After painting wardrobes with prints, Masaba Gupta is ready to give your little one a taste of her vibrant motifs. Her honest and frank replies are peppered with laughter and chutzpah
Dressed in her signature camera print and flats, Masaba Gupta is attending to business at her store in Juhu and busy making plans for the launch of a kidswear line that will take place next month. She greets us warmly, takes just a few moments to get camera-ready for the interview. Eyeliner flicks in place, Gupta’s honest and frank replies are peppered with laughter and chutzpah.
Masaba Gupta’s new kidswear line will feature her signature prints and bright colours (below)
Q. How did a kids line materialise?
A. In comparison to women’s wear or menswear prêt lines, you don’t see attention being given to kidswear. We have tied up with Magic Fairy from Kolkata for the line. The idea was to take all the signature prints from the collection and mix it up with some new stuff. We are targetting two to nine-year-olds. We are also doing few accessories like hair bands. There are basic T-shirts, dresses, for parties, many skirts and tops, pant sets and shorts.
Q. Has your work life changed post marriage?
A. All of last year, I was very distracted because there was so much celebration and shifting of homes. But now, I am back. I don’t think my husband and I can take time off. There is a lot more additional work. I struggle to make it on time because I have to set the day’s menu and manage maids. I respect my mom so much more now because I didn’t know managing everything is a full-time job.
The many moods of Masaba Gupta. Pics/Swarali Purohit
Q. Is Madhu (Mantena, her film producer husband) a strict critic?
A. He’s an honest critic. It’s nice because earlier I only had my mother. He is not a fashion guy. So it’s good to get his opinion. And I like that because you need an unbiased opinion before you put yourself out, otherwise, it comes from the outside, which is not very nice.
Masaba Gupta with mother Neena Gupta. Pic/Atul Kamble
Q. Do you design clothes for him?
A. I do. And he wears whatever I make for him (laughs). I made all the wedding stuff. I don’t think he appreciates the shirts – too much print going on. He is a casual guy, but whenever there is a function, I do the clothes.
Q. What’s your father's (cricketer Sir Viv Richards) take on your fashion?
A. He loves it. I have made him a lot of stuff when he is down. He particularly loves the colours and I get that from him. He appreciates it but like all men, he wants to know more about the story behind it as opposed to the design. I get that opinion from both Madhu and him. My mother is my biggest supporter and critic. I see a lot of mothers who are very ‘my daughter never looks bad’ or ‘she hasn’t done anything wrong’. But she (Neena Gupta) is brutally honest. She is an integral part of the label and has handled stuff when I travel and a lot of other things like the PR.
Q. Have you thought of designing for plays or any of your mother’s plays?
A. No. There’s no money in that (laughs). Perhaps, if it is a musical or costume drama.
Q. What defines your business strategy?
A. I don’t have one! I am beginning to have one. I am very spontaneous. I do collaborations because I love the brand I am working with. For me it (the collaborations) is like breaking out and doing something different. I say yes to things that excite me without even listening to the brief. I have to do these things to know where my strengths and weaknesses lie. I do things that may not come out on the top but I do them anyway.
Q. Your brand will be going to new locations this year.
A. Yes. We are tying up with the company which has been the distributor of Nalli saris in North America for the past 20 years, for our saris. We have also tied up with the store Vesimi in Dubai to retail our label. We will go big online in the next few months.
Q. Apart from hard work, what clicks for you?
A. There’s no tried and tested formula. There’s nothing that works more than originality. The problem with today’s designers is that everybody looks like everybody.
Q. What advice would you give to ambitious couples?
A. You need to switch off no matter how scary it sounds. You need to have one time slot, every day, when you are not doing anything.
Q. Tell us a bit about your upcoming book.
A. It’s a pocket-style diary, a book about my personal experiences in terms of fashion, beauty, just about everything. We have chapters that give you tips like how to make your mom’s wardrobe your own, how to wear a sari and not look old, and a lot more.
From the mid-day archives
Masaba Gupta is seen honing her tennis skills in 1999. File pic
Actors and fashion
It used to work (celebrities donning designer clothes) before. It worked for me and was the turning point of my career. People asked – who is going to wear a foot or a hand or a camera on a sari? Sonam picked the palm print sari (in pic) to wear for my store opening. I can’t recall how many units of the sari we sold, and till today, it remains one of our bestsellers.
The fact that she endorsed it changed everything. People thought, if Sonam can wear it, I can too. Today, because of stylists, you have access to all designers and somehow your product is lost. If a celebrity wears your outfit, it doesn’t mean you are successful -- you are famous but not successful.
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