Geisha Designs: Traditional Silhouettes Meet Old World Romance

Paras and Shalini, the gifted pair behind Geisha Designs, share insights into the label’s exquisite beauty.

By Nichola Marie

As a significant presence on the Indian fashion firmament, what is your reading of the current fashion scenario in India?  
Paras: The current fashion scenario in India is vibrant and dynamic, reflecting a blend of traditional craftsmanship with modern aesthetics. Indian designers are increasingly gaining global recognition for their innovative designs and sustainable practices.

There is a growing appreciation for handcrafted textiles, with designers focusing on reviving traditional techniques and promoting artisanal skills. Sustainable and ethical fashion is also on the rise, with a greater emphasis on eco-friendly materials and practices.

In terms of trends, there is a focus on versatile pieces that can be styled in multiple ways. Indian designers are also experimenting with bold colours, unconventional silhouettes, and mixing traditional elements with contemporary designs.

The label name Geisha Designs is intriguing and exotic…
Shalini: Flowers, art, heritage, mystique, life and nature’s pride create and inspire the romantic world of Geisha Designs. We recreate traditional silhouettes with a distinctive old-world romantic look. Delicate embroidery, striking textures, and vibrant motifs coupled with meticulous precision in detail make the products beautiful inside out. 

Our brands include…

Geisha Designs by Paras and Shalini: Occasion/ evening wear; bespoke service.

Geisha Designs Resort: Ready-to-wear separates; holiday collection (for international markets).

• Geisha Couture: Gowns; kaftans for the Middle-East and bridal wear for global clients.

• Geisha Rose: Design service – gifting/ packing/ décor solutions/ bespoke floral arrangements.

After showcasing collections in New York and Paris Fashion Week, you presented ‘The Elemental Symphony’ at the Lakme Fashion Week. Do tell us more about it.
Paras: Our collection ‘The Elemental Symphony’, presented at the recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week, is a conceptual one, drawing inspiration from the fundamental elements of nature — earth, fire, water, air, and the cosmos. The collection is a vibrant tapestry of colours, textures and silhouettes that celebrate the beauty of individuality and self-expression.

The collection explores the profound connection between humans and nature, highlighting how the elements shape our identities and influence our emotions. 

How did the journey start for you as designers separately and together with Geisha Designs?

Shalini: Paras and I are batchmates and friends from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi (1995-98). After graduation, we both set out for varying experiences but our passion for technically playing with design brought us together and we started a small atelier in 2001 with just two tailors. The journey has been a lot of learning and we have been able to multitask. It also allows us the freedom/ flexibility to work with our strengths and complement each other’s weaknesses. 

Our travels, art, books, technology, and music have all led to diverse experiences and each season we attack a collection and its showcase as if it were our first! 

What are some of the significant achievements of Geisha Designs that you are proud of?                          
Paras: We have been showcasing consistently in Paris (at tradeshows and showrooms) now for over 15 years. Our recent showcases in New York and Moscow show a lot of promise in international markets. 

The last few years have shown that partnerships and collaborations lend a purpose to the efforts. For our present showcase, we collaborated with Lakme Salon, for ‘The Elemental Symphony’. We have in the recent past also collaborated with Svami, Ether, Metro shoes, Soni Sapphire, Stanger & Sons. These partnerships have helped us explore new art forms, creating immersive and unique experiences for the audience. We have also collaborated with music bands, content creators and individuals to explore new approaches of telling a story. 

Did you face any challenges in the label’s establishment and how did you overcome them?

Paras: One of the initial hurdles we faced was gaining access to established retail networks (as there was no internet when we started out). Another challenge we faced was finding the right balance between creativity and commercial viability. As designers, we were passionate about pushing the boundaries of design, but we also had to ensure that our creations resonated with our target audience. Like any business, we also faced logistical challenges, such as production and supply chain management. We tackled these challenges by building strong relationships with our suppliers/ vendors, ensuring quality control, and streamlining our production processes.

Any goals, short- and long-term, that you are looking forward to achieving?

Paras: In the short-term, we aim to strengthen our existing relationships with our customers and partners, and work on ways to service them better.  

Long-term, we aspire to establish a larger product category and also add sustainable design services to plug in closer to our customer’s needs. 

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