Chaitali Jhunjhunwala is a young Indian designer from Mumbai – she has just launched her first couture collection last August and we met up during my stay at the fantastic Taj Mahal Palace for a chat and to take stock of the past months.
Chaitali Jhunjhunwala是一位来自孟买的年轻设计师 – 去年八月，她刚刚发布了她的第一次订制系列。我在印度时，我们在美丽的泰姬陵见面，并回顾了她过去几个月的经历。
Jhunjhunwala was a science student, until at a certain point she realised she wanted something else – she started her adventure in fashion when she was very young with the support of her open-minded family for fun – and now, one year later, she has very clear ideas about where this is going.
Jhunjhunwala是一个理科生，直到某天，她意识到这并不是她想要的 – 于是在她很小的年纪，伴随她开明家人的支持，她开启了探索时尚之旅。一年后，也就是现在，她对未来的方向非常明确。
How did you start your fashion adventure?
It just started for fun, as a way to express myself. The first designer I have collaborated with was Sonaakshi Raaj, and she introduced me to this fantastic world. There are lot of things I have learned from her – understanding the industry without her would have been impossible. Moreover, we share the same vision: we both love Indian culture and at the same time we are attracted by Western lifestyle – she helped me visualise my taste. After six months in her studio, and a fantastic Bollywood experience, I felt confident enough to go solo.
开始我只是觉得好玩，这是种表达自我的方式。我合作的第一位设计师是Sonaakshi Raaj，是她把我带进这个梦幻般的世界。我从她身上学到了太多 – 没有她，我完全不可能了解这个行业。而且，我们拥有共同的愿景：我们都热爱印度文化，而且我们都被西方的生活方式所吸引 – 她帮助我提升我的品位。在她的工作室学习了六个月，并拥有了一次梦幻般的宝莱坞经历后，我足够自信可以单飞了。
What is so special about Bollywood?
You have to know that Indians are extremely emotional, and everything in Bollywood reflects that. Some actors are considered like gods and designers who work in this field need to be aware of this. The dresses need to be rich, fantastic, dreamy. I loved my experience as a assistant stylist in the Bollywood movie ‘heropanti’ – actresses had a fantastic body language and it was extremely inspiring to be working with them. In the future, I would love to work more with actors and stars and, in particular, I would like to style Yami Gautam because she is young and beautiful and she has a perfect body type and can carry my clothes very beautifully – she would be better than every model on earth.
你必须要知道印度人非常情绪化，这一点在宝莱坞的方方面面都体现了出来。有些演员就像神一样，所以在这个行业的设计师必须意识到这一点。礼服必须是丰富的，惊艳的，梦幻般的。我是宝莱坞电影“heropanti”的助理造型师，我爱死这份工作体验了 – 演员们都有丰富的肢体语言，跟她们合作是我的灵感之源。在未来，我希望能够跟更多的演员和明星们合作，我尤其想为Yami Gautam做造型，因为她年轻美丽，而且她完美的身材可以把我的衣服穿得非常美丽 – 她会比地球上的任何一个模特都更好。
Which is the main challenge you are facing right now, as a young independent designer?
Currently my mission is to make people understand who I am and what I do. I have no problems when it comes to design, or production, but it’s more challenging for me to convince new customers of what I’m worth. This is why I try to spend as much time as possible with them, to get close to them. At the very end, the reason why they decide to buy a designer piece is because they want something different and unique – I guess the relationship with the designer should be part of this experience.
现在我的任务是让人们了解我是谁和我做什么。我对设计或产品没有太大的问题，但说服顾客理解我的价值对我来说更有挑战性。这就是我为什么尽量花费更多的时间和她们在一起，增进了解。说到底，人们想买设计师衣服的原因，是因为她们想要些与众不同的，独特的东西 – 我猜想，与设计师的关系应该是这种独特经历的一部分。
Has Indian taste evolved in the last 10 years?
Taste has evolved deeply in the last years, reflecting the fact that Indian women play a different role in the society. Take my mother, for example: she is a housewife and her daughter, myself, is instead out in the city running her own company. You can imagine we can’t wear the same dresses! Young women look for comfortable, practical, soothing garments, away from the bling-bling last generation was in love with.
