OUR DESIGNER SERIES

MALASA

We meet the Malasa girl-squad and dive deep into their design story

(Left to right) Sharan, Nimrit and Jyoti Gill with Somya Bakshi

Proving that too many cooks only perfect the broth, are the women at Malasa. Jyoti Gill, the matriarch with distinctive style, started her eponymous couture label decades ago and created a new formal wear aesthetic with its defiantly neutral palette, modern shapes and decadent yet understated embroidery. Move forward few decades, and her daughter Nimrit takes to design and decides to shape Malasa — a contemporary extension to the Jyoti Gill label. Another couple of years on the timeline, and younger sister Sharan and her BFF Somya Bakshi, who's now like an adopted daughter to Jyoti, decide to join forces. Wearing interchangeable hats of designers, social media wizards, marketing heads and what not, the three girls and mum Jyoti are quite the enviable talent pool.

We spent a day at their beautiful home playing dress-up and taking to the four of them, sisters, daughters and friends, about what it's like to work and create together.

Q What’s the best part of working with mum?

Nimrit: Not only do we get to spend more time with her but also get to observe her in action. We learn the tricks of the trade that would have taken us years to master.

Sharan: Her enthusiasm is infectious. She brings out the best in all of us.

Somya: She’s any day more youthful and raring-to-go than any of us. That’s a great kind of energy to have around.

Q Any drawbacks?

Nimrit: (chuckles) We lose our cool with each other every once in a while. She’s more boho and wild in her creative expressions, and I’m more conservative. But it kind of balances itself out and helps make the collection more dimensional.

Nimrit wearing Malasa with mum Jyoti in her label Jyoti Gill

Q How much do your mother’s style sensibilities rub on you?

Nimrit: I’ve grown up in a fashion family. My grandmother studied design at Parsons (School of Design, New York). My dad exports couture and we’ve been watching and learning from mom even before we could really understand any of this. I’ve tried to create my own aesthetic, which without a doubt is an extension of mom’s, but it’s more wearable, comfortable, young and modern.

Q Where do you spend most time brainstorming?

Nimrit: Anywhere and everywhere. Somya was travelling through Jodhpur and sending us pictures of carved windows and jalis. Our Whatsapp group was on fire all through her trip. This is how we operate. Basically, all the best ideas hit us randomly and we all share them on our group.

Sharan: Mostly, it’s right before we hit the bed that inspiration strikes. There are times when one of is up at 3 am and bombarding the group with references.

Sharan and Somya

Somya and Sharan (on top) with Nimrit, all in Malasa

Q How do you go about planing the collections?

Sharan: In a whirlwind. We don't know when we start or end. We’re continuously creating new pieces through the year and somehow we manage to create a definite collection by the end of it.

Nimrit: We don't really have a process. It’s just a free flow of ideas that are finalised with everyone’s stamp-of-approval.

Q What’s next for Malasa? What’s keeping you excited?

Nimrit: I wake up excited to go to work every morning. It’s just that much fun to collaborate with people on the same wavelength as you. We hope to keep this momentum going and grow bigger this year. We’re working on new styles like draped saris, increasing our crop-top range and trying some asymmetry. We also hope to make our Fashion Week debut!

Crop Top Set

Crop Top Set

Ivory Kurta Set

Ivory Kurta Set

Ivory Sharara Set

Ivory Sharara Set