Papa Don’t Preach: Shubhika Davda On How Rebellious, Fun-Loving Women Are Shaping Her Brand’s Aesthetic
Papa Don’t Preach has dressed some of Bollywood’s most famous women — from Madhuri Dixit and Aditi Rao Hydari to Shraddha Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha. But, what do they all have in common? “If you’ve come to Papa Don’t Preach, you have clearly come here to stand out,” says Shubhika Davda, founder and creative head at the brand who takes great pleasure in dressing the sophisticated rebellious girl who isn’t afraid to have a little fun. Read on ahead, as we speak to Shubhika on how the label has become synonymous for its feminine and whimsical creations over the years and how her brand’s identity is ever evolving based on her many colourful moods…
How would you define your brand’s DNA as of today?
It’s not really something that can be defined as it has happened very organically over the years. I never really made a conscious decision to create a colour story which was restricted to a season or a trend. Also, when it comes to the inspiration behind every collection, no matter what we call it or name it, there’s always a recurring theme — its always about love and the kind of feeling it evokes and the Papa Don’t Preach girl ‘She’s like a ribbon around a bomb’ — one day she is pretty dainty and the next day she can be like an explosive firecracker and really strong. All my collections usually tend to reflect a strong mood.
How much of the brand’s aesthetic is a reflection of you?
Everything about the brand is a reflection of me. If you do meet me in my day to day life, I do not dress up as colourfully as the clothes I design but if you define me as a person, you could say that I’m polychromatic — I am a different shade of pink every day, I’m in a different mood every day, I just don’t want to be the same person. That’s just who I am — an independent, conscious at every moment human being, whose evolving and constantly working on herself and in that very innate sense, my brand is definitely a reflection of me.
Tell us a little more about your current summer collection ‘She’s like a ribbon around a bomb’…
More than just a collection name, its our brand’s tagline apart from being the very soul of our aesthetic and there was no better a way to describe it than addressing our muse as ‘She’s like a ribbon around a bomb’. The clothes speak a similar story as our muse — one day she may wish to step out in a boyfriend jacket and in a draped jumpsuit the day after that… so the key fabrics used were a ton of silks, tulles and our highlight is always the embroidery wherein this time we used a lot of metallic charms, bangles, laser cut acrylics, collar embellishments and threadwork that was used to make 3D roses were among the key elements that were incorporated.
What are the main trends that can be spotted in your current summer collection?
We usually don’t adhere to any particular look as we release our collections but as far as trends go I could definitely point out the pops of neon and embroideries we’ve used that are making a comeback. I have also experimented with nose rings this time as they can be styled with a lot of things. We’re also bringing back a lot of jumpsuits for our bridal collections — a lot of bridesmaids would much rather be comfortable and feel pretty in these silhouettes that incorporate Indian embroideries as well.
We couldn’t help but notice all the fun shoes in your collection ‘Saccharine’ — how did your obsession with footwear come about?
When I started out, it was really difficult to find another brand or collaborators who would really understand what a Papa Don’t Preach look comprised of from head-to-toe, so I found myself wanting to do everything; right from nose-rings, harness belts and shoes, all by myself. If you take a quick look at our Lakmé fashion week runway archives, you’d see a ton of whimsical footwear that’s been made and produced in-house by us. One of my most memorable creations would have to be the shoes that we encased in a snow globe with actual snow swirling about inside the shoe. For Saccharine, the shoes are a lot more wearable but just whimsical enough to keep it fun. In fact, I plan to launch my very own Indian shoe line in the months to come.
As a designer, what is the one trend you would consider bringing back each season through your label?
I’m constantly aiming at making Indianwear more young, fun and rebellious — whether its through short embellished dresses or through functional pockets and belts.
Who are the women you love to dress?
I like adventurous girls — the kinds who just want to have fun with what they are wearing. I like it when people understand that being colourful and fun doesn’t have to necessarily rob you of any sophistication.
What can we expect to see from Papa Don’t Preach in forthcoming collections?
I’m planning something really exciting… Papa Don’t Preach plans on bringing music, dance and fashion together, so do stay tuned for that!
Images credit: PapaDon’tPreach.com and Viral Bhayani