From Films to Fashion

Padmini Kolhapure talks with You & I
It was her passion for apparel design that led veteran actress Padmini Kolhapure to turn fashion designer. Along with her partner Sita Talwalkar, she launched her label PadmaSitaa, in September, and is already creating ripples in the fashion industry. Read on to learn about her shift from the film industry, her partnership with her childhood friend, and her personal style.
Congratulations on launching PadmaSitaa in Hyderabad. How does it feel?
I’m very happy to launch my collection in the city of the Nizams, and all the more happy to showcase it at Angasutra. The way the store has displayed the garments has added so much more character to them. They look so much more beautiful here.
How did your brand come into being?
It just happened! Nothing was planned. Sita Talwalkar is my childhood friend. Her family are pioneers in the fitness world and run Talwalkars gyms across India. She has a very stylish sense of dress and has always had a flair for fashion. Both Sita and I have designed clothes for ourselves and our friends in the past, but it was only when a friend of mine from Abu Dhabi suggested it that the thought of doing it together came upon us. It was a casual conversation that turned into a partnership, and here we are today!
Initially we started designing only for the Abu Dhabi market, but our apparel became more widely recognised after I wore one of our creations to the AIBA Awards in Dubai. We launched our brand in Mumbai in September and in such a short span, we’ve had a great response from people across the country.
What an interesting name! How did it come into being?
PadmaSitaa stands for Padmini and Sita. We didn’t want a run-of-the-mill name; instead we wanted something that had a deeper meaning, and something people could relate to. Thanks to the name and the personal touch we give our brand, people have developed trust in PadmaSitaa.
What are your specialities?
Our brand offers ready to wear and made to order Indo-western apparel, traditional sarees, tunics, kaftans, and dresses, all of which have delicate handmade zardozi work on them. For the Abu Dhabi market, we create jellabiyas, long kaftans and farashas.
What should people look for in your work?
Our creations are very different from the rest because our USP is the subtle embroidery, colour, and fabrics. The work is not done in Mumbai. Instead, we work hand-in-hand with the artisan and karigars to create the vintage embroidery. It’s also very affordable, making it easy to own a PadmaSitaa creation.  
What made you choose Shraddha Kapoor to endorse your brand?
Obviously because she’s my niece, and she’s a true youth icon and trendsetter. After the first time she wore my outfit at the unveiling of my brand and carried it off so fabulously, I couldn’t have thought of anyone else to endorse it. We received a tremendous response on social media for the outfit she wore!
From friendship to partnership, how has the transition been?
It’s been pretty smooth until now. The best thing is that we complement each other in terms of our temperament, nature and tastes, so that helps. We often have differences of opinion in that I may not like something that she does and vice versa. But we go with the flow and realise the outcome afterwards, and it’s actually worked well for us.
Films or fashion?
My loyalties obviously lie with films because I’ve grown up in the industry – it’s in my blood! But I’m thoroughly enjoying what I’m doing now too. I get to meet a lot of people from different walks of life, so it’s a great change.
What’s your personal style like?
Comfort comes first for me. I’ll only wear something that I’m comfortable in. That’s probably why I go to the trouble of making things comfortable for my clients.
How do you manage your personal and professional lives?
I manage to strike a good balance thanks to my extremely understanding husband and son.    --- as told to Niharika