Varun Bahl - Living His Dream

ADelhi-based designer who’s known for his floral prints and feminine silhouettes, Varun Bahl’s recent ‘Dream Nouveau’ collection caught our eye immediately. It’s replete with delicate prints, beautiful embroidery, and bright colours. This month, we talk to the designer himself to get some insight into his work.

Tell us about your current collection.
It’s called ‘Dream Nouveau’ and it’s inspired by the art nouveau and art deco period, primarily by the floral paintings of one of the most famous artists of that era, Alphonse Mucha. It has asymmetrical lines, curvilinear patterns, and an eclectic colour palette.

How is this collection different from your previous ones?
I’ve always done florals, but this collection is slightly different in the sense that it’s inspired by a particular period and artist. The colour palette is very similar to my previous collections, but there are a lot more new colours that have been added within the embroidery space. There’s lots of new silhouettes and new placements too, giving it freshness.

You’ve taken part in several fashion shows across the country. Which of these do you think is the best platform for a designer?
Every fashion week has a different purpose. The kind of work that I’m doing extensively right now makes India Couture Week the best for me. But each fashion week has its own benefits.

You showcase at several multi-designer stores in Hyderabad. Any plans of opening a standalone one?
Nothing is in the offing immediately, but you never know.

Any celebrity you’d like to style?
There are many. Internationally I’d like to style Madonna and Iris Apfel.

Who is the Varun Bahl wearer?
My clothes are for the discerning eye, for somebody who knows clothes and quality, and somebody who likes originals – not fakes and copies. It’s the modern and well travelled woman who doesn’t have a problem spending money, because good things always come at a price.  

You don’t venture into menswear too often. Will we get to see it anytime soon?
There’s lots in planning for early next year. Menswear will also become a part of our brand, and so will luxury prêt wear.

You’ve been in the industry for over a decade. What changes have you seen over the years?
When I started off, the customer in India was not very receptive to new ideas. They were very set in their own ways of thinking, and it was the hard work done by all of us designers over the years that changed it. It’s still not what it should be, but it’s definitely changing.

You recently appeared in a movie, Shab, too. What was the experience like?
It just happened. The experience was lovely and I was complemented by lots of people who told me that I was quite a natural actor. In fact I don’t mind taking up acting a little more seriously, too. I used to do a lot of plays back in school, and was often called a great actor.

If not a designer, what profession would you have chosen?
Being a designer was a childhood dream and I’m living it.

What’s your favourite trend?
Trends are something I don’t follow. My motto and advice to everyone is to not follow any trends. It’s all about what looks nice on you.

What do you do when you’re not working?
Thinking about what to do next (laughs). But I also like going out with my friends. Delhi has quite a hectic social life, and I won’t deny being part of it. I like going out and meeting people, catching up with friends, and trying out new bars and restaurants.

Where do you draw inspiration?
It could be anywhere, walking on the road, during travels or just things and people around me.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?
I like the idea of travelling, so there’s no particular destination that I like. I enjoy going to the hills and mountains as well as the beach.
Describe yourself in three words.

I’d say I’m happy, fun-loving, and creative.     --- as told to Niharika