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Mansi Khandelwal

IWB Blogger

‘Padmavati’ Designers Rimple & Harpreet Feel A Dialogue Could Have Saved Their Costumes

  • IWB Post
  •  March 17, 2017


Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period drama ‘Padmavati,’ has been making headlines since the beginning of the year. From the shooting being disrupted to Bhansali being attacked, the film’s struggles are only growing by the day.

Recently 20 unidentified people vandalized the sets of Padmavati in Kohlapur and burnt the costumes.

We at Indian Women Blog (IWB) strongly condemn this act of violence and believe that no community or group is authorized to show their disapproval in such an outrageous manner. We connected with Rimple and Harpreet Narula, who took us through the tedious journey of bringing their outfits to life.

IWB: How much damage has been incurred and what is the update on the main costumes?

Rimple: We have made our foray into Bollywood with ‘Padmavati’ and so it is a really special film for us. This entire incident and the one that happened in the past are very unfortunate and disturbing. There must be around 50 costumes mainly for the junior artistes that have been destroyed. As of now, we are only waiting for instructions from the production house in order to start recreating the costumes. Since many of the outfits were made out of vintage fabrics procured over the years, we are not sure as to how many of them can be restored completely. Thus the loss is irreplaceable in terms of antique fabrics. However, we will try our best to replicate our earlier creations.

IWB: What was your reaction to the act of vandalism and what message would you like to put out?

Rimple: We are obviously very disappointed and shocked. We believe in the power of words and feel that anything can be solved with a dialogue. Violence is no solution! However, we can only hope things get better and knowing the kind of man Mr. Bhansali is, we are sure he will bounce back.

Padmavati costumes

IWB: Tell us about the research that went behind the creation of these costumes.

Rimple: Padmavati is a larger than life period film and so the groundwork and homework that went behind creating these royal outfits was also huge. We believe that in any period drama, apart from the actors, the costumes take the narration forward. Hence every garment has been very meticulously designed keeping in mind the intricacies and fashion of that era. To replicate the look, we have not touched any power looms and have only used handloom fabrics and hand embroideries.

Also, in the past, we have done highly researched couture weeks. Several of our earlier collections have been inspired by some of the greatest kings and queens from the country, like Baroda, Jaipur, Kishangarh, etc. Similarly, for Padmavati, we traveled to the connoisseurs of art and collected small antique pieces that we used in our garments.

IWB: What fascinates you the most about the costumes of that era?

Rimple: Even though all the fabrics that were used in making garments back then were organic and hand embroidered, I feel they were the real couture costumes. I feel the more they age, the more beautiful they look.

Padmavati costumes

IWB: As a modern age designer, what new elements did you incorporate in your period garments?

Rimple: Harpreet and I are known as classic traditional designers. We literally go back to our roots in creating what we do. With costumes for the cast of Padmavati, we have tried our best to keep the traditional essence intact but at the same time, we have also prioritized the comfort of the actors who’ll be wearing our costumes. Keeping the weather in mind, we have used muls in linings and a few other changes in the inner fabrics to make it lighter and cooler.

IWB: When creating period films, one is constrained by several parameters. How much creative freedom did you have?

Rimple: Period films do come with some restrictions, but then that is the charm of them. I feel one should not go beyond a certain level because it spoils the soul of the film otherwise. However, Mr. Bhansali has given us enough creative freedom. Having a fair understanding of costumes and fashion, he helped us delve deeper into our craft.

So we did not experiment with the guidelines because we were working on a script and no fashion show. We had to make the costumes look relevant and the way they are supposed to look. As a part of our research, we found out which colors were worn and which were taboos, so we stuck to the script and the demand of the film.

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Would you like to share something about the starry tantrums of the actors?

Ohh these guys are the so easy to work with. All the three actors, Deepika, Ranveer and Shahid are very cool and adjusting. Since it is very evident that the costumes are not very easy-breezy, I would really like to compliment the actors for being so patient and understanding.

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