magazine for inspiration. Fashion is becoming generic, there is a glut and I would say, therefore, that fashion is static. We are trying to play it safe thinking we should play to the gallery and ensure sales. We are scared to invent and we are getting scared to take chances with designs and to experiment.
Sometimes when you are experimenting, people come up with queries, get judgemental about your work and don’t even find it to be fashionable. But as a creator, we have to take that risk.
Tell us something about your fashion school?
I did launch the school but now I am not connected with it. With the advent of online education, I like channelising budding designers in the right direction in any way possible. I enjoy tapping into the imagination and creativity of young minds.
Writer: Team Viva
Courtesy: The Pioneer