People | India’s Best Dressed List 2012

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India’s Best Dressed List 2012
Text and Interviews by Shirin Mehta, Sitanshi Talati-Parikh and Photographed by Norbert Kniat(Anima Creative Management), Evren D'souza (Mumbai), Shibu Arakkal (Bengaluru), Karishma Bedi (Delhi) and Realisation by Nisha Jhangiani, Nirali Mehta, Poulomi Dey
Published: Volume 20, Issue 10, October, 2012

The eagerly awaited annual Hall of Fame for India’s Best Dressed women is finally here! There are some new entries on the list, some have been here before and then there are the Perennials – those who rarely put a sartorial step wrong

you are not what you wear

No longer so! In these very individualistic times, you wear what you are. That is the truth of modern dressing and the philosophy that lies behind our choice of the Best Dressed, this year. These are women who wear their clothes to express who they are, to reveal their view of themselves. They wear their clothes in the ways that they choose. Their clothes, let it be known, will never wear them....

These sartorially magnificent ladies eschew trends, indulge in brands for their fine quality rather than name, scour vintage shops and their grandmother’s closets for eternally beautiful things that they appreciate, turn their eye to creating beauty in their environs and homes, collect art and basically live with beauty in their everyday lives. They are into yoga, kick-boxing, walking, hitting the gym and other forms of exercise that makes being Best Dressed a holistic experience. It is no longer just about updating the wardrobe or owning the most current styles. It is about the garments draping a strong and healthy body….and attitude!

Our cover girls – two young Bollywood stars and a film stylist – chatted amicably, trading beauty and style secrets and tips, even as their hair was being coiffeured and their lips stained vermillion. They had this in common, that they had turned their backs on what was expected of them in the glitzy, glittery, blingy world that they inhabit and had followed their own sartorial instincts, in the bargain creating looks that are appreciated by peers and followed by fans. “I decided to wear what I liked and it has paid off for me,” said Sameera Reddy, adding, “Style is a very personal expression. The beauty is to be true to yourself and that will make your true style evolve.” Neha Dhupia confesses, “I tried to look like other people…. I wore tons of bling to catch everyone’s eye…but today I have learnt to relax, after all it is just clothes!” Verve’s third cover girl Pernia Qureshi maintains, “I do not take myself so seriously….truly stylish people wear things effortlessly....”

Like our Best Dressed who have learnt to dress instinctively rather than deliberately. As have the Perennials, true fashionistas who have been on our list three times in three successive years and have moved on to raise the sartorial bar, forever.

NEHA DHUPIA
For embracing her curves with pizzazz

TOP ACCESSORIES
There is no better accessory than your own curves! Having said that, the fit of the clothes should do the talking. I add an edge with an oversized watch or neckpiece.

FOOT FETISH
I choose my shoes first and then my clothes. I have lost count of the number of pairs I own. I have a CD of all my shoes on my iPad! Local Italian handmade shoes, Louis Vuitton, Giuseppe Zanotti, Salvatore Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo, Tod’s, Rapallo, I love them all.

COLOUR CODE
I dress in shades, not colours. Black, white, olive, grey.....

FASHION FAUX PAS
I wore a shirt for an event and did not realise that with the camera flashes, it would show my inners! I have worn tons of bling to catch everyone’s eye but I have learnt a lot since.

GREAT FASHION MOMENT
At IIFA last year, I did this polka dotted Lanvin gown – it had a timeless look.

PASSIONS
I eat, drink, breathe films. I watch a feature almost every night. Fitness whether it is yoga, Pilates or going to the gym. I have a small passion for cooking and today I can cook up a great meal for four persons.

PAYAL KHANDWALA
For reinventing herself, but remaining true to form

A FASHION NO-NO
Wearing clothes that are two sizes too small, too tight, too short, too uncomfortable and especially with the wrong type of undergarments. Clothes have to work for you, not the other way around. It’s always nice to leave something to the imagination, a little mystery is nice.

WARDROBE STAPLES
Well-fitted pair of blue jeans, a long multipurpose scarf I can wear many ways, one comfortable pair of heels and a pair of flats, a Benarasi sari, palazzos, colour blocked separates to mix and match so I can curate my own wardrobe, one wide leather belt, aviators, a string of beads and some vintage silver jewellery.

