To show you our world, and the girls who rule it, shape it, color it and breathe life into it, I will walk you through the month of February 2019 at Papa Don’t Preach.
It was the coolest winter that it could possibly be in Bombay, while the breeze blew cool outside – inside the two-story Papa Don’t Preach studio it was anything but cool, it was MAYHEM. It is what I like to call the madness that we all collectively keep trying to invent a method to. In retrospect, we like to call it the method to our madness (sounds really cool I know).
As usual, I was going ahead of myself – cutting back to February 2019 – we had just produced, shot and released our ICONS 2019 collection, while the wedding season was in full swing.
While half the team was working overtime and nights completing bridal orders, the other half was working on ICONS, the third half (yup, still poor at math especially fractions ) was working on sourcing, ideating, coordinating with talent (models/makeup/photographers/art directors/stylists, etc) to put together one of our most ambitious collections yet- RUN FRENZY, RUN – it had to have garments that were otherworldly but Indian, bags that were quirk-infested, fun belts and shoes that were made out of only 100% vegan materials, headgears and jewelry, all with the signature Papa Don’t Preach stamp on it!
If that wasn’t enough, we wanted to shoot in the whitest of white, Rann of Kutch desert, there had to be sets, props, parachutes and the best team working on it (and I promise you, coordinating with and flying a team of 15 super busy people to Rann of Kutch for 4 days is NO SWEET DEAL)
While this went on, the fourth half of the team (you see the trend here) was meeting with Pernia’s Pop Up Shop to do an ART x FASHION instillation- because hey! Papa Don’t Preach doesn’t simply do a “promo” we do it BIG or we GO home!
Coming to the most important part of this month –
My Queens :
Krutika Amrania (Senior Designer)
Shreya Saboo (COO)
Tanu Jain (Shoe Designer)
Divya Jain (Chief of Sales)
Sanya Mehta (Head of Business Development)
Shaina Khatri (PR officer)
Alisha Mehta (Graphic designer)
Riya Sheth (Sales)
And an enthusiastic bunch of interns I got lucky with.
So that’s eight, plus the Karigars, Master Jis and Embroiderers ofc. But eight, split into four very ambitious halves (I’m sticking to this fractioning system) yes, only eight! but EIGHT total and absolute badass QUEENS!
With a clean 20 days left till the shoot day and no collection in hand, I, armed with my epic 8, set out to find a method to our madness!
Apart from handling the karigars, finding ways to keep our bridal orders on track, while starting the new collection, Krutika doubled over as talent manager- bargaining, even begging and pleading models, makeup and hair artists when our budgets went overboard and sank like the Titanic- with the best artists out of town and last minute cancellations, the nightmares only got grimmer.
Shreya, our COO, and Chief Madam Hustler, filled in gaps in every department while managing mood swings of urgent, last minute brides and their fams.
Tanu, my shoe dog, also my partner in whack, switched between fighting with Krutika and Shreya for a larger share of embroiderers and karigars (because of course, our shoes are decked up too!) and dealing with my whims and fancies, and last minute additions or changes in each and every shoe, to brainstorming on making the instillation larger than life.
Sanya our business head, struggled to keep our shoot budgets in check with newer items and talent getting added to the already burgeoning list, booking, canceling, booking again flight/ train tickets, stay, conveyance food … ahhhh the list goes on ! ; she made trips to pernia’s store trying to find best decor partners / performers / fragrance partners etc , in our tight budgets for the installation . Similarly Divya , managing back-end stock maintenance / clients meetings / ordering embroidery materials (in the month of Chinese New Year mind you – where China shuts down supply to the world for a good month – hence hustling to find alternate markets to buy them !) went on also to take on our hand painted lehenga project – where hours turned in days turned into nights – and then came the hand painted shoes too. But of course .
Working until 12 at night and Sundays at a stretch stretch , the team Tiger-ed on. Amidst nervous fits of laughter , with tears rolling down unsuspecting cheeks, mugs of tea that I busied myself making for the girls to distract from the real to-do stresses that only kept piling on and never ticking off , we were maybe two looks down with 12 more to do with 6 days to go – let us not even attempt to write down the update on our accessories.
Somehow , with the blessings of a fiercely loyal universe we managed to arrive at the night before our journey to kutch.
The queens voluntarily decided to make the journey to …..???…. in trains – three girls and Tanay ( my master of all trades – also the acting cinematographer for the shoot) to not only be able to carry all garments etc but also to keep our budget in check .
Carrying 6 large , 4 small suitcase and props for the shoot , off they went ! ( haven’t they impressed you way too much already ?! )
I stayed back that day to wrap up the remaining garments / accessories to fly out the next morning with the rest of the crew.