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PUNE COUTURE QUEEN: NIVEDITA SABOO

— Meher Castelino

Her 5000 sq. ft. fashion salon in the stylish serene Kalyaninagar in Pune resembles a Roman split-level villa beautifully decorated with artefacts. The ground level houses Nivedita Saboo’s women’s wear line. The upper level is reserved for men’s couture and bespoke along with cosy sections for bridal trousseau discussion. The cool sit-out at the rear of the salon overlooking a lush lawn is for relaxed coffee sessions with clients.

Nivedita’s creations, accessories, jewellery and footwear are neatly displayed. Garments are finished so impeccably they could be worn on the reverse if desired. Nivedita in her unique manner has transformed Pune into a new found couture bridal destination with clients driving from Mumbai and even the rest of India to discuss their trousseau requirements. Her 56-piece Roman Rendezvous collection was a story of opulent extravaganza with digital prints inspired by the art, architecture and images of Italy. Jewellery plays an important role in Nivedita’s collection and is woven into the designs in the form of belts, brooches or onto drapes of garments. Here Nivedita Saboo talks about her work and her dreams for the label.

After your graduation from NIFT in 2000 how has the journey been to date?

From the gold medal at NIFT to being head designer at Arvind Brands followed by setting up Nivedita Saboo Couture to my on-going stints with Bollywood, beauty pageants and cover page shoots.. designing uniforms and apparel for Commonwealth Youth Games 2008 and Commonwealth Games 2010.. to local fashion weeks, London Bridal Week, Paris Fashion Week, Hong Kong Fashion Week and of course Cannes.. the journey has been a nonstop rollercoaster ride! It has been a beautifully enriching experience that has urged me to toil day and night beyond the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry.

You have worked for Arvind Brands. What was the experience like and what was your work there?

Arvind Brands was my stepping-stone into the industry. It prepared me for the professionalism, deliverables and demands of the apparel industry. Drawing inspiration from my experience as Head of Design at Arvind Brands I conceptualised my own label with the learning and experience from the corporate world of fashion.

You have designed for many Bollywood stars how did you create and satisfy each one as they are very fussy?

In a decade long journey with fashion now, I have styled a host of Bollywood celebrities: the likes of Kareena Kapoor, Karishma Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Raveena Tandon, Neha Dhupia, Vivek Oberoi, Randeep Hooda, Diana Hayden, Mahesh Manjerekar, Isha Koppikar and Prachi Desai to name a few. And my genuine experience is  that if the work is good then no one fusses around. They have all always been tremendously supportive and appreciative of my collections.

Which has been your most enriching assignment and why?

Every customer that smiles from their heart with the happiness that reflects upon them after adorning my creations is an enriching assignment for me. My greatest satisfaction lies in having satisfied and happy customers every day! 

How has the fashion scene in Pune changed since 2000?

Back in 2000 Pune was nascent when it came to fashion. Puneites were used to tailormade clothing whilst being unaware of style, fit and finish. Over the years the people of Pune have evolved into an aware and discerning audience which is well travelled, aware of International fashion trends - understanding design, luxury and brands – at par with any other fashion conscious city in the world.

You are known for your couture collections. Have you ever thought of creating a prêt line?

Along with couture we also do prêt but mainly for our regular clientele. I do a line that is "occasion-wear" i.e. a semi-formal line that can easily be worn to smaller events or on regular days as well.

What is your client profile? Where are they from and what do they come to you for more?

Anyone who is on the lookout for something beyond the ordinary is definitely attracted to my design sensibility. I have a lot of global patrons who connect with India’s rich quality textiles and detailed embroidery through my creations and then there are the fashion aficionados right here in the city who love my use of art and techniques which brings them back for more. Other than the business houses of Pune, my clientele would be brides-to-be looking for luxurious yet functional garments to wear on their wedding day. A new and interesting market, which has given me a lot of scope, would be savvy men who have taken a great interest in my label choosing meticulously designed jackets in custom fits with distinctive detailing in its basic cuts.

How fashionable is Pune compared to the rest of India?

Pune is growing consistently when it comes to fashion. A market that appreciates quality and is well travelled and well versed with luxury brands. As one of the pioneering designers from Pune, we have managed to put the city on the national fashion map with the city’s fashion week and with both my luxury stores.

Why have you not taken part in WIFW and LFW?

Up until now my primary focus has been to set up a strong foundation in terms of business and infrastructural aspects within the organisation: having developed 150 skilled craftsmen working under one roof facilitating all the necessary processes from dyeing, hand embroidery, machine embroidery, painting, printing, cutting and stitching to finishing the end product at par with International standards. WIFW and LFW took a backseat as our business grew from strength to strength and the customer demands grew equally.

What is the process of your collections from idea to ramp?

Travelling, breathing in various art forms that truly inspire me ... photography ... developing storyboards, creating mood boards and analysing color schemes that translate inspiration to concept, which then develops into a collection is the initial route that most of my collections follow. I make sure that every element of the final product speaks of the inspiration through fabric development, surface ornamentation techniques, cuts and silhouettes.

How many collections do you create in a year and how many garments in each collection?

I do two collections in a year consisting of 60 garments each.

Where are your inspirations from and how long does it take you to be inspired?

I draw my inspiration mostly from my travels or concepts and ideas that come to me most unexpectedly. My latest line Roman Rendezvous would be an example of one of my travels as it is inspired from the Roman era. The entire collection is based on the city’s art and architecture. Elements of Rome are displayed in the cuts, layers, drapes, print developments and silhouettes that mimic the lithography of old temples and ancient artefacts.. the ‘instita’ and Roman inspired wide ornamental borders.

Your creations are very lavish and opulent. Do you prefer to create fantasy collections?

I like for the men and women who wear my creations to feel like royalty. My clients enjoy wearing clothes that are opulent and lavish transporting them to a place of utter confidence and beauty. I like to help them weave their fantasy through my creations.

What are your future plans?

In future I would like to expand the brand and take my design house Nivedita Saboo Couture to other cities nationally and Internationally. I would like to promote the brand in international markets by influencing its current trends with Indian embroideries, fabrics and crafts as well as infiltrate its fashion intelligence with Indian design sensibilities.
 

Nivedita Saboo 5,000 sq. ft. fashion salon in Pune
 
Nivedita Saboo 5,000 sq. ft. fashion salon in Pune
 
Nivedita Saboo 5,000 sq. ft. fashion salon in Pune
 
Nivedita Saboo Couture
 
Nivedita Saboo Couture
 
NIVEDITA SABOO: PUNE'S COUTURE QUEEN
 
02-DECEMBER-2013
 
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