STYLISH ICONS
Audrey Hepburn, Gayatri Devi.

YOUR FAVOURITE FASHION ERAS
The grace of the ’20s, the freedom of the ’70s with the androgyny of today.

KIND OF ART (ERA/STYLE) THAT YOU CONNECT WITH YOUR FASHION STYLE
Without a doubt abstract expressionism and minimalism. Dramatic but subtle at the same time.

AN OVERDONE TREND
Evening gowns, ballroom dressing and the eternal princess/doll hangover.

YOUR FASHION SOUL CITY
New York.

YOUR FASHION INSPIRATIONS
Orchestrating a palette of colour is central to my designing process, therefore especially art and some architecture. Tribal costumes and jewellery from across the world, origami and the minimalism of Japan, weaves and colours of India, flea markets and street fashion.

DO YOU LOVE DESIGNER LABELS OR HATE THEM?
I think it’s pointless being a slave of any brand. You must be your own brand. I don’t see the point in wearing something because someone made it, you must only buy it because you love it and it speaks to you in a special way.

BHAWNA SHARMA
For her maverick attitude to fashion

YOUR CURRENT FASHION PHASE
To play with my old wardrobe.

YOUR FASHION INSPIRATIONS
State of mind and travel.

FASHION NO-NOS
I am flexible...if I look good in it I’ll be in it....

YOUR FITNESS MANTRA
Eat well, work out five days a week, three litres of water daily, sleep seven hours, breathe and smile.

RECENTLY DISCOVERED LABELS YOU LIKE
None.

QUICK DAY TO EVENING TRANSITION WITHOUT CHANGING YOUR OUTFIT
Change hairstyle and colour of my lips....

A DRESSING RULE YOU FOLLOW
No rule, be true to yourself....

A GREAT LOOK YOU PULLED OFF RECENTLY
What can I say, every day is great....

DRESSING UP SONG OR ARTIST OF THE MOMENT
Damien Lazarus, DJ underground electronic music....

YOUR BIG PASSION
Life!

KANGNA RANAUT
For caring a hang for the style police and doing her own thing

CURRENT FASHION PHASE
These days I have added a bit of quirk to my style. Stylish but slightly weird, that’s my style these days, not just pretty things.

ON-SCREEN VERSUS PERSONAL STYLE
I don’t watch movies, I am always busy filming.

YOUR VIEW ON BOLLYWOOD STYLE
Over the years Bollywood has developed its own style which is not authentic but has a bit of everything – much like Bollywood dance....

ICONS AND INSPIRATIONS
Old Hollywood is my all-time inspiration.

HOW SERIOUSLY SHOULD WE TAKE RED CARPET SCRUTINIES?
For me, style and fashion are very personal. Fashion is not about buying the latest bags and dresses from all the French and Italian designers but it’s a personal interpretation of one’s attitude and character. My style is mine; it shows how I see and perceive the world around me. It’s not to impress the fashion police. For that, I would have to adapt their style (which I dread and would be a nightmare for me).

FASHION SOUL CITY
Cities that inspires me in terms of fashion: Rome, Jaipur, Paris.

CURRENT SARTORIAL PASSION
These days my big passion is high-waist jeans with very short tops.

PERNIA QURESHI
For staying on the feminine and classic path

YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE
Timeless rather than eclectic or experimental. I like trying new designers....

TOP INDIAN DESIGNERS
Savio Jon for his very cool sportswear adapted to high fashion, James Ferreira, Atsu Sekhose, Masaba Gupta, Shivan & Narresh to name a few....

TOP INTERNATIONAL DESIGNERS
The Row, Celine, Thierry Mugler for classic stuff, Chloe....

STYLE IN BOLLYWOOD
Bollywood has really evolved. Actresses take care to dress well even to go to the airport or for a cup of coffee. Having a stylist has become a trend. Bollywood stylists earlier remained in the background. After Aisha, people have realised that styling is a very serious thing. Hopefully, I was one of the people to bring about that change.

