Bollywood designer Neeta Lulla talks about her filmi connections, her daughter Niskha and more
One of the first few names that made the fashion industry as celebrated as it is today, had humble beginnings. Neeta Lulla admits she entered the sartorial world not to weave couture, but more to have the ability to bring to life her ideas of simple clothing. “I never wanted to be a fashion designer. I did a course in tailoring from SNDT and it happened to be fashion design. I just wanted to make my own clothes so I could wear new clothes. I just fell into the lap of costume designing and bridal fashion,” she says.
After “falling” into it, Neeta went on to dress Sridevi and Juhi Chawla among other Bollywood celebrities. But, now she has come a long way. “I have done more than 370 shoots with actors. Back in the day, there were no brands that you could just pick off the shelves. The outfits had to be tailored a day in advance, the shoes and jewellery had to be picked out in advance and the whole look had to be set before hand.
I used to do five shoots a week and it was chaotic!” The fact that there weren’t assistants at her beck and call only made things more difficult. “It was all about being your own tailor, office boy, pattern maker, accountant, and your own merchandiser at the same time,” she recalls.
Things are different today, of course. To begin with, Neeta’s daughter Nishka Lulla has joined the fray as a promising young fashion designer. Does they exchange notes on each other’s work? “Nishka and I criticise each other like cats and dogs. We do exchange notes and try to understand each other’s perspective. Sometimes when I see an outfit and I don’t like it, I tell her that. Being in the same profession, we are looking at the same stuff all the time and fashion becomes a language at home,” she says.
How does she describe her own style? She explains, “Power dressing. I’m mostly in blacks. I like simple, elegant, straight and classic cuts, which I can dress up or down. That’s my general look for every day. If not, then I’m mostly in sarees. But if I were to describe the essence of my work, I go with any kind of philosophy that inspires. I’m more into Indo-Western fusion and my inspirations have come from Edwardian and Renaissance eras.”
Neeta is one of the lucky few for whom work and pleasure thankfully, come together. When asked how she cuts herself from the creative mayhem, she says, “I design. I sketch and that’s how I unwind.”...