Menaka Premkumar and Disha Patel on why their clothes are perfect for a celebratory evening
They say little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. With her light brown curls, flowery dress and delicate features Menaka Premkumar is the epitome of sweet maidenhood while Disha Patel’s trendy bob, black sheer pants and OTT accessories has lots of zing. Yet the two young women have certainly created something extremely nice together — their brand Soiree.
Menaka, a psychology graduate, always loved to draw and sketch, which lead to her taking a course in NIFT, while Disha comes from a family that’s always been into fabric and went on to do a course and later an internship in Milan. The girls met while working together with Sepia, “I was fed up with working in retail,” says Menaka, “And I always knew I wanted to get into couture.”
And get into couture they did. Their brand Soiree, named so because, “We wanted to create clothes that would be worn to mark an occasion. Also we wanted an international feel to the name. So we thought why not the French word for evening — most celebrations do take place in the evening and France is a fashion capital of sorts,” says Disha.
The designers are artistic people who love sketching and their designs are reflective of these leanings, “Our prints are all originals and the fabrics have a lot of ornamentation and embellishment. We want our every piece to talk,” adds Disha.
The girls admit that they are very different from each other in many ways including in their style sensibilities, “Menaka is mellow, I am fast,” grins Disha. “She likes flowing clothes and pretty prints, I like crisp structured styles and neutral colours. We try to incorporate both in our work.”
Their debut collection for instance, which was released at the Bangalore Fashion Week recently manage to integrate two distinct aspects — one fitted separate piece balanced by a free flowing detail/separate.
A lines, and fit and flare cuts, are offset by experimental fabric techniques, fluting, sculptural surface ornamentation, draping technique and over layering — the intermittent hints of structure providing contrast and sharpness to the primarily smoothly gliding fabrics.
Sensual, finely detailed and all woman, the collection titled The Gilded Lily is all about celebrating femininity, “Gilding a lily means adding unnecessary ornamentation to an already beautiful thing. Just like a lily, a woman is inherently beautiful and we wanted our clothes to make her more so. We wanted to beautify what is already beautiful,” smiles Menaka.
“Also since it is Spring-Summer we have used a lot of floral motifs, including the lily,” adds Disha. “The colour palette is inspired by flowers too and moves from pearl white and seashell pink to frothy lemon, luscious melon, coral and carnation and finally culminates in a burnt rosewood hue for depth.”
Currently they work from home and create customised clothes. They are looking at expanding into smaller boutiques but insist that they will strive to maintain a degree of exclusivity.
“We want to design for someone who enjoys and appreciates luxury. Garments are part of memory. Every time you wear it, the lovely feeling should come back,” says Menaka.