Think of Madhuri Dixit Nene’s swirling lehengas in Devdas (2002) or Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s in Jodhaa Akbar (2008), and you’ll notice how some costumes live on as visuals in the minds of a collective, and stand true to the test of time. Grandeur might be the common thread between these two examples, but it is the research and detail involved in their making that make them memorable and iconic. Clothes may not make the actor, but they certainly create the character. To delve further into art of costume making, the Italian Embassy Cultural Centre in Mumbai, Avid Learning and VogueIndia are getting together to host ‘Cine Couture: Costuming for the Camera’ this evening in Mumbai.
On the panel are veteran designer and National Award winner Neeta Lulla, Vogue India editor-in-chief Priya Tanna, and award-winning Italian costume designer, Daniela Ciancio. Lulla, who is currently working on upcoming features Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi (2018) and Panipat (2019), explained the nature of her role as a costume designer. “A designer’s work exists to actualise the screenplay, define the people and the places, [and create] a marriage of concept and imagery. That’s why costume designers are called the language of film design.” Lulla further went on to describe the nature of her job. “The substance of costume design isn’t just the designing of original garments, but creating multiple masterpieces from scratch to compliment the sensibilities of not just one person, but a cast and crew of over 5,000 people. We support the narrative by creating authentic characters, and provide balance within the frame by using colour, texture and silhouette to paint each frame of the film,” she explained.