India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Verve People
January 17, 2018

Their Fathers’ Daughters: Sama Ali And Muzaffar Ali

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena. Photographed by Shubham Lodha. Hair and make-up by Anuj Dogra

Just as Louis Vuitton’s iconic monogrammed trunks reflect the Maison’s heritage, we discover a beautiful continuity in the blend of the old and the new, as witnessed by these father-daughter duos. Here we speak to design aesthetes, Sama Ali and Muzaffar Ali

Sama Ali on her father

“I grew up in this very infectious environment of creativity and was able to channelise it from an early stage. I’ve been inspired by what my parents do and how much they enjoy their work.”

“I remember going with my parents on most of their trips — even their business ones. I thought this was the norm. I also thought it was very normal to be a filmmaker, artist, designer…. I only realised how special my parents were when I saw the respect and awe my father inspired. I saw his works like Umrao Jaan (1981) after this point.”

“We have different approaches when it comes to doing things. But we agree on the core values and motivation behind doing them. One thought that has been the most prominent in my mind and really shaped how I view the world is a learning I picked from my father — we must first be humans before anything else and we must always be humble. The only thing that makes someone wealthy is the number of blessings that one receives in a lifetime — and those only come when you share your successes and help everyone who is associated with you to grow with you. That is the true legacy you leave behind.”

“He grew up in a time when one could assume the best in a person. Today, as much as I’d love to believe the best of people, like he always does, I just cannot do so. Obviously this does create differences in approach. We are both deeply passionate, but I suppose he’s old and wise, while I’m young and cynical.”

“It is both easy and difficult being in the same profession as my father. It is easy because I’m always learning; it is difficult because sometimes it can be overwhelming.”

“My dad says that when one thinks of an idea, it is important to think or talk it through to see if it works or not. And there is no downtime from creativity unless you’re going through a dry spell!”

“I have learnt restraint from him. Our brainstorming sessions are quite heated but they are productive nonetheless. They usually happen over meals or while we are travelling.”

“Our core inspiration is the same. The aesthetics are similar. My work draws from the past — it reinvents old concepts and makes them relevant to present times.”

“To be honest, life is really a whole lot easier when everyone is a fan of your father ’s work. And I love hearing how much his work has inspired many people on their creative journeys. You hardly find people who have always been considered kind, compassionate and humble, even though they have been endowed with immense talent.”

“My interest in fashion is the most obvious thing I share with him. In terms of films, I have a great interest in film analysis and production. I did consider acting, but I didn’t think I could handle the constant attention. In terms of art, I’ve always pursued it through fashion. Music is something we both enjoy, but our tastes are on opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s my favourite subject to debate on.”

Muzaffar Ali on his daughter

“As a child, Sama was easy and adorable. She always thought that I was being made a fool of by others!”

“My work has always been a part of my family’s life as I worked from home. Sama enjoyed being a part of the discussions and naturally became a part of my work and creative domain.”

“Temperamentally, she is a good blend of Meera and me. Except, sometimes, the worst of both of us manifests in her bad moods. She is her own person in every way and tries to uphold her identity through the style of Kotwara.”

“It is too early to say that I have shaped her dreams. All I can say is that it is important to think of new ideas. She has begun to believe in this. She has to feel like she is the author of her dreams.”

“I did not envisage that she would step into my world. She grew up in the middle of craft, culture and couture, including the ambience of my film work. Sama has even seen my 27-part period serial Husn-e-Jaana set in Kotwara in Lucknow in the mid ’90s.”

“She has been trained in London and has had to find her own feet in fashion. The biggest learning she has got from me is the importance of valuing feelings and efforts.”

“I don’t impose my ideas on her. My creations tend to be futuristic. She adds her youthful flair to silhouettes and choice of fabrics. We are definitely driven by the same artistic urge and passion for values.”

“She thinks out of the box. She is marketing-driven and has an intuitive sense of what will look good on a person. She endows the silhouettes with her individual style.”

“My advice to her is simple: don’t give up. Don’t lose your cool. And you must believe in yourself first. Only then will the world begin to believe in you and your talent.”

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