Partners in high fashion: Designers Rimple and Harpreet Narula get candid

Working together comes easy for the couple, as the two know each other since childhood and share the same passion for fashion, art and design.
Rimple and Harpreet Narula
Rimple and Harpreet Narula

The last four years have been both intense and gratifying for the couture and fashion designer duo, Rimple and Harpreet Narula, as they were hired to do the costumes for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus, Padmaavat. This film opened the doors of Bollywood costume design for them, making way for two more projects, Housefull-4 (2019) and the forthcoming Bhool Bhulaiya 2.

Working together comes easy for the couple, as the two know each other since childhood and share the same passion for fashion, art and design. “Our families go back a long way, but we really bonded during our college days at Delhi University. Our similar tastes in cultural activities such as music and the arts brought us together,” says Rimple, 42, an arts graduate from Hansraj College. “Even now we bond over the same, travelling the world, exploring museums and flea markets,” adds Harpreet, 45, a Hindu College alumni. Their’s was friendship that matured into love and marriage with time.

As Harpreet says, “My affection for her kept growing over our interactions in college till one day, I realised that I want to spend the rest of my life with her.” So when the parents proposed marriage, it was an instant yes, from both sides. The two got married in 1999, and opened their business the next year, in Ludhiana where Harpreet was based. “Initially, I used to design for family and friends.

Then Rimple motivated me to convert my passion into business. We started our couture business with a very small set up in Ludhiana and later moved to Delhi,” he says. “Shifting base to Delhi was a big decision for us, but it was necessary all the same,” says Rimple, adding that the label RAH (Rimple and Harpreet) Couture was formally launched in 2010 with the first flagship store at Defence Colony in Delhi.

In 2018, RAH Couture opened its second flagship store in Ambawatta One, Delhi, a heritage property next to the historic Qutub Minar. “We are working on opening a store in Mumbai and another in Hyderabad, but we have kept our roots intact in Ludhiana,” says Rimple, who handles the overall business, including the management of retail stores, commercials, online presence, brand building and expansion.

“She has a strong business acumen,” says Harpreet, who handles the creative aspect - designing and production. “What makes us a good team is that both of us have uniquely different skills that complement each other. We are always in sync on our strategy and various aspects of the business,” he adds.

About maintaining a worklife balance, Harpreet says, “As our personal and professional lives overlap, we do not differentiate between the two. We just face every day as a team.” The couple has a 20-yearold son, Ishraj, studying at University of Exeter, UK. Whether he will join the family business or not will be his decision alone. “We want him to decide for himself,” says Rimple.

Do they ever have any tiffs? “We do, but we have come a long way as husband and wife, and as business partners. We understand each other, give each other enough space to grow as individuals. Disagreements bring out the best in both partners,” says Harpreet. “Covid has made us introspect on our lives, our priorities, our relationships from a very different perspective,” he says. “The fear of losing someone close to you makes us value our relationship and each other even more. We continue to be optimistic and stronger than ever; this too shall pass,” adds Rimple.

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The New Indian Express