BB: This is the first time you’re collaborating with an online portal. What drew you to Stylista?
Masaba: Anjana Sharma (COO and Fashion Director, Stylista) is a good friend and she told me about this concept a while back. I thought that it’s really interesting that somebody is taking some initiative to make designer wear affordable but still not tamper with the quality. I loved the whole idea and the fact that they are producing the garments as well is perfect. And they have a great team to work with.
BB: Describe this collection in three words.
Masaba: Easygoing, quirky and everyday wear.
BB: Who do you see wearing this range?
Masaba: I see a lot of college going girls and teenagers wearing it – not just because of the pricing but also on account of the way the prints and colour blocking has been done. But apart from these young girls, I also see a lot of middle-aged women as well as working women wearing the garments particularly the shirtdresses and the kurtas, which go well with leggings.
BB: How is this collection different from your usual ones?
Masaba: It is exactly what I would do for myself in terms of the aesthetic and the whole approach to it but at the same time its fabrics I haven’t worked with before – more budget friendly ones.
BB: You’re showing at the Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014 (LFW) that starts soon. Trends you predict?
Masaba: A lot of quirky prints and since it’s festive wear; I think we will see bridalwear becoming less heavy and instead, see more emphasis on beautifully- cut clothes rather than embellishments. It will be more sober and more classic. Given that neon is on its way out, I think we will see more pastels. Lastly, about 10 years ago, we never saw such heavy Ready-to-Wear lines on the runway. It was mainly opulent clothes and eveningwear. Now we see basic clothes from shirts to shorts – regular wear – which I think is amazing. And this trend will continue this year.
BB: You’ve not ventured into bridalwear yet. Would that be something you’d like to try your hand at?
Masaba: I don't think that I'm cut out for it. I don’t know embellishment and I don’t like lehengas. I am doing a festive line but it’s more trousseau wear rather than bridal and works for the other, lighter functions. I love what Manish Arora does with bridalwear.
BB: You’re opening the LFW this season along with Amit Aggarwal. Tell us a bit about your collection.
Masaba: My collection is called ‘Wanderess’ and it’s based on Roman Payne’s novel, The Wanderess (about the notorious adventurer Saul and his passion for a mysterious young orphan girl). The beautiful Saskia from Payne’s work is whom the collection is centered around. It’s about this free-spirited woman and she’s a gypsy at heart who loves to travel the world, food and exploring and has a beautiful, free mind. It has a Mediterranean feel and it’s like a travellers curated collection as it’s something you can wear in any part of the world. It’s got a bit of a 60s influence as well in terms of the silhouettes and the cuts so you see a lot of bell bottoms, a muted palette with beige, white and black.
BB: What is your take on e-commerce in India?
Masaba: It’s the future of Indian retail. Physical stores, in this day and age, are really expensive to manage and they are high maintenance. Everything is already online and people are buying online but I do also feel that it’s a phase because at the end of the day, people want to touch and feel clothes. As with everything in fashion, it’s a cycle. You don’t have any one thing that always works or that doesn’t work. For me personally, I’m going to be collaborating with online portals but at the same time, I do think that it’s very important to have a physical store and to meet your customers. I think it has to be a bit of both – you have to have a balance.
BB: You’ve already worked with Satya Paul as fashion director for the brand. Is there an international designer you would like to collaborate with now?
Masaba: Chanel – I’d love to work with Karl Lagerfeld!
BB: A fail-safe item you think every girl should have in her closet?
Masaba: A really nice swimsuit. I feel that most Indian girls rarely invest in swimsuits, as they are too shy to wear one. But everyone should have one a designer one that’s beautifully cut and complements your body type. I personally wear Shivan & Narresh as I love their work. Internationally, I think Dolce & Gabbana and Topshop do really fun ones.
BB: The best fashion tip you’ve been given?
Masaba: Rather than a tip, there’s a quote I love by Chanel where she says, "Fashion is made to become unfashionable." Basically, whatever you make will one day go out of fashion, so go ahead and make it anyway – and that’s what I follow.
BB: One piece of clothing/jewellery you’d like to borrow from your mum’s closet?
Masaba: She has these antique dupattas and these lovely hand-embroidered pieces from Bhopal, Gujarat and wherever she travels that she has patched onto blouses. They’d make for a nice fusion ensemble. I like pencil skirts so I’d use the pieces to make a pretty patchwork pencil skirt.
BB: You’ve experimented so much with saris with fun prints and adding pockets to them. Is there anything more you’d like to either do yourself or see someone else do to a sari?
Masaba: I want someone to eradicate the pleats as they keep opening out. I was at a wedding once where someone came upto me and pointed out that my whole sari was behind me and I was happily walking around in my petticoat as I had no idea. But jokes apart, I think the sari should be worn in its traditional, conventional way and I don’t think people should tamper with it. I would only like it if someone found a way to make it less bulky and instead, sleeker. It’s complicated because if you’re heavier and you wear a thin one, it clings to your body while a stiff one makes you look like a bag. I think the key is to be able to make it less hectic as a silhouette. I prefer satin, crepe and chiffon for saris over organza or cotton.
BB: Like you have done with saris, is there any other item of Indian clothing you’d like to experiment with?
Masaba: I love the dhoti and think it’s so dynamic. You can make dresses, jumpsuits or even wear it with a t-shirt. It can be festive, casual and cut in so many different ways. I’m doing something with them in my LFW collection too. Anamika Khanna does some brilliant work with them.
BB: You’re known for your funky prints. Is there any Indian embroidery/weave you plan on working with?
Masaba: I actually started my career working with ikat. I love woven fabric and am in the process of working with the weavers of Banaras.
BB: One designer item you’d advise BB girls to save up and buy?
Masaba: A sari as you can wear it as it is or even later, turn it into a kurta or even a crop top. Basically, you can use it in so many different ways.
Masaba Gupta Photo Credit: Colston Julian