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He ROCKS the tinsel world

Rocky S., the designer Bollywood likes, is fussy about his shoes. He has 60 pairs of them



Rocky: `Rekha is the ideal person to design for'

THE VENUE is Palace Grounds. A rehearsal for the evening's fashion show, titled Royal Silks of Mysore, is on. I stand there waiting to meet Rocky S., the leading designer of Bollywood. The man who designed for Hrithik Roshan (even before he became a star), Akshay Kumar, Amisha Patel, Diya Mirza, Bipasha Basu, Arjun Rampal, Raveena Tandon, Manisha Koirala, and more.

Rocky had, for this show, his recently launched Boulevard Benzer, an exclusive designer collection, which blends Western and Indian designs. Besides the new addition of Indian and bridal wear, leather accessories designed by him were also part of the show. Well, the stuff is designer, but if you have a weak heart, you're sure to drop dead if you heard those exorbitant prices — anything between Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 4 lakh. He has also launched a new jeans line called Rocky S Jeans.

It is his sheer determination, passion, and of course talent, that has got Rocky to where he is. Coming across as a down to earth person, he was all charm. Here are excerpts from the interview:

Rocky doesn't sound like your original name. Did Bollywood rechristen you?

No, it is the shortened version for Rakesh. My grandmother used to call me Rocky as a child and that name stayed. It went like that into my school records.

What made a commerce graduate like you branch off into designing?

I come from a very conservative background. My parents wanted me to do C.A. or start a business. Designing wasn't something they approved of. For them, it was no different from being a tailor. But I persisted because I've always had a penchant for clothes and designing.

After graduating from J.D. Institute of Fashion Designing, I took up a job in a store. I had no clue about designing then, but decided to watch the tailors at work. I used to work from 8 in the morning till 10 in the night, and in those two years I gained sufficient practical knowledge for designing clothes on my own.

That was when I was introduced to Manisha Koirala and she gave me a break into Bollywood.

How do you conceive the clothes for films?

To begin with, the scenes are discussed in detail, then the views of the director, producer, and the artistes are taken into account. Based on the budget, designs are conceived with the story and the period in mind. There was a time when even a girl from a poor background wore stunning costumes. It no longer happens.

Are artistes too fussy about the clothes they wear?

I normally don't work with those who are too fussy. To be able to design, I need to be able to relate to them.

What about you, are you fussy about your clothes? Do you design them yourself?

No, I'm not fussy about my clothes and I don't design them. I simply pick what strikes me most. I generally don't worry about the cost. But yes, I am fussy about my shoes. I have about 60 pairs. I suppose I spend most of my money getting designer shoes. The ones I'm wearing now cost me $400. (Perhaps a male Imelda Marcos in the making!)

Who do you think is the ideal person to design for?

Rekha, of course. She is not only extremely sensual, but also carries her clothes beautifully. She is a perfectionist. I like that quality in her, because I'm a perfectionist myself.

How does it feel to branch into traditional designs?

It is certainly a new challenge. I am currently working with warm Indian colours such as red, orange, and pink. The cuts, however, will remain simple.

Where do you to go from here?

I would like to strengthen my base in India, probably for the next four to five years, and then consider entering the global market.

N.S.

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