Rocky Star dresses sofas as well as he does starlets. Or so we have come to discover ever since his furniture line kicked off last December in collaboration with Bent Chair. The fashion designer who has worked with everyone from Beyoncé to Superstar Rajinikanth made a stopover in Chennai recently to launch the collection here. And from the opulence that we spotted transcending from plates to pouffes — it’s evident that the Mumbai-based creator is in his element. “As a creative person, I want my creativity to transfer from clothes to a lot of different things. And I’ve always had that passion to do something different and challenging,” Rocky says. Reinvention is not new to this innovator who is known to push the envelope frequently. Now, growing his distribution from Mumbai to Milan, making the jump from fabric to furniture and expanding his eponymous cocktail bar business, here is an inside glimpse into the world of Rocky Star.
What’s on his calendar this year?
• Spring/Summer 2020 for London Fashion Week in September (almost done)
• Autumn/Winter 2020 (starts right after)
• A prêt collection for Milan (he started distribution in Milan three months ago)
• A couture collection for December
• New pieces in the pipeline for his furniture collection
• And finally, a second outlet of his eponymous cocktail bar that was launched last year in Mumbai.
“Timelines are my biggest stressor,” the designer says candidly after sharing his plans for 2019. And after that list (in box) we believe him. ‘When do you sleep?’ one has to wonder out loud.
“At 1 am usually,” he responds with a smile. “Usually after one of the seven shows I am juggling on Netflix,” he adds with a laugh. “But I am very disciplined when it comes to my life and work.” That means a 6 am wake up call and visiting the gym, not once but twice a day. “I hit the gym at 7.30 am and 9 pm on most days. Working out is like my meditation — it really opens me up and gives me a great energy.”
Our conversation takes a turn toward setting the mood with the right music depending on his workout for the day. And interestingly enough, his design inspiration comes to the fore the same way. “I let ideas sit with me for a long time, and then I set up an ambience when I create. The mood has to be just right. Lately, I have been listening to a lot of flute music as I sketch,” he shares with us. A far contrast from the Deep House he likes to use as an energy booster before a workout and “banging R&B” as he describes it when he does get into ‘meditation’ to keep that blood pumping.
And the music we’re told has a large part to play in his designs, apart from his jet setting the world over which have creations inspired around everything from Vatican architecture to bougainvilleas at the Royal Jaipur Palace. The latter will feature in his latest Spring/Summer 2020 collection titled, Indian Summer, which is a contemporary universal line we are told. Although, to showcase desi craftsmanship, Rocky has worked with weavers from Rajasthan, Kolkata and Gujarat on the fabrics.
We segue from fabric to furniture. After nearly 23 years working on runway designs — we ask him what the transition was like given all the variable logistics. Wood and weaves are two very different canvases after all. “It wasn’t very difficult because Bent Chair handled all the back-end requirements while I gave my creative input in terms of what I wanted the products to look like, the colours, the finish and so forth,” he tells us, pointing out one of his favourite pieces.
It is a scarlet gold sofa with a plush padded backrest and elegant verdant design — and has a mid-century appeal. Although, designed as a three-seater with modern-day sensibilities, the rich purple colour scheme looks straight out of a grandiose throne at a palace.
Three tips for young designers.
-Learn the game. Studying is not enough. Knowledge is really important before you start out on your own.
-Don’t give up your passion — that’s the only thing that’s going to take you where you want to go.
-Be grounded always.
Two things you can’t live without.
My family and my little Smokie, a 13-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, whom I love!
One colour you swear by.
Black. I think it’s timeless, classic, gothic, sexy and sensual. You know, that’s what excites me. What’s the point of just using yellow and red all the time?
Rocky who is known for his love for dark pieces that hold a sense of mystery, retains the same aesthetic with his décor pieces. Whether plates, pouffes or cabinets — expect creations that make an opulent statement in your home, with plenty of black and gold.
Currently, the line has six stories (or design themes) namely Baroque, Botanical, Maya, Anthropod, Verdant and Scarlet. New pieces are added to each every six months. And the designer hopes to introduce a brand new story to the line within the next year.
As for how he manages to fuel that impressive creative bandwidth, with no sign of burnout after two decades in the biz — he tells us the secret is to simply enjoy the process. “If you love what you do — you will do everything. People think I party a lot but the truth is I only let loose on a Saturday with my friends. From Monday to Saturday, nobody talks to me and I just work.” Another massive drive for that fire within is legacy, as we come to realise. Rocky shares with us, “Working doesn’t just make me feel good. I know that whatever I create is mine and this will continue to be around even if I’m not there. That’s very special.”
Home décor collection at INR 1,500 to INR 10,00,000.