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Masaba Gupta, 24, takes over as design head of Satya Paul!

Masaba Gupta is busier and happier. “Can you imagine, at 24?! I couldn’t have imagined it. I used to be this confused 19-year-old who did not know what she wanted and now I have two brands under me!” laughed Sir Viv Richards and Neena Gupta’s designer daughter when t2 called her up on Monday afternoon, two days after she “officially joined the brand (Satya Paul)”. A t2 chat...

Many congratulations for being appointed the fashion director of Satya Paul. How did it happen?

Actually, Sanjay (Kapoor, MD, Genesis Colors, the holding company of Satya Paul) called me for a meeting. I believe they were toying with a bunch of names about who should be the new fashion director. I had meetings with him and the entire Genesis team in Delhi. It took about a month. It was somewhat finalised in the first week of November.

You already have a successful line. What made you agree to this?

(Thinks) You know, for me at this stage, this is the only way ahead because Satya Paul is a very established brand. They are with the Genesis group. They have a great turnover and visibility and are a part of many international projects that will be coming up in the next year. Also, they have the most amazing backend... so the unit, the factory, the design studio... all of it is very strong. To be very honest, if it was another brand that I did not believe in or that I thought I did not have an aesthetic connect with, I wouldn’t have taken it up. If you see the colours, the whole sensibility stems from the same place, but it is just different. It is kind of obvious... I keep saying that it is ‘mother and daughter of the same family’. It is a big learning experience... about how a full-fledged brand really works. To be honest, we have very few brands in India. We have many designers. Heading a brand like this will give me the confidence to prepare and make better decisions for my own brand.

Is there any clash of interest when a designer becomes the fashion director of another brand?

(Laughs) I think that happens when you don’t know which direction both brands are taking. If I didn’t know where Masaba was going and where I wanted to take Satya Paul, there would be a conflict of interest. Now we are trying to address the same target group. So, we want to make Satya Paul appeal to a younger age group. I’m very clear about what I want from both brands.

What is your plan of action?

The plan is to make Satya Paul appeal to the younger age group. I haven’t really sat down with the design team at length and figured out what direction we are taking. But the first collection that I do will be out in March or April.

Where will you find the time to do both?

I feel like I have two babies now! One is a new-born Satya Paul and the other is three years old (Masaba). Honestly, if I don’t work now, when would I have the time? I am young... just 24 and I don’t have any other interest. I really don’t care about not having a social life. These are the years that will shape my future and I’d rather work my head off now than when I am 40.

Can this start a trend in India?

We need to think ahead. It doesn’t end at 20 stores, bridal collections... just designing. It is about a brand and you should have someone to take it forward. Somebody was telling me that Alexander McQueen died long back but his brand will remain alive for many years because of Sarah Burton (creative director). [Alexander Wang, new creative director of Balenciaga, and Marc Jacobs, the creative boss of Louis Vuitton, are Masaba’s other faves.]

Right now, everyone is asking if I’m through with my brand! (Laughs) We really need to tell people that you can have your brand and also head other brands.

Have you spoken to Puneet Nanda, the former Satya Paul design head?

I had a long chat with him. Everyone says that I am going to fill his shoes. That’s not the case. What he has done with the brand is just phenomenal. He told me what he had in mind when he took over and now what he sees the label as. I asked what I should and shouldn’t be doing.