The last time I met Falguni Peacock, she was accompanied by husband and fellow designer Shane. This time she is alone, leaving him to take care of the backstage details at their Vogue Atelier show that was held in Chennai last month. Almost three years later, nothing else has changed — we still meet in a hotel lobby, have green tea and chat easily. It is almost surreal to think that she is the same person whose creations are worn by the likes of Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga.
Clad in her signature all-black — lace bomber jacket, tee, pants and nails — Falguni says, “Being grounded is very important to me. It keeps us rooted to hard work and to our aesthetic, and our sanity.” They certainly need to keep their wits about them: under their label, Falguni Shane Peacock (FSP), the duo designs extensively for Indian and international celebrities, apart from their commercial line and a monthly magazine (more on that later).
Ask her about the latest big ticket item — Beyonce’s beaded gold bodysuit at Isha Ambani’s sangeet — and she says, “The most amount of fun we have is when we design for a celebrity who is willing to try something different. That is the creative high we get.” Speaking later on a phone call from Mumbai, Shane agrees. “We used the same material that we would use in a couture gown — crystals, beads, diamonds, sequins — to create something that worked for a performance,” he says.
Their statement pieces are great for the stage, and while some may call it glam rock, Shane is quick to say that they do go beyond that definition. “We are a very edgy brand, and we do have a lot of rock and roll influences. But the common thread is more about creating something that is glamorous, young, fun, couture and luxury,” he says. Falguni credits FSP’s popularity to their joint ability to blend western silhouettes with Indian embellishments in a way that works on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Shane explains that in their line of work, agents are very important, as “they bridge the gap between us and clients across the world”. For Falguni, they are there to represent her brand as she herself would. And how does one get on the speed dial of celebrity stylists? Just be young and fresh in your design. “Look at Karl Lagerfeld. Everything he makes for Chanel or Fendi is so young, because he thinks that way. Our profession keeps us young, and when you have something new to offer to the millenial, you are always going to be successful,” she says.
Does this include going the sustainable route? Falguni muses that with people investing heavily in luxury clothing, they are not averse to repeating outfits, and tend to keep them for longer. “There should be a balance, and if things are done in the right way, even glamour and luxury can be sustainable. Just using khadi does not mean you are a sustainable label,” she says, adding, “If you use the right material, if you take care of your artisans, that is also sustainable and giving back to the world. It is about understanding what is needed for the current time and being true to yourself as a designer.”
That is something they take seriously. Every time they start a new collection, they are hands-on with the sourcing process, even bringing back plenty of material from New York when they travel. In addition to their Swarovski crystal work, Shane says that they use Chantilly lace and incorporate similar work from China as well. Is there something they will absolutely not use in their outfits? “Never say never,” laughs Falguni, with a twinkle in her eye.
What they have said no to, however, are collaborations in different verticals. The couple echo each other in saying, “We will not do one just for the sake of it.” They have worked with brands like IBM, Belvedere and Motorola for smaller projects, but Shane says they already have their hands full. Falguni wants to take things slow and do it wisely. “I want to launch cosmetics, but in the right time and space. Customers are very loyal to make-up brands: even I would not give up my Ruby Woo (the iconic lip colour by MAC) if I started a make-up line,” she says in a conspiratorial tone.
Meanwhile, the duo is busy with their year-old pet project, The Peacock Magazine, a monthly online publication. Calling it a reflection of the brand, Falguni insists that it is not all about them. “It’s also about people — politicians, women CEOs, power women. We enjoy the process, and every time we feel that we should be less involved, it only becomes more,” she says.
Their daughter, who recently returned from boarding school, is now quite understanding of her parents’ packed schedule. Falguni says, “She gets that mum and dad are trying to do something different, and encourages us to travel when we need to.” Considering that their 16-year-old’s aesthetic is more Zara and TopShop than FSP, they are quite happy to note that she has no interest in things like Le Bal des Débutantes — a social event in Paris at which young women are presented to society and the world of high fashion.
On the work front, the duo is looking forward to opening a store in Chennai tentatively in 2020. “We were considering it earlier, but then launched in Delhi — we have one store in Emporio and one in Mehrauli. I want to finish one project before moving on to the next,” concludes Falguni.