Aliph, the city-based apparel brand, had a successful run at Cannes

A declined visa, delayed courier, crumpled clothes...everything was going wrong for Omar Sait at Cannes. This was supposed to be his fairytale moment but it was beginning to feel like a disaster. “My designer Kaushik Velendra’s visa was declined just days before our departure. We had to re-apply for him to make it there. The courier delayed my consignment by 36 hours. And with Kaushik joining me a day later, I had to iron and steam all the clothes by myself,” says Omar, who started Aliph.

A suite at the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel was allotted to the designers and each label set up their stall there. It was mostly the producers and publicists who visited the stalls on the first day, along with a few French actors. “I was nervous because our brand does not have much overseas presence. But with every person that stopped by, the compliments kept pouring in,” he says.

Being the only label from India there was curiosity about Aliph and a lot of people made enquiries about colourful suits and blazers. “Our brush-stroke embroidery, woven lapel and woven body tuxedos received a lot of attention,” he adds. 

Shiek Majed Al Sabah, the Prince of Kuwait and French actor Yassine Azzouz, were the first to pick up something from Aliph.

By the end of the 12-day film festival the label had 18 celebrities walking the red carpet in its collection, including Kamel Abdeli, who wore a woven lapel tuxedo, Glen Powel, who wore an embroidered brush stroke tuxedo, Victor Oritz, who wore a hand-embroidered lapel tuxedo, Aurelien Wiik, who sported a shawl lapel tuxedo, Jimmy Jean Louis, chose a square-pleated lapel tuxedo and Kamal Haasan, who wore an embroidered paint stroke tuxedo…

“And then there were those who bought tuxedos and shirts from us and took it back home — Kelly Rutherford bought a shirt for her brother, actor Timothy Spall, Olivier Dahan (Director Grace of Monaco), Pierre Morel (Director of Taken), editors and photographers from international fashion magazines…We received orders for about 15 tuxedos that we are now creating in our unit on Khader Nawaz Khan road,” says an elated Omar.

With a satisfactory outing at the Cannes Film Festival, Omar is now in talks with Marlon Wayans to do his outfit for the MTV Music Awards Africa. “Cannes has been an unbelievable experience. Never have I been so intimidated and yet felt like I belonged at the same time,” says Omar.