Exclusive: Designer Varun Bahl on his latest FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week collection, sustainability & more

Fashion designer Varun Bahl opens up about the inspiration behind his new collection for FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week, sustainable fashion and much more. Check it out!

Updated on Mar 24, 2022  |  12:40 AM IST |  456.2K
Exclusive: Designer Varun Bahl on his latest FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week collection, sustainability & more
Exclusive: Designer Varun Bahl on his latest FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week collection, sustainability & more

If you spot a look that's a perfect blend of classic and contemporary, antique and novel and with an innovative play of colours, no doubt, it’s by none other than designer Varun Bahl. The ace designer is a NIFT graduate, born and brought up in Delhi. He started out his eponymous label in 2001 and there was no turning back as his designs which were an extension of art that imitates the grandiose spectrum of life were loved by all. He also owns a menswear label with Indian filmmaker Karan Johar and has a strong client base in Bollywood. 

Ace designer is all set to present his latest collection on day 1 of FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week happening today in Delhi. In an exclusive interview, we got a scoop about his collection and his thoughts on sustainable fashion, a designer he wants to work with, favourite celebrities in his designs and much more. 

Tell us about the collection you are presenting at FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week and the inspiration behind it.

Every garment in our collection for FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week is inspired by real people, design history, and a spin on traditional Indian embroideries speaking the language of global culture. The name of our SS’22 collection is Quintessential. With this collection, we bring to you our trademark romantic embroideries but with a hint of fun, drama and upcycled patchworks that would make for everlasting pieces that rethink tradition for the changing world and redefine the grandeur of Indian Couture. Each look in Quintessential is about upcycled embroidery and a burst of spring with vivid explosions of colours.

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How does it feel to showcase at a physical edition of FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week after 2 years?

We are excited to have physical shows back in format after the pandemic and it is even more special for me as it's happening in Delhi, my hometown. We have waited quite a long time to get back to the physical format as we always love showcasing our collections physically to our audience giving us a chance to capture their reaction and make memories with the same.

Florals for summer, while iconic, are done to death. What are some patterns we can play within these months to look stylish and beat the heat? 

In our upcoming summer couture collection, we have incorporated signature curvilinear lines and forms with a vivid explosion of colour that makes for a refreshing Spring-Summer collection. Along with this, we also bring to you romantic ensembles and upcycled embroidery with a hint of fun and drama using patchworks.

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If you could collaborate with any one designer, who would it be and why? 

The current state of fashion is contemporary and progressive. Designs and customers are in a state of being modern and traditionalists at the same time which is very interesting. It's always exciting to see how designers are innovating traditional embroideries and silhouettes with modern aesthetics. Every designer is unique in their own way and I admire them all.

More designers are starting their pret labels, can we expect you to as well?

It was my dream to have a prêt, ready-to-wear brand and my aim was to reach out to more people than couture can reach. It took me a while to get it all right, and I finally launched Varun Bahl prêt in 2019.

Sustainability has become a major aspect of fashion, how do you think the industry can curb its carbon footprint and how are you doing your bit?

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Sustainable fashion is definitely the future as almost everything is now being made and sourced from India, whether it’s fabrics or embroideries or even ethical policies, and there are different ways the industry can play its part to reduce the carbon footprint one such way is to minimise any form of wastage. In Quintessential, we have aimed to showcase our sustainability practices by using upcycled embroidery and patchwork and highlight how the material and products all of us as a society used to consider as waste, is essentially turning into a whole new collection.

Tell us your top 3 favourite celebrity looks in your label.

It's hard to tell just three. Priyanka Chopra, Shilpa Shetty, Deepika Padukone, Kangana Ranaut, Parineeti Chopra, Bipasha Basu, Huma Qureshi, Kajol, Madhuri Dixit, Amitabh Bachchan, Arjun Rampal, and Ranbir Kapoor, among others, are all my favourites.

For the fresh designers entering the industry, what's one piece of advice you think would help them? 

This is a crucial and challenging time not only for young designers but for all fashion brands in India, as well as the world. We have to start rethinking and give the industry a new shape by making smart choices. Young designers should find creative ways of re-starting their businesses to address the demand for thoughtful, local craft-led designs that resonate with a new, conscious customer mindset.

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Gayathri PR is a Fashion Communication graduate from NIFT who likes to express her ardent love for all things

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