Now, designer raingear for the monsoons!
Fashion designer Sonya Vajifdar launched India's first collection of designer monsoon gear at high-end store FUEL in Mumbai yesterday.
Funky colours and feminine cuts defined most of the creations and in attendance were actress Shahzahn Padamsee and several well-known models, who gave us their take on the line and shared tips to look great even in the rains.
First up though, a few words from the designer herself:
What made you think of coming out with a monsoon collection?
Um, basically I came back after studying in Italy and I wanted to launch a collection here. And incidently, it happened to be monsoon season. So the only thing I thought of was what I would wear during the rains. I created a piece for myself and that's how the collection started out.
What I like to do is basically just mix fabrics, so that created a 3D effect over transparent material and that made things a lot more fun for the monsoons (smiles).
Do you think there is a demand for monsoonwear here in India?
I think so, yes...more in Mumbai than in other places across India. And of course, in foreign countries as well. But in India, I think Mumbai is the main market.
Where can one find your collection?
People can find my collections here at FUEL, at The Attic in Khar and I'm also stocking it at 'Bombay Electric' in Colaba. You can also see it on my website, sonyavajifdar.com
Can you provide us with a few tips to look fashionable in the rains?
Wear my raincoat! (laughs) The bubble ones are more convenient; because of the bubble skirt, the rain water doesn't even hit your feet or your shoes, it just goes straight off. And yeah, the more elaborate the better. You should take risks and wear it.
What about rainwear for men, are you working on that too?
Yes, I have created a line of menswear, but of course, no sequins and ribbons and stuff! But yes, I do have it on sale at The Attic in Khar.
What is Shahzahn Padamsee wearing today?
Shahzahn is wearing a black dress which I've created, underneath a rain jacket. The dress is black jersey, with black net on top of it. The rain jacket has a cotton shimmer lining underneath. Layers of sequinned sheets and PVC plastic are atop each other and they are gathered and bubbled on the sleeves.
One last question...what is the price range like?
It's Rs 4,000 onwards.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
'If you can make a fashion statement at a party, then why not walking in the rain?'
Here's what Shahzahn Padamsee had to say about Vajifdar's line and looking great in the monsoons:
What do you think of this collection?
Sonya is one of my best friends and whatever she gives me to wear feels amazing, it fits really well. I've worn a lot of her dresses, harem pants, skirts, rainwear -- she is, I think, the expert on fits, if I may say so. And she's gonna be doing really, really well. Today is a big day for her and with a launch like this it's a win-win situation..
Honestly, her work is very different -- she is doing stuff that other designers do too, but she's got that certain edge. She's got youth on her side, that is her biggest ace and there's a really fresh, young kind of approach to whatever she does. In this season, I think everbody is looking for a fashion statement. If you can make a fashion statement going to a party, then why not, you know, walking in the rain? (smiles)
What do you like best about this season?
Being a rain fashionista, with these raincoats!
I like to sit at home, but now I think after Sonya's creations everyone will love a chance to wear them, to step out and get wet.
How do you maintain your looks?
Gymming, definitely. Also, yoga is great. I've been doing Ashtanga Yoga for a while now and I start my day with the Surya Namaskar. It's just amazing to stretch your body and when you do it along with your workout it really keeps you in the best condition, when it comes to energy levels and stuff. Also, I think eating right is one of the main things to keep in mind.
Can you share some tips with readers on how to dress during the monsoons?
Makeup and hair don't really go well with the rains, so my advice would be to wear good clothes and just be natural. Wear some fashionable pieces and show off a bit.
'I think men should just stick to their black umbrellas!'
We caught up with model Sanea Shaikh at the launch too. Here's her take on things:
What do you think of the monsoon wear collection?
Well, knowing our rains in Mumbai, it's very difficult to travel. So I think with raincoats like this, it's going to be much easier. You get to travel, you get to look good and you get to be stylish. So I think with everything considered together, it's a good option (smiles).
Do the prices sit well with you?
Well, they're affordable. For college kids too -- I guess they're a good investment. It's nice to have an affordable, not really expensive raincoat that's stylish too.
Do you enjoy this season?
Yes, I love the rains -- when I'm sitting at home and not stuck in traffic or in the muck! (smiles)
But when I do have to travel, raincoats are the best accesories.
Which part of the world would you love to travel to during the rains?
