Star Speak is an ongoing series of columns, penned by celebrities/designers we are used to seeing on these pages. This is their space to write about their take on fashion, the fraternity and whatever else catches their fancy.
This week’s column comes from designer duo Rimple & Harpreet Narula, costume designers of an upcoming film, ‘Padmavati’. You have seen their designs on many A-list celebrities on these pages and now, read about them working with an A-list director.
P.P.S. Post was updated to show images of Padmavati’s first look pictures.
Our foray into the Bollywood realm is nothing short of a dream… Working on a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie, designing the costumes for the period-drama and dressing the most gorgeous lot – Deepika, Shahid and Ranveer.
Designing, for us, is incarnated from our travelogues, from rare experiences evoking new emotions, from narratives of vintage textiles and from reminisces held by flea market souvenirs. Every province and every period has unique mixes that inspire us. Padmavati is one such project which offered a stunning mix of contrasting cultures layered with the intense characters portrayed by the lead cast.
Padmavati allowed us to embark on a new aesthetic journey and explore the world of period costume from a different tangent. Our ideas amalgamated with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s vision shaped the very essence of the characters’ costumes.
Mr Bhansali’s cinema is much understated and yet visually larger than life. He captures the nuances of the characters through different mediums, costumes being one of them. While maintaining the authenticity of the period we had to ensure that we functioned on the same wavelength.
The costumes resonate with the personalities of each character; Padmavati’s timeless beauty and valor, Khilji’s passion and Ratan Sen’s warrior spirit. The most intriguing bit was the mystique around Padmavati’s legendary beauty which we tried to amplify through the elaborate costumes. A great deal of attention was paid to miniscule details in terms of colors, textures and silhouettes, to ensure an impactful visual statement.
The colors, silhouettes, form, fabrics and drapes vary not just with every event of the script but also the protagonists’ internal state. It took us a few months to decode all these elements and imbibe them carefully within the costumes.
This was an extremely exciting opportunity for us as designers as it allowed us to digress from being mainstream fashion designers and progress towards a period costume drama. The initial phase involved a lot of in depth research and a deep understanding of the period and the characters. We pulled out various antique textiles from our personal archives as reference points for initial look tests, made regular visits to the Calico and Jaipur museums to try and understand the province and time period, brought artisans to Delhi to replicate the traditional block prints and “varq ka kaam” that was prevalent then.
Overall this journey was quite challenging but it also allowed us to explore our potential from a different horizon, combining our sense of fashion with Mr. Bhansali’s exceptional concepts. It was a memorable experience that we will cherish forever.