She made several fashionistas embrace their fun side by donning saris with prints of mundane objects such as cameras, table fans, telephone booths and lipsticks. She made designer wear seem affordable to several young fashion watchers. And in 2012, after being declared as the Fashion Director for Satya Paul, a fashion house older than her, Masaba Gupta had marked her presence in the fashion world. Her colour-blocked outfits with a dash of quirk grab the eyeballs. Gupta gets candid a day before opening for the fashion week in Delhi.
Your collections are defined by prints. What is it going to be this season?
This season will be defined by two prints - a print of the first sequin-making machine and second is what I call the gunny bag print, which will be the House of Masaba stamp as a sarcastic comment on the fashion copy industry. I am in love with the whole Gatsby concept so the silhouettes will be the marriage between feminine and sporty. I will be introducing the choti (braid) sari; there will be flunky dresses, palazzo pants, ribbed necklines, embellished sports bras and also use of zardosi and benarasi embroidery. I have played with shades of white so you will see white on off white, and also ice blue with red. I have also designed a car using a mix of all my signature prints that will be auctioned for charity.
You made your Couture Week debut with Satya Paul two months ago. How do you keep both the identities separate?
Satya Paul and House of Masaba are like two sisters - one is elegant and sophisticated and the other is a fun organic ikat silk wearing woman. Though both the brands have print as their focus, Satya Paul is more engineered. For example, the lipstick print sari, had it been for my label, I would have stuck to the same print all over, while for Satya Paul it was different versions on the print in the same line. I don't feel the pressure and take criticism seriously unless it makes sense. Mom (Neena Gupta), Sonam (Kapoor) and Rhea (Kapoor) are always there with concrete advice.
What do you feel about several young designers resorting to quirky prints?
It has gone out of hand. Manish Arora first made it work internationally. But designers today need to understand that using a print is not half the battle won. Your work is useless unless it has your signature to it. Just because it worked for someone does not mean that it will work for you.
So will you stop using prints?
I would love to try it if I am working on a bridal line but it will be unnatural for me. Some designers have done that: change their identity overnight, but it doesn't make sense and people from the industry can see it. For me, it is not just the print but also the styling and the presentation that matters. My prÃªt line will always be about print but I will take a step forward with every line.
What do you have to say about Masaba fakes in the market?
I was very irritated at first. Once a guy tried selling me my print and when I told him I am Masaba, he said everyone says that. But then Sabyasachi (Mukherjee) once told me that he saw my fakes in the market and was very impressed with the popularity. The power of your brand lies in the strength of the copy market. Today I am a happy person.