March 16, 2019 Asmita Aggarwal

Mind Gym

 Soul surfer Namrata Joshipura lights up the ramp with her shine and offers youthful classics that will withstand the time and tide

By Asmita Aggarwal

In the skyline, parks, flyovers, nightlife to the streets, each element of New York, has found an interesting representation in Namrata Joshipura’s catwalk renditions. The city and its character have become ingrained in the designer’s DNA, maybe because she first moved there with her chartered accountant husband, and hedge fund manager, Vivek, and started her foray into fashion, or just the gilt-edged life was so mesmerising that it is tough to shed, even after 20 years. Vivek now manages her accessories like NamJosh, which he is independently handling along with the business development and finance of the entire brand.

For two decades, Namrata had had a rather long love affair with embellishments, all kinds, shapes and sizes, quite different from her batchmate and contemporary at NIFT (Delhi) Rajesh Pratap Singh. Maybe a bit tired of the ubiquitous tag ‘fashion designer’, few know that Namrata first started working with Suneet Varma. She also did costumes for a film Dance of the Wind, by an NID educated filmmaker. “New York and I have had a rather interesting relationship. I run marathons and my first world major was in New York; my daughter now 14, was born there, I still go back and forth there; frankly there are so many connections that it is almost developed into a bond,” she adds.

New York’s energy stayed with Namrata that’s why jumpsuits have become her best selling item and brocade, her new found obsession, even though it is a bit too traditional to fit into her scheme of high-voltage things. “I like the veracity of both ikats and brocades, one is floral and the other geometrical,” she explains.

A feeling, moment or observation becomes the ignition point for Namrata, not art or architecture and the saying “One eye feels, another one sees,” by Paul Klee kind of fits perfectly in her aesthetic. “The genesis of a line can be anything from sequins, matte, shine, weaves to flowers. It has to be something that inwardly made an impact on me,” she explains.

That’s why, this season, the collection is an amalgamation of calm, yet it remains fashion-forward, with stripes and glitter, in what you could call evening wear ensembles, which are guaranteed to make a woman feel fabulous. Even though the world may be moving towards a new era of minimalism, a Namrata customer loves her shine. “After all Valentino made Isha Ambani’s lehenga. There are enough people embracing ornamentation,” she smiles.

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In a world that abandons and picks up trends according to what sells, Namrata has stayed true to her brand’s DNA. Subdued bling, surface treatments and bodysuit, and being able to wear an outfit you bought ten years ago is what has kept the otherwise reticent designer relevant in modern times.

In tune with what young women desire, and being an avid sportsperson, Namrata is looking for effective collaborations. From Adidas where she restyled their Stan Smiths, she is looking at offering a line of active wear, something she understands and somewhere she can put in her design prowess to good use.

Glamour whether it was Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe to Jackie Kennedy has always found supporters in history and even now, Namrata says it is this need to look beautiful is what gave rise to today’s airport looks. “People are not going to stop looking beautiful and if my silk georgettes, crepes and chiffons can add to the magic, why not?” she explains.

The LMIFW’19 line has a youthful vibe, but the future for Namrata will be taking a deeper dive into textiles. She did flirt a few years ago with brocade, designing an envy-worthy jumpsuit. “I enjoyed working with brocade, now I need to do more experiments within this genre. Everyone is talking about sustainability, I think more than using fabrics which are organic you should also learn to mix and match your old classics and give them a new feel, that will be a true contribution to a better future,” she concludes.

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