A designer's guide to tackle 'fashion season' stress

Jul 05, 2013, 11:13 IST | Ruchika Kher and Dhara Vora

Amidst the glitz, glamour and grandeur of collections during challenging seasons, we often overlook the sweat, stress and sleepless nights that go into creating creative lines and stunning designs. As the Autumn/Winter fashion season will unveil shortly across Indian ramps, The Guide spoke to four ace designers about their chill pills and couture mantras before the real drama begins

Neeta Lulla
“My greatest stress buster is the season itself”

For many designers, the fashion season, with it’s numerable shows and less preparation time, might look like a daunting task. But for ace fashion designer Neeta Lulla, who has been part of many such shows over her two-decade-plus career, the excitement that the fashion season brings with it, serves as a stress buster. “I look forward to the start of a season. I live the energy, thus, I do not think it requires prep time. My greatest stress buster is the season itself,” says Lulla, who believes that it is very easy if you organise and handle situations in a calm and focussed manner. 

Pic/ Shadab Khan

The designer, whose personal style statement encompasses minimalist structured and simple silhouettes in deep colours, is focusing on Kalamkari and Kanjeevarams this season. “As fabrics and embellishments, these are my focus in the Indian fusion segment. I have used these in a more modern and contemporary form creating a free flowing and minimalist space, be it even bridal,” avers Lulla, whose daughter Nishka Lulla is also a fashion designer. As far as the upcoming season is concerned, Lulla is firm that competitive price points will be the focus and this season will create a statement of elegant understated styles, be it contemporary or vintage with minimalist embroidery and elegant warm colours in their various hues.

Tarun Tahiliani
“Meditation helps to fight stress”
After being in the business of fashion for over two decades, it’s not surprising that Tarun Tahiliani seamlessly churns out collections after collections. But, the noted Indian fashion designer is not spared from the stress that comes with the fashion season like the one, which is about to commence in the country, soon. “Be organised, organised, organised! It’s about taking standards to new levels,” says Tahiliani, who is well known for his ability to infuse Indian craftsmanship and textiles with western silhouettes. The designer maintains that he is always almost entirely calm.

But during fashion seasons, when back-to-back shows, exhausting schedules and unreasonable deadlines are all part of the game, focus, meticulous planning and meditation immensely help in fighting stress. As far as expectations from the upcoming season are concerned, the designer shares that over the years he has realised that the ready-to-wear collection at his stores is always well received after a big show. So, being part of the ramp is essential. “We have great expectations from the new couture collection that we are launching this year. Our new luxuriously spacious couture room in New Delhi and a smart stylish one in Mumbai that we are opening in August will be available for appointments soon,” he informs. On his personal style, Tahiliani prefers keeping it simple: “Everything I do is so detailed so I go in for a monotone in my colour palette and a uniform approach to my  dress sense.”

Anita Dongre
“Practising yoga has been a success”
Designer Anita Dongre takes a serene route to keep up with the stressful times of fashion weeks. “I do yoga three times a week. I started it at the beginning of the year and have been successful till now to continue it. I hope that it continues for the year. But since I do yoga in the morning, I try and sleep early so that I can wake up on time to practise it without feeling tired,” admits Dongre. While some designers go for a long holiday post the season, Dongre says that a trip eludes her, “I don’t see myself taking a break till November.

I just got back form my campaign shoot and will be flying out of the country again. So I’ll just grab hold of some time for myself during that 12-hour flight and try and de-stress.” And like several other professionals, Dongre loves her cuppa — black tea or black coffee through the day. Dongre might be jet setting around the world but there is one rule she diligently follows to keep things normal, “I never work on Sundays and I ask my team to take an off too. I feel that even if you put in some extra hours during the week, the Sunday off will get you ready for the hectic week ahead.” While Dongre is known for her exquisite lehengas, for her personal style she prefers simple, fuss-free clothes. “You will usually see me in belted shirt dresses with two pockets where I can keep both my phones and other handy things such as a measuring tape. I really want a pair of silk palazzo pants for myself,” shares the designer.

Manish Malhotra
“Celluloid magic helps me stay sane”
It’s always been a longstanding love affair between Bollywood and Manish Malhotra. Several leading Bollywood beauties love the designer and he too relies on films for unwinding during his hectic schedules. “This month, work is the only thing on my mind, as I am doing the finale show at Delhi Couture Week. I workout religiously every morning -- to stay fit and keep calm. Absolute holidays are not a part and parcel of this industry. My holidays are always mixed with work. I have been doing at least two shows every month on an average. Where is the time? Watching movies helps me relax.

For his ramp outings, Manish Malhotra prefers a bandhgala. Pic/Satyajit Desai

Celluloid magic helps me stay sane; I watch movies as and when my work permits,” he reveals. While the designer feels that floor length anarkali and a straight cut kurta with palazzos will make for must-haves this season, for his time to take a bow on the ramp he will be wearing a classic bandhgala jacket, which he feels suits every occasion.  But what would one see the seasoned designer everyday in, we asked, “On a normal working day, you will usually see me in cotton trousers and my favourite Burberry / Ralph Lauren shirts. I always keep a jacket or a waistcoat handy for impromptu meetings or occasions.”

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