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‘The best 30 years of my work are actually ahead of me’: Masaba on her newly launched luxury bridal label

Happy with bright colours and rich exuberance, ‘Patiala Portraits’ mixes the classic with the Masaba cool

Saionee Chakraborty Published 30.11.23, 06:57 AM
Kareena Kapoor Khan is magical in ‘Patiala Portraits’, by House of Masaba’s luxury bridal label ‘The Masaba Bride’

Kareena Kapoor Khan is magical in ‘Patiala Portraits’, by House of Masaba’s luxury bridal label ‘The Masaba Bride’ Pictures courtesy: House of Masaba

A radiant Kareena Kapoor Khan looking absolutely breathtaking in Masaba Gupta drew a collective gasp last month when the House of Masaba launched their luxury bridal label ‘The Masaba Bride’ with the campaign titled ‘Patiala Portraits’. Happy with bright colours and rich exuberance, ‘Patiala Portraits’ mixes the classic with the Masaba cool. Masaba later chatted with t2 on the making of the collection, what Kareena Kapoor Khan’s personality brought to the campaign and where she got her balance in life from. Yes, there’s always something to learn from Masaba.

You have done bridals before...

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That collection failed very badly. We have done bridals about three-four times and I did my first bridal as early as 2012 or 2013. Then I did a whole campaign which we shot in a court and pretended that these are people getting court marriage and even though the campaign was good, the collections failed one after the other. I think what I wanted to do was just get my head right and designing my own bridal look really helped me. When I designed my own piece, I thought maybe this is a new design language. When I saw my own wedding lehnga I felt it was unique. There was a print story and (it was about) celebrating colours and I did not feel that I was in a 20kg lehnga.

I literally shut myself off to the world when I was designing this collection and probably lost a few friends! (Laughs)

What has really changed in how you are thinking about bridals right now?

I think I am not thinking for myself. It is not a personal vanity project and I am also not thinking about a particular kind of bride. I am thinking of multiple types of brides, which is why when you see the whole collection roll out, you’ll see that we are not suddenly coming and saying that brides must wear colour and we shouldn’t be beige brides. We have something for beige brides also and something for brides who like saris with veils or saris without veils. I have something for brides who love offbeat colours. There is something for every kind of bride and mother-in-law, sister-in-law and groom. Which is why it is a lot more wholesome and well-rounded as a collection.

Earlier what happened was, oh, this is the theme and we must do something different and this is the kind of embroidery we should do.... I think I have focused the most on this collection after a very long time. Interestingly, my entire team went through change. I hired a full new design team. What had started to happen was everyone around me became ‘yes’ people and not wanting to be brave and change. I wanted to be surrounded by braver designers.

Also, my mother (actress Neena Gupta) told me to buck up.

A radiant Kareena Kapoor Khan looking absolutely breathtaking in Masaba Gupta drew a collective gasp last month when the House of Masaba launched their luxury bridal label ‘The Masaba Bride’ with the campaign titled ‘Patiala Portraits’.

A radiant Kareena Kapoor Khan looking absolutely breathtaking in Masaba Gupta drew a collective gasp last month when the House of Masaba launched their luxury bridal label ‘The Masaba Bride’ with the campaign titled ‘Patiala Portraits’.

Did you expect the explosion though?!

Not at all. The problem is in our industry, the words ‘explosion’ and ‘viral’ have been abused because you are on Instagram and some seven-eight friends are like, ‘Wow, amazing, proud of you’, but the fact is (there are) people who are out there and not on Instagram who don’t know what you are doing. With this particular collection, whether I am at the coffee shop or I am at the gym, everybody stops me and says, ‘Amazing collection’... people who don’t understand clothes and random people are sharing it....

When you take something and it becomes a talking point in a coffee shop, that’s success. I think this is our moment... there are milestones that you cannot repeat and this is one of those.

What did you think Kareena Kapoor Khan brought to the campaign?

I have always gravitated towards working people that I like. I just think if you are not a nice human being and you don’t have a certain set of values in your system, you will not even look beautiful. Sometimes the most beautiful faces have no vibe. They are not inherently radiant. I have been a Kareena fan for many years. I actually wanted to get her as the face of LoveChild (Masaba’s cosmo-wellness beauty brand that launched last year), but there were many problems at the time, so we couldn’t. But, I knew in my head that I was going to do something with her. I could finally also do justice because sometimes brands use a face and they don’t use it in the most optimum way possible. So, we had our marketing plans in place and I knew I wanted to do a special song for her (the soulfully playful Raanjhan aaya, by Masaba, Akshay & IP, in association with Sony Music Entertainment India). We tried and she said ‘yes’ and after that it’s a blur.

