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Ethnic clothes for chic chicks

SOMIKA BASU

NEELAM KAPUR has always loved designing clothes, long before she came to have formal training in textiles. It was her flair for creating unusual and eye-catching ethnic wear that made her take a few courses in designing and sharpen her skills.

It was then that Ms. Kapur started Pehnava, the exclusive salwar kameez brand.

The starting of this enterprise 10 years ago, stemmed basically from Ms. Kapur's desperate need "to be more than just a housewife".

But encouragement from her friends and a steadily-increasing clientele compelled her to expand her scale of production.

What was initially a hobby has now catapulted into a full-fledged business.

Ms. Kapur mainly uses hand-made cottons such as Mangalgiri to design her clothes, since cottons are "her forte". However, she also works with other material such as chiffon, crepe, organza, georgette, crepe silk, and tussar. Ms. Kapur uses a wide range of colours — earthy tones, contemporary shades, pastels, and vibrant tones.

Besides salwar kameezes, Ms. Kapur also designs lehengas, cholis, and blouses.

Ms. Kapur now designs saris as well. Designing a sari is challenging, since it involves transforming a piece of long cloth into a richly-adorned and tasteful-designed garment, she says. This always involves an in-depth look into the customers' requirements and price range. An attractive ensemble can be created even on a low budget, she says.

For embellishment, Ms. Kapur uses both machine and hand-embroidery. She uses mirror work, aari, zardozi, and crystals.

Ms. Kapur also designs exclusive ethnic outfits for bridal trousseau. Her trousseau includes saris, churidars, salwar kameezes, cholis, blouses, and bridal lehengas.

Unlike most dress designers, Ms. Kapur is very particular about timing, quality, and finish. She believes that constant interaction and maintaining a rapport with the client is absolutely essential.

A large number of teenagers come to Ms. Kapur for clothes with the ethnic-chic look. She believes that "exclusivity" is of utmost importance in designing clothes. So, Ms. Kapur's clothes never have a "bought-off-the-shelf" look about them.

Ms. Kapur has plans of opening her own showroom to display her exclusive collection. She also hopes to soon start designing accessories such as handbags, and perhaps, even jewellery to complement her range of ethnic clothes.

Ms. Kapur's clothes are priced Rs. 1,000 upwards.

She can be contacted on 5255344 or 5219573.

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