The sisters who started their label in 2002, a time when gowns and cocktail dresses were only made by foreign brands, were confident about their design philosophy in spite of criticism. “We started it as something which was missing in the Indian market. There were question marks in the beginning... a lot of people wondered if it was going to work out,” says Gauri, adding, “At that point we were a little taken aback, because Nainika and I felt confident and we felt we could wear our designed outfits to red carpet and wedding parties. And, as a trend, it picked up really fast. Before we knew it, our gowns were on the red carpet and brides were wearing it for cocktails; it was all over the Indian market.”
Seventeen years later, the brand is not only synonymous with red carpet wear, but also a favourite for magazine shoots. Celebrities are often seen sporting Gauri and Nainika outfits, which Gauri says is a boost to their business. “If a celebrity wears our clothes, the next day we have so many requests online and on Instagram. It definitely takes your brand a long way,” the designer says.
For an industry that will be worth $102 billion by 2020, according to a recent report by Zero Friction Future, handling the business is important too. But Gauri and Nainika say they prefer designing dresses instead of balancing the books.
“I think we both are creative people and business kind of happens,” says the designer.
Describing their collection for the LFW this year, Gauri says, “Lakme’s beauty philosophy for the season is ‘Free your Lips’. And I think of a woman who’s free, independent and strong; that is the kind of woman Nainika and I are also representing this time. It’s a fiercely strong woman who is free and is light and fun, so the clothes have an element of fun in them too.”
Actor Kareena Kapoor is the showstopper for their event.