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Designs on heroes

Y. SUNITA CHOWDHARY
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Chat Kunal Rawal joins the new wave of designers in Telugu film industry

Designing costumes is not just about the clothes; it is about highlighting the personality as well and at 26, Kunal Rawal is heading the right direction. He has his flagship store D.stress running for six years and has been a regular at Fashion Weeks for four years, dressed the Rajasthan Royals, the entire male cast of Aisha , Mahesh Babu for Dhookudu and the hero of Three Idiots in Tamil. He has who's who of the film glitterati wearing his labels. He is also the creative head for Provogue in the South and balances retail and fashion perfectly. How does he manage that? “I have age and time on my side. When you are young, you want to learn 24x7, ten years down the line when I sit down to think what I've achieved I should be proud to have handled such diversity. It is about the journey, I would then enjoy work – less work but with more satisfaction,” says Kunal Rawal with clarity and confidence.”

Fashion to the young man is the message that one gives across about what they wear, their body language and the comfort factor. But why is that Kunal mosty designs for men and also is it necessary for a designer to have a sharp business acumen? He replies, “Men like to look good. They are far more finicky because they cannot wear bright colours, cannott try exorbitant silhouettes, cannott accessorise themselves and the boundaries are very limited but they are great money spenders. I like to dress myself and love to try it on others, I like other men to feel and live what I'm talking about.”

He adds, “It is important to have great fashion sense but at the same time I don't understand money at all, that is why I have people taking care of this. Two years back I never thought I would have managers chalking out plans for the next three days, it helps. The focus shouldn't deviate from creating. The biggest fear for a designer is creative block. In my case that pushes me to do diverse work. I know my market here and I learn unique things by selection of projects for different consumers and different market. I am not scared of challenges.”

Their designs, our designs

Kunal has an interesting explanation for giving his work a unique label D.stress. He thinks in a business such as this you need to be calm and ready to deal with varied people from karigars to celebrities, also he is the most stressed out person in life and the label is the biggest antithesis. Ask Kunal if the demands of the South heroes are different from the Hindi film stars, he avers, “In Mumbai fashion is an important part of film making, there are group discussions, we conceptualise the whole show and know how the story moves. In Telugu film industry the sensibility is slightly more colourful — in the script, in the format, with their actors, their persona. We don't have to work extra hard to convince them of something as they obviously know what works for them and the body types. They understand I'm here for a reason and we are all working for a betterment of the project, they let me do my job. The bigger the actor the understanding and humility is more. I enjoyed dressing Mahesh Babu, he was a complete live wire and a brilliant performer, I loved the dressing for the tribal dance sequence in Dhookudu .”

Y. SUNITA CHOWDHARY

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