ACCESSORY LOVES
I am very lazy and once I use a handbag, I keep using it. Celine, Hermes, Chanel, Bottega Veneta are great brands. Among Indian bags, I love Poem bags which are available on my online store.

IN MY CLOSET
Shoes! My footwear gets ruined very quickly. I just wear everything to death. I buy things and wear them immediately. I love Christian Louboutin and Giuseppe Zanotti for heels, Pierre Hardy and Hermès for flats.

SOUL PIECE OF THE MOMENT
Recently I discovered Atsu’s trench coat kurta in yellow with straight trousers – I love reinventing classics.

BIG PASSIONS
Dressing up! I am a Kuchipudi dancer and spend the entire morning dancing. I also love to eat and sleep. I have had a high metabolism since I was a kid. I cannot get along with people who do not like to eat.

SHREYAA SINGH
For soft feminine dressing inspired by the fitness cult

CURRENT FASHION PHASE
Sleek comfortable cuts and colours that pop.

RECENTLY DISCOVERED LABELS AND PERENNIAL FAVOURITES
Raven and Rose, Namrata Joshipura, True Religion jeans, Helmut Lang, Christian Lacroix.

WARDROBE TREASURES
A jade green Grecian dress by Raven and Rose, Abercrombie & Fitch track pants, and an army green duck hunting jacket.

FASHION TRIUMPH IN THE LAST YEAR
Experimenting with bold colours.

ACCESSORY ADDICTIONS
Sunglasses are essential, can’t leave home without them.

PLACES THAT INSPIRE
Spain, Italy, New York and Mumbai.

BEAUTY MANTRA
Tons of rest and lots of water.

IMPORTANCE OF FITNESS TO YOUR LOOK
It is important to my day look since I do a combination of yoga, gym and Pilates. It is important to look stylish and comfortable at the gym and while running day-to-day errands.

BIG PASSIONS
Exercise, healthy diet, cooking, reading, being a mom, travelling and spending quality time with my friends.

ANUSHKA MENON
For standing tall in her boots

YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE
Skinny jeans (jeggings) a loose tee and a pair of military boots.

YOUR CURRENT WARDROBE FAVOURITE
Faded and ripped denim shorts from Zara.

THE KIND OF ART/PHOTOGRAPHY YOU WOULD CONNECT WITH YOUR FASHION STYLE
Strong and edgy.

BLACK AND WHITE OR COLOUR?
Both, but I prefer black and white.

YOUR FAVOURITE FASHION ERAS
Now.

DRESSING RULE FOLLOWED BEFORE LEAVING HOME
Try not to look like you are going to the gym!

AN OVERDONE TREND
The geek look.

YOUR FASHION SOUL CITY
New York.

YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT
Living.

IRA DUBEY
For switching over from rock chic glam to just chic

YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE
Comfy stylish with a statement accessory, less is more. I play with bright colours or lots of whites, nudes and blacks, depending on the season. I don’t like figure-hugging clothes so I generally wear looser silhouettes teamed with tights or skinny jeans.

A FASHION NO-NO
Fur in Mumbai! Sequins from head to toe. Red lips and red nails with a red outfit.

A FASHION EXPERIMENT THAT WENT WRONG
Palazzo pants (wide leg trousers) that I tried elongating with sky-high heels – which still looked all wrong because of my petite frame.

FITNESS MANTRA
Yoga three to four times a week, a walk twice a week, eight hours of sleep, lots of water and a happy healthy positive state of mind.

A FASHION SECRET
A statement accessory on only one body part. Keep the outfit simple and focus on letting that accessory shine, balance the look with killer heels and an embellished clutch and you’re good to go.

DRESSING RULE BEFORE LEAVING HOME
Perfume, well-ironed outfit and quick hair fix (which needs nurturing as it is wavy, thick and long).

CHANGES IN YOUR DRESSING IN THE LAST YEAR
Simpler, cleaner, lot more nudes, hint of sequins, longer silhouettes, more feminine. Three years ago I was more rock star chic/glam – now that’s changed!

PRECIOUS INHERITANCES
A beautiful topaz antique ring my mother bought with her first pay cheque when she was 18 and my nani’s pearl and diamond earrings.

