Nachiket Barve's emergencies can never be as dramatic or life threatening as his families' and for that, he is thankful - it lets him keep his fashion positive. There's enough misery in real life, he feels, so he wants fashion to be about joy, not gloom. The only pitfall of being the only non-medico in a family of doctors is the dreadful dinner-table conversation when his family starts discussing nauseating details of surgeries in the midst of a bowl of Tiramisu!
Barve's family, says he, has always been supportive of his career. "In spite of securing marks to get into medicine, they asked me to pursue what my heart desired. Being a part of a family of doctors also keeps me grounded; the worries they face, the misery they see, the finality of their decisions, the cloud of disease, and death that they face everyday gives me perspective," he adds.
The newly-married designer, who has dressed Kalki Koechlin, Tabu and Sonali Bendre Behl, among others, is not one to sit on his laurels, which includes dressing the first family of Bollywood: the Bachchans. Instead, Barve is constantly looking for new horizons to conquer. A National Institute of Design (NID) alumnus, Barve says that fashion simply happened to him. "I was an observant child influenced by nature. I loved drawing, painting and photography," he says. After studying commerce, sweating it out in the kitchens at Burger King in New Zealand, and studying for the chartered accountancy exam, Barve decided that fashion was what he wanted to pursue.
"NID taught design in an intellectual yet instinctive format; it taught the basic foundation of how, what, why, where and why not? It made me think, unlearn and re-learn! The lessons learnt continue to guide me every single day," he says.
Barve's philosophy reflects in his chic designer sensibility which caught the attention of the Bachchans, who have known him since he was six years old. "I have dressed the Bachchans for the last three years," says Barve. Talking about Amitabh Bachchan, Barve says, "Big B is an absolute gentleman who carries everything with great aplomb - a suit, a sherwani, a sweater and slacks or even casual wear. He has been a style icon through the many phases of his career." He adds that the superstar is "refined, self-assured, and that's how I would describe his style. He is amazingly knowledgeable about clothes, accessories and quite particular about quality." Yet, says Barve, Big B is "encouraging and trusts professionals with their job." Barve also styled Amitabh Bachchan and wife Jaya for a Tanishq ad.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan too is a fan of Barve' designs and is often spotted flaunting his ornate anarkalis and saris. "Aishwarya is a warm person and a joy to dress. I have dressed her for a few public occasions and designed outfits for her personal wardrobe over time. Being a diligent professional who has faced cameras, she knows what works on her as well as what she feels comfortable in!" He adds that the actor's choices "stem from her personal preferences of style, colour and ease, rather than dressing just for an audience." That, feels Barve, is "a trait of someone confident and comfortable in her own skin, where fashion is a part of her life, not her whole life." She too, he says, has been liberal in her feedback and encouragement.
Jaya Bachchan, says Barve, has a great knowledge of textiles, fashion, matched with impeccable taste. "She was the first person who saw my Gen Next collection even before the show. She has an evolved understanding of fabric, craftsmanship and design. She speaks her mind with great candour, and that is a wonderful quality." Incidentally, Barve's first sari,made with a mosaic applique of lame and lurex, was designed for Jaya Bachchan. "It was modern yet timeless, fashionable yet appropriate. She is aware of what looks nice on her."