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India’s Best Dressed List 2013
Text And Interviews by Shirin Mehta, Sitanshi Talati-Parikh, Viseshika Sharma.
Photographed by Vishesh Verma, Ryan Martis (Mumbai), Manpreet Singh (Delhi), Sudip Roy (kolkata), Sukil Tarnas and Khushboo Agarwal (Chennai).
Realisation by Nisha Jhangiani, Nirali Mehta, Shirin Salwan, Poulomi Dey.
Published: Volume 21, Issue 10, October, 2013


There’s a twist in India’s sartorial tale.

With the opening up of markets and the coming in of several of our favourite fashion brands, over the last so many years, Indian women have had to balance a strong classic look with international trends and baubles and lines that were suddenly available to them, after years of exclusion. The classic story here of Pandora’s box opening up, but to unimaginable goodies!

This new freedom of choice meant a subtle change in sartorial focus, silhouette and feel, growing and melding slowly over the years into a crescendo of looks. How has the Indian woman fared, we take a look here, in this daily challenge to her day and night dressing? To keep her very strong identity and yet seamlessly melt into the norms of universal dressing? A challenge perhaps that few would face worldwide.

Our Best Dressed List 2013 is proof indeed of her versatility, powers of adopting and innate love for her own culture and style. She gives a little, she takes a lot and, with verve and confidence, she transports her sartorial choices to create a new level of dressing, quintessentially her own. She twists her sari differently to achieve a contemporary silhouette. She blends the looks of homespun designers with brands that have stormed the western world. She reinvents the comfortable kaftan and turns it into a fashion statement, meant for more than lounging around in. She embellishes her Calvin Klein suit with jadau earrings and her Tarun Tahiliani stitched-sari with her Dior clutch. And all this without shaking the foundations of good dressing.

In the bargain, she creates a look that is Indian to the core. Indian in its essence – in that it encompasses the world and yet remains its own....

Welcome then to the honorees of Verve’s Best Dressed List 2013 and the brave fashion pioneers that they are....

DRASHTA Sarvaiya
For her combination of girlish femininity and androgynous toughness of spirit

WILL NEVER WEAR An anarkali kurta.

STYLE SOULMATE Caroline Issa of Tank magazine and Because London.

SENTIMENTAL INHERITANCE My maternal grandmother’s jadau earrings made by a local jeweller in Palitana.

WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE IN BOLLYWOOD Garishness. I prefer old Hindi cinema – the ’60s films were stylish; today we consider their styles to be retro. In the future, our kids won’t consider the styling of films today retro or iconic. The character and originality is missing.

FAVOURITE FASHION MOMENT When Sarah Jessica Parker happened to see my collection in Paris and liked my clothes. She took my number from my agent – I missed meeting her, but loved that it happened.

SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU.... I am a foolishly romantic person.

DRESSING EXPERIMENTS My dressing style depends upon my hair! With long hair I prefer bifurcated garments and trousers; with a short pixie cut I prefer more feminine silhouettes.

ETERNALLY FAVOURITE LABELS Lanvin, Etro (for their paisleys), Mary Katrantzou (for artistic prints) and Vivienne Westwood (for wedding gowns).




Black and white embellished dress, by Drashta; green heels, from Bootmaker.
Make-up by Marianna Mukuchyan, Anima Creative Management.
Hair by Toni & Guy Hair Meet Wardrobe.
Photograph by Vishesh Verma.

APARNA Badlani
For revelling in her indulgences and leading us into temptation

DESIGNER DISCOVERIES OF THE PAST YEAR There are so many I’ve found and loved, but the ones that spring to mind are Soham Dave, Threesome, Ragini Ahuja and Bodhi Tree.

INDIAN FABRICS IN WESTERN SILHOUETTES OR WESTERN FABRICS IN INDIAN SILHOUETTES Both! But I am biased towards Indian fabrics in western silhouettes – we have such beautiful weaves that inspire designers from around the world.

PERFECT FUSION OF EAST AND WEST A dhoti pant – it is such a stylish silhouette from India and looks great when you wear it.


