Specialising in bridal demi-couture, Punit Balana’s offerings have struck a chord with the Indian market and his devoted celebrity clientele over the years. Capturing the essence of timeless elegance and old-world charm, and fusing it with sense of modernism, his designs shine in today’s time. Now, with his newest collection ‘Chaap’ set to hit the stores today, the designer muses about his connect to Jaipur – his hometown and how his upbringing in the city has shaped his design signature and pushes him to preserve generational creative practices.
ELLE: Tell us about the inspiration and your intention behind choosing the name “छाप” for your 2023 collection.
Punit Balana (PB): The name ‘छाप’ (Chaap) reflects the essence of our collection, drawing inspiration from the rich heritage of Rajasthan and the unique wax printing technique called “मॉम का छापा” (Maum ka Chhaapa). By choosing this name, we aim to pay homage to the age-old art form and its continuing relevance in the modern era. It represents our commitment to preserving and showcasing the beauty of Indian crafts while infusing a sense of courtliness, nostalgia, and old-world charm into our collection.
ELLE: What are the silhouettes, colour palettes and embellishments utilised in the collection?
PB: The collection features timeless silhouettes like the kalidar anarkali, short kurtas paired with gheraras, three-piece sets, crop tops and gauzy organza saris. These silhouettes represent a blend of Punit Balana signatures and new-age shapes. The colour palette encompasses soft buttercup gold and delicate mint green, while embellishments include intricate ‘मॉम का छापा’ prints, marodi work, gota work, tonal resham embroidery, and leather patchwork applique, creating a collection that resonates with modernity and tradition.
ELLE: Why Jaipur? What connection do you, as a designer have to the place and how does it weave into your new collection?
PB: Jaipur holds a special place in my heart and is the timeless muse in all my collections. Being born and raised in Jaipur, I have been surrounded by the city’s rich cultural heritage, majestic architecture, and vibrant arts and crafts since my childhood. Every corner, street, and bazaar here tells a tale of an era past. This connection to Jaipur has shaped my design sensibilities and inspired me to showcase the opulence and craft legacy of the city through my creations.
ELLE: What sets this collection apart from your previous collections?
PB: This collection sets itself apart not only through its exquisite craftsmanship and timeless aesthetics but also as a significant milestone in my journey as a designer. It represents a full circle moment for me, as the use of the traditional “मॉम का छापा” (Maum ka Chhaapa) wax printing technique brings me back to my roots and the very first design technique I learned. Collaborating with the same karigar family that mentored me in this art almost two decades ago adds a deep personal connection, making this collection even more special. It serves as an ode to the enduring relevance of Indian crafts and the importance of preserving generational gifts, elevating them to a truly exceptional offering.
ELLE: If your new collection ” छाप ” was a Bollywood movie, which one would it be and why?
PB: If my new collection, ‘छाप’ (Chaap), were a Bollywood movie, it would embody the essence of ‘Lamhe.’ Just like the film, ‘छाप’ draws inspiration from the rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan and showcases the beauty of the region through its intricate craftsmanship and timeless designs. The movie’s setting in the beautiful Rambagh Palace resonates with our collection, as it too was shot in a stunning heritage haveli in Rajasthan. Additionally, ‘Lamhe’ explores the juxtaposition of traditional and modern elements, just like our collection, which blends the traditional charm of Rajasthan with a contemporary twist.