It is a hectic afternoon at Sonam and Rhea Kapoor's Juhu office when we meet them. Their entourage, that is made up of people handling press, their staff, including designers, make-up artistes, and their Man Friday who was trying to get them to eat their lunch, is rushing to make sure everything runs smoothly. It's the day the sisters launch their own fashion line, Rheson.
They are dressed in the label today - 31-year-old Sonam in black skinnies and denim jacket over a white shirt, and Rhea, 30, in denims again, a grey tee and mauve cape. The collection is made up of more such separates, including T-shirts, maxis and even a palazzo saree, with prints that are a throwback to their childhood - think Natraj pencils, and Phantom cigarettes. They are in good spirits although Rhea hasn't slept the night before. "I can't believe it's happening," she says.
The two, whose fashion exploits are well-chronicled by the press and social media, could be called the first sisters of Indian fashion. Both - with Rhea doubling up as Sonam's stylist - have their finger on the pulse of what's trending. They have even created a few trends of their own - Sonam and her love for saris is one of them. It could only be then an organic step then to turn their eye towards the business of fashion. "Sonam got three offers back to back from brands who wanted her to do a line. Nothing was feeling right. We discussed it between ourselves, and decided we needed to be more true to who we are," says Rhea, when Sonam cuts in… "authentic…We needed to really work on this. People think of us when they think fashion. We couldn't make it easy [for ourselves]. We have thought about everything - fabric, colour and fit. And it's all flattering."
It took three years of turning the designs and prints they had in mind into a line they say defies questions like "who is your target audience?" and "what kind of girl can wear this?"
"Anybody over 13 can wear this line. It's for someone between the modern and traditional," says Rhea, as Sonam adds, "We are responsible about what we put out there. Rhea and I know young girls look up to us, even if it is only three girls. It has to be a real representation of who we are. Rheson is an interpretation of real Indian girls. It will feel like your friends are dressing you - we understand what you want."
What you want, according to the sisters, is to be comfortable in your own skin. We have all seen Sonam transform from a chubby youngling to a lean-bodied fashionista, all the while keeping true to her diktat of being comfortable. "Before Rhea came back from college [New York University], I was just wearing what I wanted, like sarees and anarkalis, and people used to tell me 'why do you do that? It makes you look older.' But I didn't care. Then she said, 'I know my sister, she used to be overweight, and is still conscious about her body. I need to give her what she is comfortable in. That's why girls love what we wear - it's because they can do it too. Someone needs to give you courage to be yourself."
When it comes to each other, they don't have to think hard about what they like. "Sonam is effortless," says Rhea. Sonam smiles before saying, "Rhea makes everything look cool." "But then you make everything look pretty," says Rhea.
Well, then, it's a tie.