Like most Pakistanis, Karachi-based designer Deepak Perwani too is a fan of Bollywood celebrities. After styling Indian stars like veteran actress Shabana Azmi and her husband, renowned lyricist-writer Javed Akhtar, he now seeks to design for the younger lot like Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor.
Perwani admits that he and fellow Pakistani citizens love Indian “cuisine, clothes, songs, dance and Bollywood”.
Asked whom he would like to design for, Perwani, who visited the capital for the “Aalishan Pakistan” lifestyle exhibition, said: “Deepika (Padukone) would be a great choice. She is stunning and gorgeous. I’ve always liked dark and dusky women.”
“Nandita Das too. She is stunning. She is the epitome of Indian woman. Among male actors, Ranbir (Kapoor) and Varun Dhawan for sure. They are the news kids on the block and I make clothes for those aged between 25 and 40. They are fashionable kids,” added Perwani, who started his menswear line in 1994.
He might have entered the fashion industry with menswear, but he thinks women are more inclined towards fashion.
“Men don’t buy as much as women. Women like to look at collections and are more fashion-oriented. They like to wear separate pieces for day and evening.
“Men are okay with a black trouser and shirt. They can go on with their lives like that,” said the designer, who launched his women’s wear line in 1996.
Known for creating fusion wear with minimal embellishment and using pure fabrics like silk and chiffon, Perwani says that Pakistani fashion is “on the rise”.
“When I started, there were just a handful of designers. Fashion shows…we had to put up ourselves. Now, we are travelling to places like Singapore, Doha and London and exhibiting all over the world. We travel at least six to seven times in a year,” he said.
“What’s interesting is to see curiosity that people have for Pakistani fashion. It’s natural,” he added.
The designer, who has collaborated with brands like Mercedes Benz, Benson & Hedges, and Hugo Boss perfume, is keen on doing business in India.
But like fellow designers from his country, he too wants the governments of both the nations to go easy with rules and regulations.
“Make visas easier and come and buy. If you are able to travel anywhere in the world, then business is easier. Once that is sorted out, economies will open up to each other.
“There is a lot of love and affection between Indians and Pakistanis. There should be cross cultural exchange all the time,” said Perwani, who has frequently visited India.
He recalled his childhood days when he used to make frequent trips to India.
“I have been visiting Mumbai since I was a kid. I have family in Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore, Jodhpur, Indore and Pune.
“My summer holidays were spent here as a kid. I used to be weak in Maths. We used to have a teacher who taught us Maths and English. So, our English and Maths were better than everyone else’s in our class when we went back home,” he added.