There is a Zen-like energy that designer Vineet Bahl exudes. When we meet him at his maiden store in Delhi’s Emporio Mall — launched in October last year — his oddly comforting monotone and relaxed body language belie the fact that he creates six collections a year, showcases his label across the world and is prepping for an impending Paris trip the very next day.
The designer, who set up his western wear brand in 2007, decided to take a plunge into the traditional wear market nearly two years ago with the launch of Vineet Bahl Premier. Incidentally, Bahl is also the only Indian designer who sells on net-a-porter, one of the most sought-after online retail portals. “I decided that when I do open a store in my home country, it would only sell Indian wear. Let’s face it, the designer western wear market is really small here,” he says. Such is his resolve that he refuses to bring his western wear line to India at all, not even in the distant future. “I do not want to confuse my buyers here,” he adds.
Vineet Bahl Premier takes off from his love for all things vintage and builds on contemporary foundations. “While growing up, I saw what the women in the family wore, and while creating western wear I always felt like doing an Indian line too. My grandmother in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, used to collect handkerchiefs and random cloth cut-outs. I have learnt a lot from that treasure and try and imbibe it in my Indian creations,” he says, pointing to a sari with an embroidered patch of thread weaves on it, inspired by one of the pieces from his grandmother’s collection of rumaals.
There are kurtis made of old, floral fabrics; salwar-kameez sets with a knee-length skirt as a part of the ensemble; and funky blouses with moti-dhaga-jaal embroidery on them.
Interestingly, while the creations at the store have a heavy look and feel about them due to the embellishments, they’re rather practical to wear. “While creating a silk ensemble with embroidery and embellishments on it, I realised it was too heavy. That’s when I decided to weave my own fabric and developed tussar-georgette. The garment has the luxurious feel of tussar silk but it falls easily like georgette,” he explains. The clothes at the store are priced at Rs 15,000 onwards. In Paris now for a show, Bahl will be participating in the Autumn-Winter 2014 edition of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week to be held in Delhi in March this year.