Neeta Lulla is an Indian celebrity costume designer & fashion stylist. Who has worked on over 300 films. The only designer who won four national awards. Seventeen & cosmopolitan magazine changed a connoisseur tomboy into a fashionista for Bollywood. She enrolled to study a Diploma in Pattern making & Garment manufacturing in SNDT PV polytechnic to pursue her passion for fashion. She turned her hobby into a career. There she met her Guru Hemant Trivedi who molded her to achieve this milestone. He knew the capabilities of young Neeta to shine bright. She learned the art of makeup, fashion choreography & fashion styling. She has won many hats to mark position in the Indian fashion & film industry. Fashion Startup Label Interview
Nishka Lulla daughter of Neeta Lulla has followed her mother’s footprint also graduated from Mumbai’s SNDT University. Neeta was a faculty in SNDT PV Polytechnic AMD department her art of teaching Fashion Coordination is still followed by the current faculties with great pride. This has fueled many budding designers to understand fashion and styling nuances. 8 textures using watercolor
A webinar with Neeta Lulla
1. Why did you want to join the fashion course back in 1983?
N – I never liked studying. I got married at a very young age. So, my in-laws and husband wanted me to pursue something as a hobby like cooking or sewing. I chose to study fashion. It was an accident an unplanned career.
2. What were your favorite subjects in college?
N – Fashion coordination was my favorite subject back in college day. We were petrifying when Hemant sir came into class. It was very intimidating because we have to dress properly groom well for the class. It was fun to attend the class it was thematic dressing, coordinating, makeup many more stuff. It was all about creating a look and style statement of your own look. We were observing and learning about the style, figure types, do’s & dont’s. Another subject I never liked studying but I wish I could study then “The history of costumes”. I was not a good illustrator then but now I can proudly say Yes, I can draw well. Pattern making is a very important subject one should focus on It helped me in my styling career to understanding fit, cuts, alteration of the garment.
3. How Styling as a subject helps a student?
N – Accessing magazines on your own. experimenting with wardrobe things you have already that helps you learn how to put things look good on you. Innovating with styles creating a look is essential for fashion students. It forces them to create something using their own pattern making skills to come up with the thematic look in the class.
4. What quality a fashion student must have?
N – There are lots of students who have it in them to come out and shine in the world but they are shy or come from a family background which is slightly conservative. When I was a faculty I try to boost student confidence by trying to make up on them & styling hair differently. They start evolving talking about the style it helps them to step out from the shell. Building a personality is very important. Be confident about who you are that’s it.
5. How the curriculum of the course helped you in your career?
N – There is a lot of things that are formatted in the short span. We used to get exhausted there is so much to do in less time. Submissions deadline. what it taught us was multi-tasking & time management. The aspect of organizing. It helps us to program our mind for future challenges. It helped me to understand the prioritization of the work to meet the deadline.
“Time is a rubber band stretch it to its maximum limit”
6. Why you chose SNDT for Nishka’s Fashion design course? you had an option to send her abroad.
N – When I was a faculty she used to come with me often She has seen the pattern of syllabus how fun it was. Also, a fact is I never inclusive in terms of her decision I always supported her choice. I thought SNDT would be a great background for her education in fashion.
7. How did you get into Bollywood through designing?
N – Well, I got lucky. One of my family members was working in a film. They helped me to get on board styling the look. That time I was working with Jeanne Naoroji as a fashion choreographer. I never thought that one film will make my career in styling. It was a wakeup call for me.
8. How important is research in film costume designing?
N – To create a character apart from understanding the script. What director wants always focuses on where you are picking it up. The history of costume how it born how can you make different combination through the research, fit you in the costume. To be able to create a believable character is a challenge. Therefore, observe people & learn body types. Which Indian actress body shape you have?
9. How fashion has evolved according to you?
N – I would like to say it in one sentence fashion is flexible Therefore, styling goes on the same cycle except that your interpretation changes. Because you are not innovating the technique out there but the language that bringing it out. How you speak your language that makes a difference.
10. What career advice you would like to give to the budding designers?
N – Being professional in one particular thing is given. There should be digitization in everything. It’s a future now. Sustainability is going to stay longer to study the different techniques of upcycling. Learning digital illustrations is a must for aspiring designers. Only books cannot teach you but experiences, library, interacting people & observing people that take you a long way. Read people to learn new things. Fashion is not just clothing it’s a business, not every designer is a good businessman. It’s an ever-evolving process evolve with time to keep updated with the career of fashion. 10 questions with illustrator
Special thanks to the SNDT PV Polytechnic AMD department for arranging a very informative webinar with Celebrity Costume designer & stylist Neeta Lulla.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. All credits to PV Polytechnic AMD Department.