Garavi Gujarat USA

In pursuit of fashion excellence


caught up with the icon of fashion, Neeta Lulla, to discuss her amazing journey, including her stunning work on hit films such as Devdas and Jodhaa Akbar.

How do you reflect on your amazing journey in fashion?

I look at my journey as a space that I’ve come to so far. A space where I must learn everything again because this journey has been fabulous. There have been so many inspiring adventures that to be able to relearn and recreate from my own experience­s would be another brilliant journey to tread on.

Who did you enjoy working with the most?

I’ve worked with at least 90 of the leading actors in the industry, and for me to pinpoint one person would be so difficult, because everybody comes with their own style statement and personal preference­s to the way they dress, their stances and structure. They have their own persona. So one has to create and build that camaraderi­e and trust. After having done that, to kind of judge who is better is difficult because you’re not working on a uniform space, where the creativity is restricted to just one aspect.


What was it like working on winning a National Award in India? and

That was a wonderful journey and a learning I will never forget. It was the first project of its kind in Indian cinema where a designer had assistants on board, because of the magnanimit­y of the film. It wasn’t humanly possible to handle all those actors single-handedly. Then, there was the entire script process where we went to Pune, and I saw all the three Devdas films made previously; then going to Kolkata, meeting people and understand­ing the culture, including nuances, how they spoke and drank tea etc. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali wanted a very larger than life aspect to it. So, rather than using five to six metres in a sari, we were using 12 metres to 15 metres in a particular drape. To be able to recreate that entire thing with the magnanimit­y, to be able to make one outfit out of three saris and then to embroider them was grandiose to the hilt. That was a wonderful journey.

How was it working w ith Hrithik Roshan in

Jodhaa Akbar?

He knows his clothes and what looks good on him. He knows his cuts really well and has a perfection for detail. If there is a difference in even a quarter inch from one side of his garment to the other, he will definitely know it. That’s how precise and detailed he is. But he’s always open to suggestion­s and has a trust factor with me that he knows that I will deliver on what I say. I remember there was this issue we resolved with his pagdi (turban) before Jodhaa Akbar filming was going to take place. We had almost 21 pagdi makers from all over India trying to get it right. It was not a very big thing. A certain technique was not just sitting right for him because every time you put it on his head the pagdi would shake and kind of do its own acting. He sat through my trial and error of putting on that pagdi, which I finally got right. He gave this standing instructio­n that nobody’s going to touch that pagdi and put it on his head except for Neeta. We kept changing fabrics on it to get a different look in every visual scene.

How does it feel that the Indian fashion industry and designers are globally known today because of pioneers like you?

I think India is coming of age because there are so many variations of creativity, and the creative talents that are coming out of the country; be it skills in filmmaking, fashion, technical aspects, weaves and crafts. That coming of age is looking larger than life for everybody globally. I also feel the kind of work Indian designers are putting through is focused on quality and that calibre comes up when showcased on a global platform. There are so many designers who are working on Hollywood films and showcasing their collection­s in internatio­nal fashion weeks, which is commendabl­e and long overdue.

What top style tip would you give?

What’s most important is to create your own style statement, which is not very difficult in today’s times, considerin­g the digital mediums, various influencer­s, and kind of fashion platforms you have. Create style statement from the fashion trends you like through trial and error. It’s the best way to create your own style statement. Once you try something and feel comfortabl­e, that is the key to your style. When you do that, there is a particular aspect of confidence, because of the kind of clothes that you’re comfortabl­e with. You start feeling and looking good when that confidence is achieved.

 ?? Neeta Lulla ??
Neeta Lulla

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