Chandni Chowk, Santa Cruz’s markets and Indian couture houses: Bhawna Sharma has scoured them all to source costumes for the cast of Made in Heaven 2. By the end of her sourcing trips, the stylist and costume designer had a godown filled with 200 steel trunks, each containing hand-picked garments and accessories for the show. “I have curated the looks for the eight main protagonists as well as their families,” she says over a call from Barcelona.
A former model who walked the ramp for 25 years, in 2013 Bhawna traded her catwalk for behind the scene challenges. “I had a baby, and by the end of 2014 I started styling for Tarun Tahliani, Rocky S… Then I got into styling for advertisements,” she says. She also worked as Zoya Akhtar’s personal stylist. And in February 2020, Zoya (co-creator of the show) offered her the role of the costume designer for Made in Heaven 2.
“I read the script, started prepping and sourcing, creating mood boards, had four-hour-long meetings for each episode, and then Covid happened,” says Bhawna. So they stopped and restarted the process again in November 2020. “I told Zoya that we would represent Indian couture in the show,” she states.
Bhawna roped in Tarun Tahliani, Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, Gaurav Gupta, Gauri and Nainika, Sanjay Garg, Aisha Rao for the series… “Everybody went out of their way and collaborated. The garments were tailor-made for the show because I had a specific colour palette in mind,” says Bhawna, who shuttles between Mumbai and Barcelona. Both worlds inspire her, as do their art, Nature and fashion.
For this show, she says she intensely researched each character, their story, and background. There is a stark difference between their personalities and Bhawna makes that evident through their sartorial choices.
“We looked at each character and how they’ve evolved from season 1 to season 2. For example, Tara (Sobhita Dhulipala) in season 1 groomed herself and married in wealth. But she loses everything. In this season she has come into her own and no matter what, she owns it and is well turned out. So we’ve given her a lot of power dressing like suits, cinched waists. When she is vulnerable you’ll see her in monotones. On date nights she wears jewel tones emerald green, deep purple, plum,” explains Bhawna.
Similarly, Jazz (Shivani Raghuvanshi), who does not hail from a posh locality in Delhi, has also got a wardrobe upgrade. When she joins Made in Heaven, she looks up to Tara. In season 2 she tries to emulate her by wearing knee length dresses and waist belts. She is a bit more fashion conscious and shops from high street brands and not the local market. So you don’t see her in the printed tops and leggings that she wore in season 1,” says Bhawna.
Bulbul Jauhari (Mona Singh) is one of her favourite characters in this season of the show. “She is rooted to her background and despite her back story, exudes power as a businesswoman,” she says. Bulbul is always in fitted kurtis, patiala salwars, simple jewellery, over-sized sunglasses and carries a fake Chanel bag because she wants to keep up. Her jewellery is simple and understated as opposed to Faiza Naqvi (Kalki Koechlin) who sports expensive designer pieces including the dramatic Bulgari serpenti viper diamond necklace.
Not just garments, Bhawna. assisted by her team (whom she calls her “pillars of strength”), also put in research for the accessories. While each wedding has pieces synonymous with their culture (maathapattis for example ), there are also fun accessories in the form of hair bun nets, XXL earrings, chokers…
Bhawna presented a mood board for each character and each wedding. There are 10 weddings spread over seven episodes. Then the fittings followed. “I love Indian weddings. They are so festive the way they are celebrated. Its been wonderful to go through that,” she says, adding with a laugh, “I am not sick of weddings. But if I have to do another show with weddings I don’t know how I’ll feel. It will depend on the narratives.”