EXCLUSIVE: Punit Balana on Sara Ali Khan's showstopper outfit at Lakme Fashion Week x FDCI, Utsav and more

Punit Balana's 'Utsav' collection offers inspiration for wedding-goers and lovers of colours. Is Holi really over? Or maybe not.

Updated on Jun 05, 2023  |  02:53 PM IST |  352.6K
Punit Balana, Lakme Fashion Week, celebrity style, bollywood, Sara Ali Khan,
EXCLUSIVE: Punit Balana on Sara Ali Khan's showstopper outfit at Lakme Fashion Week x FDCI, Utsav and more

It's a happy, happy colourful day. Having a long-standing history with fashion, Punit Balana's 'Utsav' projected the beauty of Indian heritage and hues that were canopied by royalty and glamour at the Lakme Fashion Week in partnership with FDCI which is on its last legs. Together, we moved ahead together from Day 3 of fashion learnings where designers made us tune in to tassels, tulle, prints, and all funkiness with western ensembles which gradually turned into an ethnic conversation. 

Needless to say, a collection of kurtas, sarees, Anarkalis and others that emerged from folklore and culture as its key themes is something to talk about and truly understand by someone who never seems to forget and appreciate what his nation has to give. Pinkvilla's exclusive chat with Punit Balana was packed with details of his new collection called Utsav, Rajasthan's Kalbelia community, Sara Ali Khan as his dolled-up showstopper in a lehenga, his life as a designer and so much more. 

Punit Balana discusses Utsav, the growth of his brand, and more

What is the secret to Utsav's stellar-ness? 

Everything about this collection is special, grand and starry! From the colourful dyes to the embroidery, to the construction technique of the garments, everything is phenomenal for me. I have introduced three new colours in this collection ‘Surkhlaal’, ‘Gulabi Gulaal’ and ‘Kacha Aam’. Each colour has a special significance. With regard to the garment construction, I have used a lot of new techniques and introduced interesting silhouettes and different cuts which you will see in the collection. When it comes to embroidery, we have used a lot of coin work and hand-woven doris which really makes this collection stand out.

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How as a fashion designer do you stay grounded in your roots? 

Honestly, it comes very naturally to me. I come from a city that is inspirational in so many ways. I am very proud of our rich culture and craftsmanship, and I think the right thing to do is to honour it. My designs are a reflection of my core beliefs and I will never forget my roots when it comes to my personality as well as my design philosophy.

 

 

Why is it so essential to embrace and empower the folklore and culture of our land today? 

Handmade is considered to be a luxury, even internationally. There is a shift towards customisation, craftsmanship, and personalisation and people are ready to spend a little more for that extra detailing. In India, we have been made to avail of such a luxury for a long time, thanks to the local artisans. India as a country is so rich in culture and this is just an extension of what it has to offer. I feel privileged to be able to give back to this culture through my work and would encourage others to do so when it comes to creating and even consuming.

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Sara in a Punit Balana lehenga

How would you convince someone sceptical of experimenting with colours to don an ensemble from Utsav? 

My collection itself means a festival. When you think festive, you think bright colours, you think opulence, you think celebration. For me, Utsav captures all of it. I would like to believe that the wearer would be celebrating themselves through these outfits. The colours that I have chosen for this particular collection will never go out of trend.

 

What was your focus area while working on Utsav? How did you chart out on hues to embroideries and everything in between?

With block prints inspired by Rajasthani history, particularly that of the Kalbelia community, and bandhani, Utsav represents masterful craftsmanship in terms of silhouettes, ranging from my classic designs to new, contemporary ones – reimagined lehengas and peplum sets, heavily embellished kurtas for men and many more to suit the effortless sartorial sensibilities of the modern woman and man. Brought to life through bright hues of surkhlaal and gulaabi gulaal and a bold shade of kacha aam, this collection is a symphony of embroideries in marodi, resham, gota, mirror and coin and a step ahead in the world of the label’s prints.

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Sara Ali Khan looks stunning as your muse today. How was her outfit brought to life?

I am so happy with the outcome of this outfit, and I couldn’t think of anyone other than Sara to present this beautiful ensemble. I envisioned this collection around 3 months ago, and I’m so happy to see this colourful outcome. Like I’ve mentioned earlier I wanted to dedicate a collection that would make my wearer feel like celebrating not only occasions but themselves. The surkhlaal banarasi lehenga has a beautiful hand-embroidered dupatta with intricate work. 

 

Can you shed some light on the Kalbelia community of Rajasthan? How are they a gift to the fashion world?

I am truly blessed to be born and brought up in the cultural hub of India. Rajasthan has so much to offer when it comes to art, dance, food, and design. The Kalbelia dance is a folk dance which is considered to be the most sensuous dance among Rajasthani dances. This community represents celebration, dance and glamour which I have tried to translate into my collection. 


 

How has the Punit Balana empire grown from design to design? 

I am always on the lookout for new techniques and designs, and that is something that inspires me to build on my collections every season. I believe anyone and everyone can find something from my collection, it is that versatile. I believe my wearers shouldn’t feel restricted when wearing one of my creations, I want them to be able to celebrate and be free-spirited, and I can proudly say I have lived up to my beliefs. This is something that my customers like and I am here today only because of them.

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What is it that you love about you being a fashion designer?

I love the fact that I am always open to learning new techniques and implementing them in my designs. Be it my techniques, or my knowledge to create something new, I am ready to take on a challenge because I know that every time I overcome a challenge, I only think of it as an opportunity to do something better and bigger.

 

Punit Balana's creations

Do you love Sara's lehenga?

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ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Sanjana Sanghi on her showstopper Siddhartha Bansal gown, party style, go-to hairstyles and more

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About The Author

A fashion writer by day and a makeup inspiration by the night, Manjusha is also an ardent animal lover.

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Credits: VIRAL BHAYANI , APH IMAGES , LAKME FASHION WEEK INSTAGRAM ,
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