LUST LIST Limited edition sunglasses by Tom Ford. I’d have more on my list, but I just got the Rocco bag by Alexander Wang!

BIGGEST SPLURGE EVER So far, a Ferragamo bag. I’ve spent a lot on bags, but when you weigh all the factors, the Tom Ford sunglasses will be my biggest splurge when I get them – it’s a lot for a pair of sunglasses!

INDIAN DESIGNERS WHO BEST BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN EAST AND WEST Anamika Khanna, Rahul Mishra, Péro and Priyadarshini Rao.

FAVOURITE INDIAN MOTIF AND EMBROIDERY The lotus motif, without a doubt. Not really into embroidery, but if I had to choose, it would have to be Ari.

Structured asymmetrical dress, by Arjun Saluja, for Rishta; gold neckpiece, by Suhani Pittie; black spiked heels, from Aldo. Make-up by Nilofer Tabassum, Inglot.
Hair by Jeff Theibaut, Jean Claude Biguine.
Photograph by Ryan Martis.

SANA Rezwan
For being a vivacious entrepreneur and a fierce fashionista at the same time

THE ERA SHE WOULD HAVE LIKED TO HAVE LIVED IN I would love to have lived in the 1920s. I am a huge fan of the Art Deco and Surrealist movements.

RAF SIMONS OR ALEXANDER WANG Both are my favourites! I am going to say Alexander Wang, I feel loyal to my fellow New Yorker.

WEARING HEAVY INDIAN ENSEMBLES TO CANNES - ACCEPTABLE OR FAUX PAS? Faux-pas! But this does not necessarily mean wearing Indian clothing to Cannes isn’t. It just needs to be presented the right way.

ONE THING IN YOUR DRESSING YOU’VE NEVER TRIED BUT WISH TO SOMEDAY Talking about dhotis, I would love to try wearing one!

IF YOU WERE TO WALK THE RAMP YOUR SOUNDTRACK WOULD BE A song I heard at Naeem Khan’s Spring Summer 2014 runway show – Lee Foss & MK feat Anabel – Electricity.

DO FASHION CRITICS BOTHER YOU? Not at all, they help improve the way people dress.

YOUR NOMINATION FOR BEST-DRESSED Anamika Khanna always looks flawless, understated and fashion forward.

CURRENTLY CRUSHING ON Proenza Schouler! I want every piece from their Fall/Winter 2013 to Spring/Summer 2014 collections....

Graphic dress, by Mary Katrantzou ; chain necklace, from Mawi; silver heels, by Nicolas Kirkwood.
Photograph by Phoebe Vickers.

For re-inventing rock-chic over and over again


IS THE LBD OVERATED Never! But you need to make sure it is fresh and not the same old one you were wearing years ago!

THE BEST THING TO PAIR A SARI WITH A beautiful bejewelled belt.

YOUR STYLE JOURNEY My style for as long as I can remember has always been more rock-chic although as I am getting older it is becoming more feminine (but still keeping to my rock-chic roots).

TRENDS OR CLASSICS It would have to be trends. Although I love the classics, they don’t suit me.

YOUR DE-STRESS MANTRA Working out! It’s the only time I get to shut the rest of the world out....

RAF SIMONS OR ALEXANDER WANG Alexander Wang – very me!

DHOTI PANTS - ELEGANT OR RISQUÉ If you have nice long legs then it is elegant, if you are short I would say forget it!

HEAVY INDIAN ENSEMBLES AT CANNES - ACCEPTABLE OR A FAUX PAS Isn’t it uncomfortable? Wearing anything that resembles an Indian bridal outfit is not made for events like these.


Black top and leggings, by Nandita Basu; metallic cuff and belt, from Gas Bijoux; vintage brooches, from Second Floor Studio; wired cuff, by Olivia Dar; nude pumps, by Steve Madden; metallic ring, from personal collection.
Photograph by Manpreet Singh.
Location courtesy: Second Floor Studio, New Delhi.

For uninhibitedly being herself, uncaring about opinions

YOUR STYLE EVOLUTION I think I was born to be this way. Fashion is effortless to me. I eat, breath and sleep fashion so I guess it’s been in my veins since I was a baby....

