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The leather man

Meet Dilip Kapur, the man behind Hidesign and the doting father of Ayesha, the latest sensation of a child artiste of "Black" fame



DESIGN GURU: Dilip Kapur Photo: Bijoy Ghosh

Dilip Kapur has a strange CV. It begins homogenously enough, with qualifications in International Affairs from prestigious U.S. schools, all the way up to his Ph.D. level.

And then, the leather and fashion element creeps in and refuses to let go; Kapur was so gripped by his one-time hobby that he went on to found Hidesign, now one of India's best-known leather accessories businesses.

"I won a fellowship to do my Ph.D.," explains Kapur. "But the money wasn't enough to last me the entire course, so in my last year, I worked at a leather company."What began as a hobby then "got bigger and bigger and I (the least fashionable boy in college with long hair and loose pants) got into leather and fashion," he laughs.

Heritage hotel

Kapur still teaches International Affairs in Pondicherry where he lives, and has his fingers in more pies than just these two.

A couple of years ago he also founded his own heritage hotel — Le Dupleix — along with old friend Dimitri Klein.

Situated in the heart of the old French quarter of Pondicherry, the building was constructed in the 18th Century as the residence of the Mayor.

The architects immersed themselves in a study of old techniques of construction and completely refinished the old building covering the walls with thin layers of egg white, powdered seashells and yoghurt. The hotel has been modernised with glass and metal to create a mix of modernity and tradition.

Recently though, Kapur's claim to fame is rather more personal: his young daughter Ayesha has been picking up rave reviews for her role as the disabled child in the Amitabh Bachchan-Rani Mukherjee-starrer Black.

HEMANGINI GUPTA

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