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His is a classic case of entrepreneurship over design. Ravi Bajaj,aurguably one of the better menswear designers in this country,is rather low on the brand recall count. Reason?

Written by PriyankaPereira |
January 28, 2009 2:23:17 am

21 years later,Ravi Bajaj says his quest for the perfect jacket continues

His is a classic case of entrepreneurship over design. Ravi Bajaj,aurguably one of the better menswear designers in this country,is rather low on the brand recall count. Reason? He lets his work speak and believes he is above the chaos the fashion world offers and thrives on. A stickler for neatness,he just doesn’t fit in. A pure epicure where the good life is concerned,Bollywood-aided publicity and drunken page-three parties is where you’ll never find him.

And yet,he has more than survived 21 years in the profession. As the Delhi based gent,most loved for his pinstripe suits on men and chic cocktail saris on women,walks in in faded jeans and a black tee for our appointment at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai,he’s almost apologetic for dressing so ‘regular’. “This is my travel gear; I’m driving down to Daman today,” he offers,ordering for an espresso.

Coffee is his greatest love; it’s made him open a rooftop café at Delhi’s Emporio Mall. Sybarite Bajaj travels the world to try out different cuisines and plans to open a wine bar next. “Fashion always extends to lifestyle. Good friends and fine wine make me happy,” he says,adding his pal and contemporary Suneet Varma and he have been friends since school.

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“Later,we also studied design together in London and started off doing shows together. I still talk to him every single day,” he smiles.

Two decades in fashion is literally a lifetime for many in the young fraternity. “Yes. I have matured as a designer,my design process has changed and techniques have become sophisticated. But my quest for the perfect jacket still continues,” he says modestly,as his cuts are comparable to those Italian geniuses whose names we swear by.

Bajaj launched his eponymous label – a menswear collection in 1987. But for a designer who stayed away from wedding ensembles for so many years,has in his last collection designed the poncho sari,he also now has A-line lehengas,bandhgalas,sherwanis and kurtas. “Indian wear is the biggest money spinner today. And you will survive here only if you start designing Indian clothes. Moreover,everybody from Giorgio Armani to Brioni is making suits. I had to innovate,” he says also planning to start his bespoke service,where customers can choose everything from the fabric to the cut to even the buttons they want.

One of the first designers to offer couture to the Indian market,when it was merely a fledgling concern here,clearly stayed out of India’s first couture week in Mumbai last year. “I wasn’t invited,” he says grudgingly,adding,“I would love to be a part of it this year,provided they invite me.”

For Bajaj,dressing up Bollywood isn’t an option either. “I don’t know anyone in films and I don’t believe in having Bollywood stars as showstoppers. For a designer who has showcased 42 collections,why would I want Neha Dhupia walk the ramp for me?” he asks as he sips on some more coffee. “She will have to pay me for doing that.”

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