YOUR DE-STRESS MANTRA Meditation is my saviour.

GIVEN A CHANCE WHICH ERA WOULD YOU HAVE LIKED TO LIVE IN That’s a difficult one but the Victorian and Industrial eras.


ONE THING IN YOUR DRESSING STYLE THAT YOU’VE NEVER TRIED BUT WISH TO SOME DAY Nothing. I am an experimental and curious person so I try to wear anything and everything.


THE IMPORTANCE OF FASHION CRITICS I don’t even care if they exist or not.

ONE THING YOU WISH INDIANS WOULDN’T DO VIS-A-VIS FASHION Be comfortable with your body and choose clothes that complement your personality and your body, not the other way around.


Blue and black dress, by Kanika Saluja, for Annaikka; oversized watch, from G-shock.
Photograph by Manpreet Singh.

ILA Chatterjee
For her quirky and individualistic style

STYLE SOULMATE Love Victoria Beckham’s style – never being at the mercy of every trend!

FAVOURITE FASHION MOMENT Being on a best-dressed list!

QUICK TRICKS TO ALTER THE LOOK OF THE SAME OUTFIT Accessorise differently, it can change the look of the outfit totally.

SARI ESCAPADES Feel like a princess whenever I wear a sari.

RECENT SPLURGE A stunning necklace from Marni.

SENTIMENTAL INHERITANCE A ruby brooch which I have now converted to a maang tikka.

COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE For me fishnet stockings are a big no-no!

STYLE SECRET THAT ALWAYS WORKS No matter where or what time of day… a good pair of blue denims and a well-tailored white shirt do the trick. My favourite label for white shirts is Anne Fontaine.

Embroidered ‘kedia’ top and harem pants, both by Sabyasachi Mukherjee; jadau necklace, by Raj Mehtani; golden wedge heels, from Prada.
Make-up by Nilofer Tabassum, Inglot.
Hair by Jeff Theibaut, Jean Claude Biguine.
Photograph by Ryan Martis.

IRA Dubey
For being a diminutive dynamite in every way

FAVOURITE DESIGNER FINDS IN THE PAST YEAR A beautiful Wendell Rodricks jumpsuit that I picked up in Goa when we were there for my mother’s 60th birthday. It’s so classic and versatile.

HOW WOULD YOU STYLE A SARI IN YOUR OWN WAY? I wore a sari from my school friend Ritika Mirchandani’s line to her show at Fashion Week – it was in a fusion of styles with monochrome blockprinting, and orange and gold, with a Chinese collared blouse with tiny cap sleeves.

ACCESSORY OF THE MOMENT Sunglasses always! Especially Tom Ford ones.

WOULD YOU DRESS UP YOUR DOG? No. All he needs is a collar saying he’s yours.

ONE OF YOUR MOTHER’S SARIS THAT YOU COVET A nude and black lace vintage sari that I’ve worn twice – I would love to get my hands on it.

A PERFECT DAY OF SHOPPING The Village in New York, with my sister – she’s the antithesis of me, but she’s the best person for taking a break with at an outdoor café. I’m a quick, focused shopper so usually I like doing it on my own.

FAVOURITE PRESENT A pair of diamond earrings that my mother gave me on my last birthday.

WHERE DOES IT STOP? I’d love to buy myself a Sabyasachi sari someday.

Peplum tweed skirt, from Command. A; white top, from Zeera; gold and white inner, from XOXO; gold pumps, by Michael Kors; steel and gold watch, from Cartier; gold earrings, from Santusti.
Make-up by Nilofer Tabassum, Inglot.
Hair by Jeff Theibaut, Jean Claude Biguine.
Photograph by Ryan Martis.

For inspiring us to wear more Indian fabrics, albeit in a modern way

FAVOURITE HEIRLOOM PIECE IN WARDROBE A couple of beautiful Kanjeevaram saris given to me by my mother. I still prefer to wear those over anything modern.

FAVOURITE SHOES THIS SEASON Classic pumps with wedge heels. I have them in six colours. They are so comfy I can run in them.

