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IBFW DESIGNER MEHRAAB

— Jasmeen Dugal

Mehraab by Arun Ahuja, John Marya, Aarti Talwar and Anu Seth. The first family of Indian Fashion… kind of like Versace. In conversation with them.

 

A Hotel Management graduate from Les Roches Crans-Montana, Switzerland, ARUN AHUJA joined his family business of construction which has to its credit Akshardham Cultural Complex, luxury hotels, embassies and much more. What made him shift tracks from construction to couture, I ask him? ''I grew up amid our family business of construction; however, I was always artistically inclined towards art and Fashion. It was a deep-seated desire to pursue Fashion design as far back as I can remember but due to family and business commitments, I put my dreams on hold. While I was doing really well in construction, being creative in my study is what defined me; the passion was overpowering and diversifying into Fashion happened at the right time, with the right people. I took the leap of faith and today I'm completely involved in luxury fashion label 'Mehraab' along with the other three pillars of our design house.''

 

NIFT graduate and former supermodel JOHN MARYA sighs, ''I've always been inclined towards Fashion, be it modelling or designing. I envisioned that I would one day carve a niche, be it on catwalk or behind it! NIFT and modeling was the perfect amalgamation of opportunities that helped me shape my career. Backstage discussions with designers and workshops with fashion veterans helped me find my inner calling… meeting Arun was God's sign that I would be living my dream. That said, NIFT gave me the right vision that continues to help me in shaping 'Mehraab.'''

 

AARTI TALWAR remember how she loved collecting creative pieces and re-doing them to make them in sync with her sensibilities. ''I still have a wardrobe full of statement shawls and drapes I created and collected over the years. Now when I look at them I understand where it all came from and more than anything else those pieces inspire me to work on creating more each day. I truly believe that it was in my genes and that's how it came so effortlessly to me. Today I'm shaping my design aesthetic to make the best of opportunities in the global market.'' For ANU SETH, it's about being in her own space — design, eat, repeat. ''I was never fascinated about being in the limelight and taking a bow on the ramp. I guess it was the Almighty's way of giving it back in the form of recognition and fame. Today, when I see social media and print coverage of the hard work we have all done these past few years, it gives me a feeling of deep satisfaction and that is truly fulfilling.''

 

What is the genesis of their label, I ask, even as I feel like Alice falling down the proverbial rabbit hole when holding up each intricately hand-embroidered garment, which took master craftsmen months to transform from the sketch to the rack. ''It's a combination of old world charm and modern sensibilities, and takes inspiration from the Victorian era. The Nehru jackets, the kurta pyjamas, the ornate waistcoats and the all-weather luxury shawls have been hand woven, textured and embellished — yet it's subtly toned down'' Arun explains. ''Participating in India Beach Fashion Week a win-win situation for us. We are participating for the first time, so we are truly excited but at the same time nervous about the feedback. We are being experimental with the collection and hope it will be appreciated. We are not taking the conventional route to Goa as a design house and I guess that will be our USP during the fashion week. From a brand building perspective, IBFW will give us massive visibility in the market — fingers crossed.'' His sister Aarti adds, ''We won't call it a resort line, rather it's a celebration and destination wedding collection that will see comfort and fluidity in terms of cut and fit. Goa is a holiday destination and also a wedding space where couples come to get hitched in a fairytale world of beaches and beer. So, the collection has been designed keeping that audience in mind. The mood and feel on the catwalk will be also like a destination wedding with liveliness and candid poses by the models!!''

 

What do you consider important—catwalk appeal to make the show memorable or retail appeal, I ask? ''At the end of the day, as designers and creative people, we need both creative satisfaction and retail appeal. While the former motivates us, sales encourage us to get more creative. Catwalk appeal is an instant reaction and that we do get that right after our shows. So, if we get favourable feedback about the showing, the chances of successful retail automatically increases. As a design house, they both matter, but personally, I find creative appeal more satisfying'' says Aarti. On the day of your show, what are the three things you absolutely cannot do without, I ask Arun? ''Well, it's mandatory to have my mom's blessing, the final layout of the ramp show and my cell phone to coordinate with my team.'' On a lighter note, he adds, ''It's GOA! All one can think of is exotic beaches and calmness. I'm looking forward to seeing some really exciting beachwear collections by other designers. Also, I wish to have 'Me Time', in a room with a calm beach view!'' adds: ''It's about making the best of the beaches, sunbathing and yes, a lot of shoots that reflect my personal style.''

 

Shutting my laptop, I strongly feel this luxury label's rise will be meteoric—in part due to their creativity and their will to push the design envelope. What's more, the four designers themselves project an elegance and sureness of vision that make them, still, the best image with which to market their label. I, for one, can't wait to see this luxury label at India Beach Fashion Week on 14 November.
 

mehraab
John Marya and Arun Ahuja
 
05-NOVEMBER-2018
 
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