Passing by Vikram Phadnis speaks about his big plans for Hyderabad and dreams of directing a film
The fashion fraternity is a divided lot. There are designers comfortable rubbing shoulders with showbiz and designing for actors; there are those who shun designing for films and a third, small group that occasionally works with Bollywood but cautiously maintains an identity for its own creative labels. Vikram Phadnis belongs to the first group, having designed for Bollywood biggies for as long as we can remember. “I’ve been working for films all the time. There are concepts you have to work with. You have to absorb what they want and yet maintain your identity,” he smiles, making it all seem easier than it is.
Like his contemporaries Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi Mukherji, he too has celluloid dreams. “I’ve finished writing the story and screenplay. My film, whenever I make it, will aim at opening up mindsets towards cancer. It will be a woman-centric film. When we can overcome gravity and design aircraft, why haven’t we succeeded in finding cures for different kinds of cancers?” he asks.
The film will have to wait. At the moment, Vikram has energy focused on his new flagship store in Hyderabad. “I’ve seen this city evolve in fashion. Hyderabadis are a cultured lot and there is a sense of royalty here. They don’t blindly follow trends and yes, they have good buying power,” he says. Vikram has designed three special lines with a vintage touch for the Hyderabad clientele.
At the Blender’s Pride Fashion tour, which brought him to the city over the weekend, he surprised the gathering with a diffusion line, moving away from his trademark colourful and opulent clothes. “This line, called Magic of the Night, is a watered down version of what I normally design. Last season I designed a collection with a gold theme since I was working with a brand. Unlike that one, my new collection is not dramatic but subtle and simple,” he offers, pointing out to his concept saris, kalidar kurtas and palazzo pants.
The sari-gown silhouette captured much attention after Sonam Kapoor walked the ramp at Cannes sporting one. “I don’t like to use lycra so I haven’t gone the sari-gown way. I am comfortable using fabrics such as matka georgettes, muls and viols apart from woven fabrics and enhancing them with antique brocades,” he says.
His collections, says Vikram, are churned out fast to meet the demands of two seasons of fashion weeks a year, apart from his loyal clientele and films. Breaking the norm, he designed a rural, ethnic collection recently. “It wasn’t what I do normally. This collection involved research and I liked going back to the roots,” says the designer.
Vikram agrees there is an overdose of fashion today. “I see many youngsters wanting to be either an actor or a designer, driven by the wrong reasons — glamour and money. I’ve been here for 20 years now and passion for work overrules all other aspects,” he says.