INDIAN SILHOUETTES OR WESTERN FABRICS? I like Indian fabrics, but I’m not a great fan of Indian shapes. My favourite will always be the sari.


FAVOURITE TRADITIONAL WEAVE I love Chanderi – it’s versatile and very luxe.

PIECE OF TRADITIONAL JEWELLERY THAT YOU WOULD WEAR WITH WESTERN CLOTHES I wear my traditional gold bangles with my jeans and T-shirt look, pretty much every day.

Printed jacket and black skirt, both by Sabyasachi; gold earrings, by Christian Lacroix; black wedge heels, from Tod’s.
Make-up by Nilofer Tabassum, Inglot.
Hair by Jeff Theibaut, Jean Claude Biguine.
Photograph by Ryan Martis.

PERNIA Qureshi
For making fresh sartorial statements season after season

STYLE SOULMATE Sonam Kapoor. She is a dear friend and both of us have extremely similar fashion aesthetics.

FAVOURITE FASHION MOMENT Working in this industry has been a learning curve. There have been too many unforgettable moments. One of them would definitely be the release of Aisha. It was life changing for me in terms of my career.

QUICK TRICKS TO ALTER THE LOOK OF THE SAME OUTFIT Take your outfit from day to night by just throwing on a blazer like the one by Namrata Joshipura, accessorise with statement earrings and slip into your highest heels.

A YOUNG DESIGNER YOU ARE IMPRESSED BY Masaba, Shivan & Narresh, Nikhil Thampi, Nishka Lulla, the list is endless. I feel all of these designers are making fresh and vibrant clothing which is very new and wearable.

SARI ESCAPADES I am coming up with my own line of saris this fall. I’m extremely excited to showcase my very first Indian-wear collection.

RECENT SPLURGE I recently got the Shibori cape, the off-white printed sari and the olive crushed silk sari by Anamika Khanna.

SENTIMENTAL INHERITANCE My mother’s wedding outfit. It is a very traditional Lucknowi farshia gharara. It was hand stitched by my grandmother and was passed down to me to wear and keep so I treasure it immensely and treat with utmost care.

COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE Ill-fitted clothes, too much make-up and over accessorising.

Printed blazer and shirt, by Pernia Qureshi for Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop; nude pumps, by Christian Louboutin;
white pants, from her personal collection.
Photograph by Manpreet Singh.

ALPA Poddar
For her clean and fresh approach to fashion

RAF SIMONS OR ALEXANDER WANG Alexander Wang because I love the ease of his cuts and his monochrome tone-on-tone colour palette.

DHOTI PANTS - ELEGANT OR RISQUÉ Elegant (à la Anamika!)

HEAVY INDIAN ENSEMBLES AT CANNES - ACCEPTABLE OR A FAUX PAS Faux pas definitely. I love heavy Indian ensembles for weddings, but the red carpet demands something more stylish than traditional!

SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU, BUT YOU WISH IT DID Head-to-toe prints. I think I’m too petite to carry this look but I love it on others.

FASHION CRITICS, A NECESSARY EVIL No, everyone’s a critic at the end of the day. It is the varied sensibilities of people that make dressing so diverse and keeps it interesting!

ONE THING YOU WISH INDIANS WOULDN’T DO Indian designers tend to be OTT sometimes. I like simplicity and the elegance of a beautiful cut.

YOUR NOMINATION FOR BEST-DRESSED Anamika Khanna, Alexa Chung and Gayatri Devi.

FASHION EXPERIMENT GONE WRONG Volume can be totally overwhelming... .

Red drape dress, from Calvin Klein; tan pumps, by Christian Louboutin; jadau jewellery, from her personal collection.
Photograph by Sudip Roy.

NEHA Dhupia
For having fun with her style

LAST GREAT FASHION FIND I went shopping in Seoul, South Korea, and I went crazy over the dresses and accessories. Everything is just so fashionable there and it doesn’t even have to be a high-end designer! I also love this boutique called Anokhi in Dhaka.

FAVOURITE FAMILY JEWELS I have a bracelet that my grandmother gave me – it is set with Basra pearls and is part of a set that includes chandelier earrings and a necklace. I don’t wear all of it together but it is something so classic and timeless.