Do you have any significant experience abroad?
Unfortunately, or luckily, not yet. I had all the paperwork ready to go to London College of Fashion, then something came up and I couldn’t make it. I studied in Mumbai instead, and now here I am, with my own collection. My dream now is to go to Paris and have a fashion show there, to be exposed to the perfect international crowd – in this time of globalisation, my product is not for Indian women only.
不幸的是，或许也是幸运的，我还没有。我准备好了所有去伦敦时装学院的材料，但因为种种原因，我没有去成。取而代之的，我在孟买读了书，而现在，我在这里，拥有我自己的设计。我现在的梦想是去巴黎举办我自己的时装秀，在最棒的国际观众面前展示我的作品 – 在这个全球化的时代，我的作品不应该只为印度女人设计。
Please describe a traditional Indian saree.
A saree is an iconic piece that each and every Indian woman has in her wardrobe. It is basically a 6-yard piece of fabric which is decorated with prints and embroideries and then draped over a skirt along with a crop top. It’s an extremely beautiful piece, and people nowadays only wear it for social gatherings, as it’s extremely difficult to wear. This is why I’ve designed a more contemporary version of it, with zips – I believe it’s a way to actualise it.
纱丽是每个印度女人衣橱里的标志性服饰。它基本上是条6码的布料上面装饰着印花和刺绣，缠绕并搭配短上衣和裙子。它非常美丽，现在人们只在社交聚会上才会穿，因为它真的很不容易穿。这就是为什么我设计了纱丽更现代的版本，有拉链 – 我相信这是个更容易实现它的方法。
Indian young women go crazy when it’s about their wedding day, and preparation lasts years. What about their dress?
At their wedding, brides wear a flairy skirt (ghagra) along with blouse and 3-4 meters of dupatta (a kind of stole ). Wedding dresses are often decorated with very beautiful and intricate embroideries realised using materials like zardozi, kasab, glass beads, precious and semi-precious stones. The colours used are bright and vibrant ones, like red, green, pink and purple. But in general people tend to focus on the bride and forget the groom, and this is a pity! In India, grooms wear a fantastic sherwani, a knee-length jacket, along with a churidar pant. The jacket is decorated with lot of embroideries, and have same colour combination like the ghagra of the bride.
While looking at Chanel and Elie Saab, Jhunjhunwala is still a very proud Indian woman and part of the new generation of designers in love with Western lifestyle and faithful to their roots, and I really appreciate her efforts to make the saree a dress everyone could wear, anytime.
看着Chanel和Elie Saab, Jhunjhunwala仍然是一位非常自豪的印度新女性，而且是新时代设计师的一部分，她们热爱西方的生活方式，也忠实于自己的文化，我真的非常感谢她的努力，使每个人都能随时随地地穿戴纱丽。
Meeting Jhunjhunwala was a very interesting experience and I hope to hear more about this young and ambitious lady! You stay tuned for more stories from #incredibleindia!
Chaitali Jhunjhunwala, giovane designer indiana, ha reinventato il saree tradizionale, semplificandolo e aggiungendo delle zip che lo rendono indomabile in tutte le occasioni. Jhunjhunwala e’ ambiziosa, sogna di sfilare a Parigi, e di convincere le sue clienti del suo talento. Avere le idee chiare e’ già un buon punto di partenza. E dei vestiti meravigliosi sicuramente aiutano.
For the chat with Chaitali Jhunjhunwala at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel I was delighted to wear:
Black dress 黑色裙子: Max & Co.
Black sandals 黑色凉拖: Fausto Santini
Silver necklace 银色项链: Nicotra di San Giacomo
Red bag 红色包: Fendi
Sunglasses 太阳镜: Celine
iPhone cover iPhone手机套: Moschino
Nail colors 甲油: OPI a roll in the hague
Notebook 记事本: Moleskine
Pen 笔: Svarowski
The pictures at the Taj Mahal Palace were taken with my white Sony NEX-5T.
For all the other pictures, special thanks to Chaitali Jhunjhunwala.
Chinese translation by Vivian Zhou.