Pallavi and Bharavi Jaikishan, a mother and daughter team of
designer complement each others creations. Pallavi concentrates
on the ethnic themes and Bhairavi on bold western outfits.
The world of fashion no
doubt is one of high profile personalities who operate either solo or
as a team in pairs. But very rarely does one come across a mother and
daughter combination that is in the fashion designing business but on
totally diverse levels. Pallavi and Bhairavi Jaikishan make a
formidable high fashion team in India, each identifying her creative
role quite distinctly. While Pallavi remains loyal to her ethnic
Indian themes Bhairavi is the true product of the avant garde western
designing world with her bizarre shocking touches of creativity
that cater to the needs of the futuristic minded woman.
For long years Pallavi
Jaikishan, the very talented wife the late music director Jaikishan,
preferred to keep a low profile, shying away from publicity and the
glare of the flash lights so much a part of her husbands
profession. Pallavi, however, has never trained herself for the
fashion business but has a tremendous amount of inborn talent that
enables her to create garments around which dreams are wove.
Pallavis foray into the fashion world was subtle. I
designed and embroidered my own saris for film premieres which were
appreciated by friends, she recalls. Soon the logical result
was her own shop, Paraphernalia in an elite part of
Bombay in 1972. As the name suggests the shop had everything-
clothes, household linen and designer items for the home. She also
created compolete bridal trousseaux for her exclusive clientele from
her residence. Trousseaux, which included sheets, linen and even
slippers and shoes.
It was a visitor from
USA, Sister Max, a disciple of the Dalai Lama, to her shop who gave
Pallavi her big fashion break. Based in California with stores on
fashionable Rodeo Drive, Sister Max was not a designer but
definitely an excellent business woman who recognized the creative
talents of Pallavi. Soon a thriving business was launched with
fabulous beaded garments under the label, Pallavi for Sister
Max. Each blouse retailed for as much as $ 450 and Pallavis
creations were featured in US TV serials, fashion magazines and
shows. The partnership lasted for seven years following which Pallavi
struck out on her own in the US and Europe by appointing agents and
taking part in prestigious fairs like Igedo in West Germany.
Pallavis Paraphernalia is now replaced by Repertoire at
Interplaza in Bombay and Delhi. Her creations are executed by her 70
men factory for export as well as the local market. One of the first
designers to experiment and promote khadi, Pallavis treatment
of a fabric is always delicate and feminine. He colours are vibrant
yet pastel. Her fabric choice full bodies yet soft and flowing. Her
basic salwar-kameez silhouette is loose, layered and sensuous.
From pristine white to
pearly ivories she turns to vibrant flame or ruby red. Her use of
embroidery is her forte for it does tend to be opulent without being
garish. She has resorted to traditional concepts of Chinese
embroidery for kurtas or the all over chikan work versions. Delicate
pearl embroidery on white and ivory is another of her favourites.
Creating the double duptta look or the kameeze with the over jacket
are some of Pallavis innovations in ethnic wear. Recently she
has branched into ethnic menswear that once again bears her
distinct stamp with subtle tonal embroidery. I love working
with soft fabrics that drape and flow. My garments have always had
elaborate and luxuriously flowing lines, rich fabrics spangled with
beads and sequins. Cuts that swirl and tease but always flatter the
woman because I believe nothing becomes a woman like feminity.
Pallavis look for the 91-92 festive season is a blend of the
rich and the elaborate. From lush ghagra-cholis in sheer tissue with
unconventional odhnis to flowing vibrant salwar-kameez, she creates
garments of luxury. Her sari section bears the distinct stamp of
bold zari embroidery which is very often restricted to the border or
hemline. Pallavis menswear line for 91-92 is extremely
subtle. She plays with tonal embroidery hat is lavishly sprinkled on
off-white kurtas or jodhpuris. Pallavis garments range from
Rs.600/- in the sheerest of fabrics like mul, tissue, organza
chanderi and brocade. Besides high fashion garments Pallavi has
created ranges of designer household linen at Repertoire. The
exquisitely quilted bedspreads in pastels with touches of gold are
fit for a queen. There are dainty and towels too. Household
linen of the designer kind is very popular in India since people
entertain at home. Each piece of designer linen is individually
created in limited numbers. The range includes brocade quilts, towel
sets, napkins, table mats, cushion covers and toilet accessories.
Here the prices range
from as low as Rs. 75/- to 6500/- for a brocade quilt. A
simple towel or a napkin can be turned into a showpiece with just the
right type of embroidery or colours, adds Pallavi.
Inheriting her mothers
creative talents Bhairavi, who trained at the Fashion Institute of
Design and Merchandising in Los Angles after completing a textile
designing course at the Sophia Polytechnic in Bombay, prefers to
create the total haute couture western look for her garments.
Bhairavis clothes are very sophisticated but could be termed
the exact opposite of her mothers. While Pallavis
creations hide the woman they adorn, Bhairavis clothes are
strategically revealing. My clothes are definitely more body
conscious and display the feminity of a woman. There is a lot of
stretch material that I favour which is ideal for the look I am
trying to achieve, she explains. As far as the colour base is
concerned black heads the list. There has to be basic black in
my garments. Followed by deep tones of burgundy, wine, maroon. Gold
is never used by me in all its glittering splendour but more in its
tarnished, burnished form.
Bhairavi admits that her
creations have a limited audience but each season she creates two
separate lines. One the figure hugging one and the other for the
slightly older woman who is more sober in her tastes. But at fashion
shows and for fashion spreads in magazines Bhairavi always promotes
the body conscious look. Each season she presens 15-20 styles and
then, takes orders as per the clients measurements. Bhairavis
jackets retail for Rs. 1500/- to 4500/- and the outfits for
Rs.4500/- to 6000/-. Exporting to Paris and Europe, Bhairavis
line is very popular with boutiques and high fashion houses.
For her first line for
Glitterati two years ago, Bhairavi presented a frothy black range
with ribbons, rosettes and flounces. She followed it up with palazzos
and then the ornate mini suits. Her last two collections have
revolved around stretch fabric which has been glamourized with
embroidery and sequins for trousers and tops. There is a lot of
razzle dazzle accompanies by shorts and halters, all presenting the
total western disco night look.
Besides supplying to
Glitterati in Bombay and Delhi, Bhairavi also sells at Folio in
Bangalore. Future plans include the opening of an inexpensive casual
wear store Pret-a-Porte exclusively retailing
Bhairavis line. While not designing for the local market the
mother and daughter duo are busy creating hundreds of samples for
different seasons for the export market. Producing a 100 pieces of
high fashion garment in just six to seven days is now routine for
them. Inspiration for Pallavi could be a tile or a Chinese plate or
just the fabric or even something on the wayside.
While Bhairavi sticks to
accepted western fashion norms that could be termed as good fashion
sense, Pallavi, who could be termed as a pioneer in the designing
business, has watched the evolution of Indian fashion for over two
decades and the growth of the designer label culture.
A designer label is
a status symbol. Though the concept of designer wear will last, how
many designers will remain in the final analysis remains to be seen.
Both feel that it is easy for trained designers to enter the field
but for bored housewives and daughters who are out to make a quick
buck, the question of survival will be doubtful. Within about
two years this gate crashing into the fashion business
will taper off, Pallavi predicts.
The mother and daughter
designing team of Pallavi and Bhairavi Jaikishan complement each
other perfectly in their creation of garments as they run a
flourishing business that offers the best in high fashion wear.