FIRST DESIGNER SARI I didn’t have a single sari in my closet when I won the Miss India title, but then I received a whole wardrobe designed by Ritu Kumar! I still love the saris I got then and I think Ritu Kumar is still amazing.

COMFORT DRESSING MUST-HAVES When travelling I prefer white shirts, jeans and brogues, with a scarf that can immediately transform any look. And there has to be a big handbag.

FILM THAT INFLUENCED YOUR STYLE Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which taught me that pearls are a timeless classic.

MOST COMFORTABLE HEELS Always Louboutins – the classic courts.

LUSTING FOR The Marquise bag by Emilio Pucci!

MOST VERSATILE LINGERIE A nude coloured three-way bra.

Long jacket, by Drvv, white shorts and black top, both from Zara; druzy neck piece, from Curio Cottage.
Make-up and hair by Younten Tsomo.
Styling by Sohaya Misra (Chola).
Photograph by Rohan Shrestha.

ANUSHKA Manchanda
For being a fashion rock star, quite literally

FIRST MAJOR SPLURGE It was a white and grey, faux fur Marc Jacobs bomber jacket. I saw it at a trunk show and fell in love. It was just a few days before the results of Fear Factor would be announced, and I was in the final. I decided that if I won, I would get that jacket. I did and I did!

LUSTING FOR The long embroidered jacket and dhoti-ish pants from Anamika Khanna’s 2013 couture collection, Balenciaga’s cut-out boots, and a black Chanel Boy Bag with the chain strap.

MOST EMBARRASSING STYLE MEMORY Oh, I wish there weren’t any! I used to be a VJ and I’ve really experimented with my outfits. Picture a short pleated denim skirt, shimmery black leg warmers, high-heeled sandals and hair cut in more layers than an onion. I can’t even....!

SARI STYLE I have this picture on my phone of Bhavna Sharma in a black nine-yard silk sari from Abraham and Thakore’s AW 2010-11 collection, with the short pallu brought around to the front and secured with a leather belt. I’d love to do that in a military green.

CUSTOMISE TRADITIONAL JEWELLERY? I wouldn’t really. I love a nose ring with a thin chain attached from it and secured behind the ear, worn with basic black leather pants and a tank. Or a heavy silver Rajasthani necklace with it. These pieces are beautiful.

Embellished T-shirt, from Bershka; gold arm band, from Asos; leather cuff, from The Middle; leather pants, mang tikka, rings and chains, all from her personal collection.
Make-up by Nilofer Tabassum, Inglot.
Hair by Jeff Theibaut, Jean Claude Biguine.
Photograph by Ryan Martis.

SANAM Bakshi
For making classics look classier

MINIMALIST OR OTT Minimalist, but accessorised.

LABEL LOVER OR QUIRK COLLECTOR It is well-fitted and visually-appealing clothing that I enjoy most. I’m drawn toward quality is how I’d sum it up.

FASHION EXPERIMENT GONE WRONG No such thing but I don’t love very bold prints or ill-fitted clothes.

A SECRET SHOPPING PLACE IN INDIA YOU’VE DISCOVERED RECENTLY Priyal Bhartia who has been designing alongside her grandmother under the brand name Bina. They do both contemporary western and traditional Indian; with pretty hand woven floral embroidery. 1701 in Khan Market makes the cutest, most fashionable camera cases and clutches – very tasteful, great quality and funky as well.

FAVOURITE INDIAN DESIGN INSPIRATIONS Abu Sandeep, Patine, traditional heritage and heirloom saris – bandhani, chiffon as well as silk with a little bit of brocade.

IS THE LBD OVERRATED? Depends on the cut and style but I’d say it isn’t.


YOUR DE-STRESS MANTRA I like to resolve what’s bothering me by playing out the various possible scenarios. It helps to think things through in a concentrated and alert manner. Clarity in thought is the truest stress buster.

Black sheer and velvet dress, from Gucci; textured clutch, from Valentino; black heels, by Christian Louboutin.
Photograph by Manpreet Singh.

