Set designer Mahesh Sharma gears up to create the right rhythm for Ashish Soni’s grand finale
When set designer Mahesh Sharma graduated from NIFT (Delhi) in 2001 he had to clue he was going to be the executor of dreams for celebrated style gurus. A fashion communication student, Mahesh started his career with corporate exhibitions. But soon realized that his inner calling was set designing, something he stumbled upon.
For the upcoming WIFW SS 2014, Mahesh is busy preparing a grand set for Ashish Soni, a veteran for the last day and hectic preparations are on to make it a memorable show. “Ashish is a pleasure to work with, he gave me full freedom to do what I deem fit, after briefing me about his collection. He is organized and creative, he knows what he wants,” he says.
Set designing is an art form, as it involves creating a mood, the story that the designer hopes to unravel with his show. “Most designers I have worked with for ten years tell me the look they want and I begin work on it, 15 days before the show,” says Mahesh. And each one has a signature style which over the years Mahesh has understood and adapted. “Sabyasachi Mukerjee is my fave, he is a master of his craft. If you look at his sets, besides being grand they are like a vintage photo frame; replete with mirrors, artifacts, clocks—-each piece exudes a definitive charm,” he explains.
Mahesh, this time, will also be doing the sets of an Australian fashion guru who is showcasing his line at WIFW. “I must admit Couture Week shows are a lot more exciting as they are luxurious, budgets are higher and the designer gives his valuable inputs. As a set designer my primary role is to also make sure that the set complements the garments,” he says.
Besides being luxurious, Mahesh works on the look and feel of the set too, and has in the past added newness by using innovative textures, canvas printing, rice paper, laser cutting and hand painting by involving artists. “We closely work with the lighting managers so that the set looks fabulous. We make everything in the factory and then on the day of the show assemble it an hour before the show,” he explains.
The WIFW ramp is 60 feet by eight feet and the backdrop is 60 feet by 16 feet, and what Mahesh ensures when things are in place is the safety of the models, and secondly there must be a synergy between the lighting, set and ambience. “I like to do open sets, and I admire designers who have a vision like Manish Arora. For me, the most memorable show was when he presented his ‘Circus’ collection; the live music, clothes, his quirky theme and forward thinking made the show spectacular,” he concludes.