Think Indian couture and it seems inevitable to think of feather boas, sequence, and intricate embroidery—signature to designer duo, Falguni and Shane Peacock. Their 19-year journey in the world of Indian couture, which began with their debut at the India Fashion Week in 2004, has been marked by incredible feats—from incorporating path-breaking technology in their designs to dressing and styling Kim Kardashian. Amidst the charming chaos of prepping for the Cannes Film Festival, the duo talked to us about their latest collection, which is inspired by Kashmir; the truth about inclusivity in fashion; working with each other; and their creative processes.
Harper’s Bazaar: Take us through your process for your latest collection—from conception to execution.
Falguni and Shane Peacock: Our latest collection is inspired by the natural beauty of Kashmir and their continual theme of love. The campaign seeks to capture the essence of the serene paradise through a romantic and dreamy lens. We’ve tried to work with an array of fabrics, intricate embroidery, and motifs that are integral to the region. The colour palette includes Pantone colours Kashmir Green and Kashmir Blue that encapsulates the tones of the region. It has a regal and sophisticated quality that adds a touch of luxury to the design of the ensemble.
HB: Your collections have often been inspired by various places—Udaipur, Agra, and now Kashmir. What significance does travel hold for the two of you?
FSP: Travel holds immense significance and serves as a fountain of inspiration for our collections. Exploring India or even international destinations, allows us to immerse ourselves in diverse cultures, traditions, and architectural marvels. By journeying to places like Udaipur, Agra, and now Kashmir, we have had the opportunity to delve into the rich heritage, artistic aesthetics, and breath-taking landscapes. The vibrant colours, intricate craftsmanship, and historical monuments and palaces in these places serve as catalysts for our design process. There is something special about observing local customs and interacting with artisans to get a deeper understanding of the craftsmanship indigenous to the region. The fusion of influences from various destinations enables us to translate the beauty and essence of those places into wearable works of art.
HB: In an interview, you both mentioned how design and technology are important aspects of the brand. Could you elaborate that for us?
FSP: Our initial foray into advanced technology was when we had the opportunity to dress Kim Kardashian for the world's first 3D cover. Intrigued by IBM's groundbreaking artificial intelligence programme, IBM Watson, we decided to embark on an experimental journey and collaborate with them for one of our three-piece collections. In 2016, IBM Watson conducted an analysis of approximately 50,000 Bollywood celebrity images sourced from various social media platforms, in addition to 3,000 fashion-related images extracted from Bollywood movie posters spanning four decades: the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s. We were in awe after witnessing the astonishing power of artificial intelligence and technology. Since then, we have been driven to fuse technology and design, striving to create avant-garde and innovative creations that push the conventional boundaries.
HB: Take us through the ups and downs of working in tandem with each other?
FSP: Despite being a duo, both of us possess distinct design sensibilities. We frequently encounter differences of opinion; however, when we think about it from the brand's standpoint, we tend to find a common ground. This dynamic makes our collaborative work interesting and enjoyable, as we can maintain our individual perspectives while ultimately reaching a unanimous conclusion, regardless of what the circumstances are.
HB: What would you want the wearer to experience as they put on these outfits?
FSP: Our aspiration is for the wearer to experience a profound sense of beauty and cherish every moment while adorned in our haute couture creations. Our aim is for the wearer to feel their fearless selves and exude confidence on their journey.
HB: The conversation around inclusivity is increasingly popular. What is inclusivity in fashion according to you and what is the way ahead?
FSP: Inclusivity has always been a core value we uphold. Fashion should be a celebration of diverse backgrounds, various shapes, sizes, and gender. We work with an aim to recognising individuality and celebrating their uniqueness. Inclusivity has been an inherent aspect of our brand's identity from the beginning, so there’s no room for separate discussions or token gestures towards inclusivity.
HB: Where is Indian fashion headed today?
FSP: The current phase of Indian fashion can be considered as one of the most exciting and dynamic in history. The world has become a hub of constant innovation and interesting developments, garnering attention from people across the globe. With these boundaries becoming increasingly blurred, we’re in for a truly globalised era of fashion. Every day, as we browse the internet, we stumble upon new AI applications and features that enhance our lives in many ways. It is quite interesting to observe how AI will shape the fashion industry in the years to come. We look forward to embracing artificial intelligence and machine learning into our industry.
HB: What is your approach in encouraging Indian craftsmanship and artisanal work? How important is it for you?
FSP: As designers, we hold a deep appreciation for Indian craftsmanship and artisanal work. We actively collaborate with skilled craftsmen and artisans from various regions of India, working closely with them to develop unique handcrafted elements for our collections. By blending traditional techniques with contemporary silhouettes and modern aesthetics, we aim to make Indian artisanal work relevant and give it a global appeal.
HB: What's next for you?
FSP: We will be showcasing at the New York Fashion Week this year and we’re really excited to make our comeback! Besides fashion, we are looking forward to explore beauty and home décor, and are actively working towards these initiatives. We are directing our efforts towards the expansion of our home decor line, which was initiated in 2020. Furthermore, we are eager to enter the beauty industry with the introduction of fragrances. We also have an assortment of accessories, bags, and sunglasses in development that we are thrilled to unveil. These products will soon be accessible worldwide.