VIMMI Deepak
For taking designerwear and making it oh-so-wearable

MINIMALIST OR OTT Though I like to keep it simple and elegant, a dash of bling is always welcome.

LABEL LOVER OR QUIRK COLLECTOR I am a loyalist. There are some labels that I adore and swear by.


FASHION EXPERIMENT GONE WRONG There was a time I had coloured my hair with rich red streaks and it just didn’t work for me. I gave up the red-head look in 24 hours and went back to being a brunette!

AN INDIAN LABEL YOU’VE RECENTLY DISCOVERED My latest shopping destination is Ludhiana and I was pleasantly surprised with the collections I discovered there. I found a lovely Rimple & Harpreet Narula outfit to add to my wardrobe.

YOUNG INDIAN DESIGNERS IN YOUR CLOSET Some of them are refreshingly original like Aneeth Arora and Nachiket Barve.

YOUR STYLE EVOLUTION/JOURNEY I think today the fashion scenario is so fluid that many styles co-exist though I find myself leaning towards simple cuts, non-fussy designs and vibrant colours.

TRENDS OR CLASSICS One can never go wrong with classics. Having said that, my choice is usually comfort over trends.

Blue chiffon dress, by Gaurav Gupta; black pumps, from Zara; chandelier earrings, from her personal collection.
Photograph by Sukil Tarnas and Khushboo Agarwal.

For being a restaurateur with style

SIGNATURE STYLE Somewhere between androgynous, street and tailored simplicity.

A FASHION NO-NO Clothes that are too tight.

STYLE SECRET THAT ALWAYS WORKS A scarf, an oversized light sweater and the colour black.

CURRENT WARDROBE FAVOURITE A floor-length grey cotton dress and the rediscovery of a red silk cape from Paris that is eons old.

RECENT SPLURGE A mini cream-coloured Chloe bag from Harrods.

FAVOURITE FASHION ERA I love the 1920s. It was so sophisticated while being completely frivolous at the same time. I’m a huge fan of Josephine Baker and she was an absolute icon and in her prime during that time.

AN OVERDONE TREND Oversized headbands and headpieces. I’m totally done with faux punk rock studs as well.


WARDROBE STAPLES A tailored jacket and a favourite white blouse for each day of the week.

WARDROBE TREASURES I only buy things that I absolutely love; it is rare that I pick stuff up out of need or necessity. For instance, I admire the way Balenciaga fits me, the unbelievable craftsmanship of my Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla pieces and the originality of prints of a David Szeto piece.

SENTIMENTAL INHERITANCE A very vintage emerald ring that my grandmother gave me.

Navy blue asymmetrical top, from Bunglow 8; black jacket, from Balenciaga; white skirt, from Anthropologie (Silence + Noise).
Make-up by Marianna Mukuchyan, Anima Creative Management.
Hair by Toni & Guy Hair Meet Wardrobe.
Photograph by Vishesh Verma.

For taking a risk every single time and setting new standards

STANDOUT LOOK OF THE YEAR The Gucci dress she wore to Rakesh Roshan’s birthday party was great, but the fierce make-up with lightened eyebrows were worthy of a standing ovation.

TREND OF THE MOMENT She’s spoken about wanting to visit Kenya, and keeps the passion going with modernist tribal prints.


ACCESSORY OBSESSION Teeny little bags with hefty price tags – a twee Gucci Stirrup, 30-cm Birkins, and a Louis Vuitton mini tote, apart from clutches and minaudieres.

TO BE COMMENDED FOR Wearing Sabyasachi with minimum fuss.

KEEPING IT CASUAL Distressed denim and an insouciant expression.

COMMITMENT TO FASHION Shed four kilos off a frame with already enviable abs to fit into an unforgiving latex bodysuit for her role in Krrish 3.

Embellished bodysuit, by Falguni and Shane Peacock; embellished wedged heels, from Dolce and Gabanna.
Make-up and hair by Anil Chhinappa.
Photograph by R.Burman.

For her earthy and eclectic charm that she sports with utmost grace

YOUNG INDIAN DESIGNERS IN YOUR CLOSET Arjun Saluja, Shift, Eka, Payal Khandwala.

