The reigning Miss Universe, Harnaaz Sandhu, sported one of renowned designer Chaitanya Rao’s creations when she posed with Dr Sashi Tharoor, MP, on her way back to India from the beauty pageant. We caught up with Chaitanya, who told us that wasn’t the only time she wore one of his designs — Harnaaz had worn a gown created by him at a day event at the beauty pageant as well!
How did you get to design clothes for Harnaaz?
I was contacted by stylist Bharat Gupta to work on Harnaaz Sandhu’s wardrobe. There are a lot of events in the course of the pageant, and contestants are constantly judged. It’s important they put their best foot forward at all times. As I am known for my formal western wear, I was asked to make a full-sleeved gown. We came up with a flared, high-collar couture gown with long sleeves and cuff detailing, and it worked out well for her!
Tell us how you felt when Harnaaz won.
It was a very proud moment for the entire nation, and for me too of course. I am extremely happy to be associated with the win, even if in a small way! I have designed for many beauty pageant contestants from Chennai, such as actress Trisha Krishnan and Shvetha Jaishankar, who made Tamil Nadu proud by being placed in the top 3 at the Miss International event.
What’s special about Harnaaz’s victory?
It is special to have the crown back after 21 years. India has been close to winning the title many times. It’s definitely not an easy task and Harnaaz deserves her success, like her predecessors Lara and Sushmita, who are not only beautiful but strong and confident women.
Tell us about Harnaaz sporting one of your designs again.
She chose another of my ensembles for her transit flight — a fuchsia pink organza outfit with a silk satin trim under the bust. The colour worked well on her and I am glad she was able to meet the very established Dr Sashi Tharoor.
How has COVID-19 impacted the fashion?
It has been a very tough two years for the fashion industry as well as a lot of other industries.