As your label expands to more countries, will you incorporate elements from their way of dressing into your brand?
We are an American designer brand with sensitivities to various regions. For instance, India has inspired me to use more embroidery in my clothes, which are sold worldwide.
What is your opinion on ‘It’ bags and shoes. Does one need to be completely up-to-date on seasonal fashion trends to be stylish?
That is fashion; It’s for the moment. Style is enduring; it doesn’t take money to have it. In all fashion collections, there are the trend-setting items and there also are the enduring classics. Of course, it would be nice if people bought all the trends all the time, but mostly, you need one, not five new items.
At a recent meeting with Commerce and Industry minister Kamal Nath, you offered to help Indian designers...
There’s a lot of design talent in India that’s not exposed to the world. My partner Mohan Murjani is involved with the Fashion Design Council of India and wanted to help designers. He asked if I would be on the advisory committee. I’m a consultant advisor who will try and show the way to new talent. The project should take off within a year.
What do you see as the future of fashion?
European design houses will continue to set trends and luxury brands will grow. I see some designers who will actually appeal to real people and there will also be a lot of mass fashion houses which are here to stay.
What plans do you have for your brand in India?
We want to set up 50 stores in the next 10 years.
What changes do you see?
I see more fashion than I did even a year and a half ago. We have a tie-up with Titan and we’re selling fashion watches by the thousands. Young Indian people have the same casual cool as those in Paris, New York or Hong Kong.
Could you give working women some tips on how to move away from traditional work attire?
I like women in dresses which are up to or above the knee. With this, wear either high heels with pointed toes, or ballet flats. Try wearing a skirt with a tailored blouse, or trousers with a tailored blouse with French cuffs. Wear jeans with high heels and an elegant top. It’s also okay to go out with your hair not perfect, it’s okay to wear just earrings or a necklace and not both.
What about men?
Wear a bright silk pocket square in your jacket or suit. It doesn’t necessarily have to match with anything you’re wearing. Try a patterned shirt with a white collar. Wear footwear that’s different than the regular tie-ups—try loafers and a matching belt. Team jeans with a sports coat. Men should remember that if you try too hard you look ridiculous. Make sure you have great quality shirts, ties and shoes.