YOUR STYLE EVOLUTION I still experiment, but now I experiment with old things. I am very confident throwing an old shawl or a jacket over anything that I’m wearing. I am still a ‘non-shopper’, unless you take me to a shop that sells old clothes, where I get all glassy-eyed.

TRENDS OR CLASSICS Invest in classics and you will never run out of things to wear.

YOUR DE-STRESS MANTRA Getting lost in history and anthropology books, reading tech magazines, dreaming about Hogwarts.

AN ERA YOU WOULD LIKE TO LIVE IN I’m a history geek. So bring on the time machine and transport me anywhere!

RAF SIMONS OR ALEXANDER WANG That’s like asking me to choose between chocolate cake and black forest cake. One brings in the angles the other carries on the culture. They are both so amazing!

DHOTI PANTS - ELEGANT OR RISQUÉ Let’s not forget that dhoti pants have their origin in culture. They could be totally elegant if dealt with respect and paired with impactful pieces.

All jewellery, by Suhani Pittie; black pumps, from Aldo; textured dress, black bodysuit and vintage zari dupatta, all from her personal collection.
Make-up by Nilofer Tabassum, Inglot.
Hair by Jeff Theibaut, Jean Claude Biguine.
Photograph by Ryan Martis.

For wearing Balmain and the Bengali sari with equal panache

FAVOURITE INDIAN WEAVE OR EMBROIDERY The Patan Patola – the art of double ikat weaving and dancing colours always enthrall me.


FAVOURITE ACCESSORY THIS SEASON Multi-tasselled earrings of epic proportions by Dolce & Gabbana and Rag & Bone’s monochrome bags with flashes of green.

APART FROM THE USUAL WAY, HOW WOULD YOU DRAPE A SARI? Bengali style – think Meena Kumari in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam.

FAVOURITE FIND FROM THE PAST YEAR A vintage Balmain dress I picked up from Didier Ludot in Paris. Didier Ludot is vintage heaven.

SIGNATURE SHOPPING TIP I always shop alone!

‘Aari’ silver, gold, bronze sari and choli, both by Pratima Gaurav; antique ‘laadli’ earrings, gold ‘saankhla’ with uncut diamonds and ‘borla’ inspired ring, all from her personal collection.
Make-up by Nilofer Tabassum, Inglot.
Hair by Jeff Theibaut, Jean Claude Biguine.
Photograph by Ryan Martis.

For being unabashedly Indian and doing it with panache

YOUR STYLE JOURNEY We live in a country of amazing textiles and textures, therefore of late I find myself adding one piece of either textile, shawl, antique silver ornament to anything I wear; either Indian or Western.

YOUR DE-STRESS MANTRA I resort to detoxing through exercise, pranayam, nature, golf or travel. Retreating into silence and self-introspection also helps.

ATTIRE ABROAD AT EVENTS LIKE THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL At international events I think it’s important to reflect one’s heritage and the immense talent that is at our disposal. However, lately I find that dressing has become too contrived often making a parody of our costumes instead of them looking naturally beautiful and flowing.

ONE THING YOU’VE NEVER TRIED BUT WISH TO SOMEDAY I want to be fit enough to wear a two piece on the beach!

THE IMPORTANCE OF FASHION CRITICS I welcome fashion critics if they come from a place of being well informed and unbiased.

ONE THING YOU WISH INDIANS SHOULDN’T DO VIS-A-VIS FASHION As Indians we should refrain from blindly adding bling to every outfit.

BEST FASHION ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE SOMEONE Always remember – less is more.

YOUR NOMINATION FOR BEST-DRESSED I admire the dressing of Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi, Sunita Kohli, Radhika Kapoor, Raseel Gujral and Sanjna Kapoor to name a few.

Anarkali suit with gota detailing, by Simar Dugal; gold earrings, from Vistaara.
Photograph by Manpreet Singh.

SANAYA Mehta Vyas
For giving Indian-wear a contemporary twist

YOUNG INDIAN DESIGNERS IN YOUR CLOSET Vizyon, Suhani Pittie, Pheedes, Minaxi, Eina Ahluwalia.