 I actually wanted to get her as the face of LoveChild (Masaba’s cosmo-wellness beauty brand that launched last year), but there were many problems at the time, so we couldn’t: Masaba

I actually wanted to get her as the face of LoveChild (Masaba’s cosmo-wellness beauty brand that launched last year), but there were many problems at the time, so we couldn’t: Masaba

I was doing fittings with her and you can just keep looking at Kareena Kapoor, with makeup, without makeup. And, it’s not a facial, physical thing, it’s just a thing of you being so happy, at peace and content in your life that it radiates through your face. I wanted somebody like that. I like to work with people who are classic and whose face will stand the test of time.

You had told us once that you never thought you’d do bridals. Do you think you have carved a niche for yourself?

I do believe that we have carved a niche for ourselves as a brand very early on in our bridal journey because even if you see the comments on Instagram, everybody is saying ‘I would like to be a bride when I see this’. I saw some pieces and I wish I wore them for my wedding instead of what I wore.

I am not going to judge the success of this collection by how many brides are wearing this next summer or for their December or January weddings. I am going to see who’s going to wear this three years from now. And then another 10-15 years. Some of the best bridal brands in the world haven’t been built overnight. They started at a certain stage and level and over time you saw them evolve. I think we are dressing the brides of the future, as a brand. The best 30 years of my work are actually ahead of me. It is a very young brand and I am a young founder and I think this is the test collection, a litmus test....

Masaba Gupta

Masaba Gupta

How do you think young brides are choosing now?

There are different kinds of brides. I think the brides in metro cities are different from those in smaller towns. Then you have NRI brides who are actually completely different. You feel they might want a small wedding, but sometimes they want to come back to India and have a really lavish wedding. They want to wear the finest of Indian wear. Different brides want different things. However, everybody wants to feel special on the day.

I don’t see a lot of brides being careless any more about the money that they are spending. They wonder whether they can reuse those pieces and I have heard a lot of brides say that instead of a big wedding, they’d rather take a holiday with their partner. I think experiences are taking centre stage... the idea of the fairy tale will never change for the Indian bride. It’s just going to keep evolving with time.

What are your top tips for girls who want to re-wear and repurpose their wedding wear?

I am a big reuser of all my looks.... I think it’s time for people to start re-wearing what they have spent so much of their money on, especially bridals. I had an engagement lehnga way back and don’t know what to do with it. At that time, I had spent Rs 75,000 on it, which is a lot for me. So, when you are making your decision, you should think about whether you can re-wear this or pass it on to somebody or wear it with a different blouse. In that sense, we have always been a versatile brand. All our pieces are reusable and it’s good for the planet.

You have had to work very hard to reach where you are. That will always stay with you, right?

Absolutely. For me, honestly, the concept of value for money didn’t exist before the pandemic. The business was just about breaking even and it was on autopilot. I was living with my mother and then I moved to my own house. I think I have literally gone from a time when I couldn’t afford a cook to now, where I can splurge a little bit and I’ll be fine. I don’t think the value for money will ever go out of my system. I dislike people who don’t have value for money. I think it’s because of my mother’s upbringing and I am very careful about money.

Has balance been a key to your success?

My parents, including my stepfather (Vivek Mehra), have never said that I have done something right, if it is wrong. I remember before my wedding, I snapped at my mother about being overworked and trying to get this wedding done and she said: ‘So what? You have 24 hours in a day. Don’t make people feel that you are doing them a favour and if you can’t do something, say no’. It is a matter-of-fact approach to raising a person. I could have been spoiled.

The balance in my life comes from my friends who have been friends of mine since I was in fashion school. They are all professionals and they save money to buy a house and raise their children themselves and cook. And then I also have friends who have a day nurse and a night nurse and seven drivers. So, I have seen both and the balance comes from there that you can do both, but this is also possible.

You could have chosen to lead a lavish life but you chose a peaceful and comfortable life. How did you arrive at that and what has it done to you as a person?

Again it’s my upbringing. We are that kind of a family where there is a dining table and there is an oven right next to the dining table and a hundred ketchup bottles. I don’t particularly enjoy the vanity that comes from being in the industry that I am in. I don’t go anywhere where I don’t have a personal connection with the person. Maybe if I did that, I would have been 10 times more successful today, but I chose peace over that kind of success, which is also toxic. I just attract people in my life who are simple. One of my oldest and closest friends is Nimish Shah from Shift and Bhaane now. When we sit down and talk, it is about simple stuff like ‘What do you want to eat?’ There is no random pretence.

I live two lives, possibly on purpose. The profession that I am in, I need to be a lot more smart, sharp and focused. In my personal life, I am very different. I am much calmer and sensitive. I really pick and choose the people that are even allowed in my house.

Every time you have got stuck and didn’t know what to do, what did you tell yourself?

I don’t think I have a mantra. I don’t speak to myself. I just keep going. I have a feeling this is how my father’s (Vivian Richards) wired. I wake up every day with a clean slate.

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