International pop icons love edgy clothes and bring out the best in our creativity, designer Falguni Peacock tells BHUMIKA K. With hubby Shane, she has designed for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, JLo and more

Their name has ‘peacock’ in it and they are obsessed with feathers. That’s the earworm in the mind as one says hello to Falguni Peacock, of the Shane and Falguni Peacock designer pair, who’ve dressed everyone from Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, and Priyanka Chopra in bodices of metal, leather and feather.

Hot favourites, and repeatedly so, of international rock stars, what really has swung it for this Indian designer couple? Falguni is pretty understated about it all when she says “A lot of our silhouettes are westernised and we have the edge of Indian embellishments. Moreover we’ve understood the market well and we’ve tweaked our designs a lot to figure out what works. And what works for a pop star will not work for a movie star because actors don’t want to wear a body!”

Right from their surname, down to the embellishments on their clothing, they’ve stood apart for their “exotic India” quotient. (The Peacock in their name comes from Shane’s grandfather’s Anglo-Indian ancestry.)

In Bangalore for the Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour 2013, Shane is too unwell to join the conversation and Falguni looks stressed too. But she puts on all her bravado and her Gothic black to battle an interview. She quickly fishes out the image of the Cosmo’s latest edition cover featuring Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra in a black-grey metallic Spiderman-meets-Gothic bodice they designed, on her cell-phone.

“Priyanka now wears something like this because of her rock-chick vibe. This is the first bodice she’s ever worn! There’s a certain look a pop-star will have but actors tend to stay in their limitation. Priyanka has always played it safe,” she reiterates.

Most of the pop stars have worn the Peacock’s creations for a stage show or their video, and she credits them for allowing their creativity to “come to full bloom”. “They are the ones who love edgy out-of-the-box creations” Britney Spears latest video ‘Work Bitch’ features the pop icon a third time round in their creation. “Even this outfit features leather, with front detailing in feathers and crystals. It’s become our design trademark,” laughs Falguni.

“The brief we were given was that Britney wanted a 40-foot-long white train for the dress. The way it works internationally is that each scene is sketched, we’re told which angle she’s going to be shot from in each scene. The challenge is to do creative stuff within the restrictions imposed.”

The culture in Hollywood and Bollywood being different, so is designing for its people, says Falguni. “You can’t blame Bollywood for being conservative because here if the press doesn’t like you, they trash you. In Hollywood the actors are willing to take risks and the press is open to the outrageous, calling them style statements.”

But why the obsession with leather, feather, and metal? “Every time we decide not to have it in a collection, it just crops up! Though we repeat the materials, it still looks different. It’s part of the FSP signature now. We do a lot of bridal wear in India, and you’ll be surprised with the number of brides who want feathers incorporated in their wedding dress. I personally love using hard metal in our designs and we even create our own sequins. Leather, well…ever since we started working internationally, we’ve used it because leather is big in the international market and it’s growing big here in India now as well. It goes with the rock-glam-Gothic look we create.”

Punk-meets-futuristic

In the Bangalore show, they brought their edgy Spring-Summer 2014 line, that included eveningwear, red carpet outfits in fantasy-meets-reality, punk-meets-futuristic looks. Blues, whites, beiges, off whites, pinks, blacks and greys were married to feathers, sequins and sheer floral combinations.

From gothic punk rock chick to Indian bridal trousseau must be a dramatic shift to deal with? “The shift for us is tough,” admits Falguni. “Specially while you’re recovering from say an international show in New York, we’re wondering what we are doing here…But even our saris are not hardcore Indian; it’s got a western tweak to it.”

She believes the Indian understanding of fashion and brands has changed across the economic classes. “I’m happy that at least 10 in 1,000 come to us with a cutting from a magazine and say they want to wear this or that.”

They are waiting to open up a store at Madison’s in New York City, and opening more stores in India, “probably in Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Bangalore, and Chennai maybe…” says Falguni.