Meet the designer behind Sobhita Dhulipala's dreamy saris and grand wedding outfits on Amazon Prime's Made in Heaven
FOR Poornamrita Singh, it’s not about designing for an individual celebrity that gives her the ultimate rush. It is investing in the character’s style, creating an identity and watching it come alive on the screen, that really gets her going. While the 39-year-old costume designer has designed for movies like Gully Boy, Dil Dhadakne Do, Baar Baar Dekho and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, it was her work in Amazon Prime’s Made in Heaven, directed by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti, that made news recently. The series takes you to the palatial houses of New Delhi, as well as the gullies of old Delhi as the two come together to highlight conflict, sex, families and the business of marriage.
“Zoya told me to keep it stylish, but also not to lose the essence of the story,” says Poornamrita, when asked about the initial brief that was given to her. “I didn’t want my costumes to overpower everything else. It had to blend into the story.” Born and brought up in Agra, and having studied in New Delhi, she says that a lot of her aesthetics were inspired by her family and friends. “I would credit my family to most of what I’ve designed for the series. Of course, I have done my research as well — poring through hundreds of photos of families to see how they dress,” says the designer, who has no formal training in fashion and started from scratch all the way from her first film, Honeymoon Travels.
To prep for Made in Heaven, she made moodboards for all the characters in the film, gave colour palettes for different weddings and made sure she was organised on paper before she actually started sourcing and collaborating with different designers, labels and boutiques in Mumbai and Delhi. She states that while most of the casual wear for Sobhita and Kalki Koechlin were sourced from labels like Nachiket Barve and Pero, the wedding ensembles were done in-house while rallying between two cities. “Clothes were a very central theme for this show,” says the Mumbai-based designer, who is working for a web series for the first time. “I got to design for all kinds of people in this series — from a Bengali couple, Sikh family, to a politician’s family, Rajasthani royalty and a bride who wanted her own over-the-top music video.”
What immediately became the topic of the hour was the lead character Sobhita’s gorgeous saris — from her edgy monochrome sari from 431-88 to her baby blue linen sari from Galang Gaaban from Bhubaneswar, Sobhita carried off every look with a elegance. “She was dressed that way for a reason. She enters into this new world and new society, where she feels the need to be accepted. And so, she would be a more brand-conscious person, and above all, willing to completely change the idea about her,” explains the designer, whose inspiration has always been costume designer Milena Canonero, four-time Academy Award Winner for movies like The Grand Budapest Hotel and Marie Antoinette. “I even got a chance to work with her in Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited. She is the goddess for
costume designing, and an ace at detailing!”