Best place for the rains -- a holiday in Europe for sure. Right now Italy, Greece -- and yes, the South of Paris.
Can you share some tips with readers on how to look as great as you do in the monsoons?
This (makeup and hair) took five hours! (laughs)
If they're willing to go through five hours of this then yes, I'll tell them! Just joking...What you really need to do is keep your skin clear. No makeup, if you must use waterproof mascara, you don't want it running down your face when you're travelling. And tie your hair up, because with the humidity here frizz is a factor. Just keep it simple, natural and beautiful.
And to look fashionable, buy Sonya's raincoats. They are the best -- beautiful colours, beautiful designs and you tend to look stylish. Slightly expensive, but yes, it'll last for two to three years.
What are your thoughts on rainwear for men?
No, noo, nooo! I think men should just stick to their black umbrellas! Raincoats look sweeter and better on girls and ladies.
'I really feel that everbody should go for a makeover'
Dipti Gujral, model, also weighs in:
Do you like Sonya's line?
Well, I never met Sonya before, I met her today for the first time. I've seen her website though and whatever I saw there was very, very inspiring, really cool clothes. And they're not only for a particular group of girls or a certain age group, they're for everybody, which is good. It's not just the petite, narrow girls she caters to, these are dresses for women from all walks of life.
Have you bought anything yet?
No, not really. but I am gonna pick and choose and take the best one. I like this one (gestures to a coat), so maybe. (smiles).
What do you think of the price range?
I think it's reasonably decent. It's exclusive designer wear, it has to be of a certain mark and she's kept that standard very well. And it's not frightfully expensive where one goes, 'Oh my God, I can't touch it!' So it's pretty decent, yes.
What do you think of designer rain wear for men?
Of course! You know, after watching Sex And The City, I really feel that everbody should go for a makeover. I think men definitely need designer wear for the monsoons.
But you know what? I've realised one thing. I've got a lot of male friends who quietly do a lot of shopping without women knowing and they're quite up to date with the latest fashions. Metrosexual, as you call them.
Do you enjoy this season?
Um...if I say 'no' then? (laughs)
No, no, I love the rains as long as I'm sitting at home. It's the whole travel bit that kills you in Mumbai, which is like the traffic scene and all. But it's just beautiful when you're sitting at home with hot pakoras and hot chai.
The rains are ideal for lots and lots of fried junk food! A nice romantic movie and a cup of adrak wali chai would sort me out completely. I'm a hardcore movie junkie and I love watching them at home. Plus, nicely cooped up on a comfy couch and looking out the window at home does it for me.
You sound like quite a foodie...how do you keep so fit?
That's a dilemma, honestly speaking. I work out a lot, I was just telling (model) Scherezade here just now that I don't think I can get into this black dress, but I'm surprised I did. So I think I can have some more pakoras this season. And then I can work my brains out!
'One doesn't look at the prices once you like something!'
Do you like the collection?
I think Sonya's done a great job with rainwear for the monsoons, because normally people don't really like to venture out wearing raincoats. Even I don't wear raincoats during the rains, but this looks and feels just great.
What do u think of the prices?
I haven't really seen the prices yet, but I'd say whatever you like, you buy. One doesn't look at the prices once you like something!
Any advice on how to look good in this season?
Wear trendy, deep and bright colours. Stay cool and be comfortable.
Do you enjoy the rains?
I love the rains -- masti ka mauka hain, jo zyada nahin milta! And the rains in Mumbai are lovely!
'It's like a pair of jeans, it doesn't go out of fashion'
And finally, we have model Sherezade Shroff's quick take:
What do you think of the collection?
I think it's great and it's fun and with the kind of monsoons that we have in Mumbai we definitely need a rainwear collection. And Sonya is the first designer who's done that, so it's great.
Have you bought anything for yourself?
Yes, yes this is mine...I'm wearing my own personal raincoat today (smiles).
How much did u pay for it?
I don't wanna say...you can check the tags, ha ha!
Fair enough...what do u think of the prices?
I think it's a great buy. It's like a pair of jeans, it doesn't go out of fashion. You can wear it year after year and it's a great investment because it's one of a kind.
Do you enjoy the rains?
I love the rains, yes. Mumbai is the best place to be in this season, especially walking along Chowpatty. I just love walking in the rain, so this raincoat is just great for me. I used to walk with only an umbrella and now I'll be wearing my raincoat!