FAVOURITE DESIGNERS
Tom Ford, Stella McCartney, Anamika Khanna, Sabyasachi, Ritika Mirchandani, Chloe, Alexander Wang, Shahab Durazi.

SHERINA DALAMAL
For her holistic attitude to fashion and style

CURRENT FASHION PHASE
Less is more.

DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. ‘Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening’ according to Coco Chanel.

ARTISTIC INSPIRATION
Everything around me but my mother most of all.

YOUR FASHION SOUL CITY
Paris....

BIG SARTORIAL MOMENT IN THE LAST YEAR
I love playing dress up...so most moments are sartorial!

ACCESSORY LOVES
My iPad.

FITNESS MANTRA
You are what you eat....

BEST FASHION ERA
The ’70s...carefree and fun!

A DRESSING RULE YOU FOLLOW
When it comes to dressing, comfort is overrated.

POORNA JAGANNATHAN
For adding a new dimension to the Bollywood look

YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE
Things that are really comfortable.

A FASHION SECRET – SOMETHING THAT WORKS LIKE A LUCKY CHARM
Double-sided tape: it lets me wear more edgy outfits without the risk of a wardrobe malfunction.

A FASHIONABLE MOMENT LAST YEAR
For the Filmfare awards, I wore this regal looking dress from Chanel’s Byzantine collection. The fit was impeccable.

YOUR FASHION CRINGE MOMENT
Delhi Belly success party. Thanks for taking me back!

RECENT SPLURGE BUY
A beautiful and classy dress from Drashta.

RECENT BARGAIN BUY
80 per cent off Charles Kammer shoes in Paris.

STYLISH FILMS
Hands down, the movie Grease. (Did I just date myself?)

FASHION ICONS/ INSPIRATIONS
I love Keira Knightly’s fashion sense. And I like Skylar Grey’s take on dark.

ARE YOU A PLANNED OR SPONTANEOUS DRESSER?
In my head, I’m a planned dresser, but the way it actually works out is last minute and spontaneous.

SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT WORK FOR YOU BUT YOU WISH IT DID
Nine inch heels. It’s not that I wish I could wear them, it’s more like when I wear them, I wish I didn’t topple over.

YOUR CURRENT WARDROBE FAVOURITE
Combat boots by All Saints.

FITNESS MANTRA
Stay calm and drink coconut water.

YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT
Good theatre.

SAMEERA REDDY
For her style evolution and for totally promoting Indian designers

YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE
Androgynous and sporty chic. I have an athletic body and a strong feminine look works for me.

YOUR STYLE EVOLUTION
Being an actress I played safe and portrayed what was expected of me. But, I had to get out of that baby-doll awkward look since my personality clashed with this and I decided to wear what I liked. It has been an amazing learning curve and I have totally enjoyed it.

IN YOUR CLOSET
Suits, edgy high-powered jackets, men’s trousers, palazzo pants, high-waisted pants…even brogues. You will hardly see dresses. Rishta by Arjun Saluja makes me gorgeous jackets which team up with anything.

TOP DESIGNERS
I don’t have any favourites, it depends on my mood. I wear anything from Bodice, Shivan & Narresh to Arjun Saluja. The new designers are so experimental and I want to explore that. I also plug into the more established designers.

BOLLYWOOD STYLE
I am impressed that it has evolved and I am happy to be a part of that trend. I am enjoying fashion and in Bollywood we have the opportunity to reach out and expect people to enjoy it with us.

ACCESSORY LOVES
Chunky silver jewellery! You will hardly ever catch me in gold. Amrapali is a brand that I really like.

SARTORIAL EXPERIMENTS
I love playing with hair – up-dos, edgy styles, pin-up curls…. Hair can really make or break your outfit.

SARI ESCAPADES
It used to be a safe alternative but today I love to do things with sari blouses while wearing the sari the traditional way. At IFFA, I wore a Rohit Bal sari with a Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna embroidered top. A sari can be as eccentric as you want it to be and while designers are particular about the way their clothes should be worn, I also like to take an individual turn!

 

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