IS THE LBD OVERRATED I think the Little White Dress is totally underrated!

THE BEST THING TO PAIR A SARI WITH Saris have never been so much fun now that Anamika Khanna has come up with a million ways to wear them.

YOUR STYLE QUOTIENT I like to mix classics with contemporary. Or just wear a classic outfit in a contemporary way with interesting jewellery and accessories.



GIVEN A CHANCE WHICH ERA WOULD YOU HAVE LIKED TO LIVE IN The 1920s was such a wonderful era. It was, for me, fashion at its romantic best.


DHOTI PANTS - ELEGANT OR RISQUÉ Very elegant specially the high-waisted ones.

Crushed kurta and pants, both by Anamika Khanna; metal neckpiece earrings and bracelet, all by Suhani Pittie; black clutch and flats, by Alexander McQueen.
Photograph by Sudip Roy.

For making you realise that simple can look stunning

SIGNATURE BEAUTY MOVE The sparkle in her eyes and lips that go from pretty in pink to mysterious in maroon.

KNOWN FOR The best legs in the business.

FREQUENTLY SEEN IN Zara and Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna.

FASHION FORMULA Goes from girl-next-door, complete with gamine pony tail, to sultry, gowned goddess, with the glossy updo to match.

DEPARTURE FROM FORMULA Loves a bit of sparkle. Or a lot.

STYLE SURPRISE Sees no need to totter around in heels – has an impressive collection of flats.

Net crochet top, from Zara; leather bodysuit, from her personal collection.
Make-up by Puneet B Saini.
Hair by Gabriel Georgiou from Anima Creative Management.
Styling by Allia Al Rufai.
Photograph by Prasad Naik.

KALKI Koechlin
For her unconcerned, quirky sense of fashion. And her enviable midriff

WILL NEVER WEAR An animal print leotard.


SENTIMENTAL INHERITANCE My paternal grandmother was very stylish and a model when young. She introduced me to style when I was 14 and had tons of cool stuff from the ’50s. I particularly love this burgundy-coloured velvet suit with big, puffy shoulders.

BANISH FROM BOLLYWOOD Sequins! My eyes are getting blinded!

FAVOURITE FASHION MOMENT Last year, in Cannes, when I wore Sabyasachi with a headpiece. It felt very elegant and original.

INTIMIDATED BY THE FASHION OF…. New York. I went for the first time this summer. Everyone looked stunning…so effortlessly cool, straight out of a magazine cover.

SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU…. I have fat ankles and chubby calves. No matter how much I run, it’s like God put cotton in them. Sabyasachi’s tight churidars simply won’t fit!

PLANNED DRESSER OR NOT? Not! I am a designer’s nightmare – I call them 24 hours before my appearance…asking for something amazing.

QUICK TRICKS TO ALTER THE LOOK OF THE SAME OUTFIT One popping out colour – red or pink shoes; a jacket; a bright bag. And I love hats! While I don’t much care for jewellery, I have one statement piece – a big Mother Mary cross, that’s like a piece of clothing in itself.

INDIVIDUAL DRESSING VERSUS TRENDS You can’t escape trends. It helps you discover new things – but it shouldn’t make you uncomfortable. And yet, your personality comes out in your styling – people judge you by the way you dress.

FAVOURITE DRESSING UP SONG OF THE MOMENT Bad Girls by MIA. It’s such a cool video – really gets me going.

A YOUNG DESIGNER YOU ARE IMPRESSED BY Nimish Shah. At his recent show, I loved his opening outfit – a burgundy velvet dress with white lace.


SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU, BUT YOU WISH IT DID Sporty clothes, tracksuits…I wish I could be like Eminem!

SARI ESCAPADES I wear a lot more saris than people know – in my theatre circle. I like hand-woven, khadi and natural fabric.

SOMETHING NEW IN YOUR WARDROBE An army jacket with big pockets from Zara.

Beige block print sari, from Fabindia; black crop top, from Mango; black heels, from Dior;
vintage necklace and ring, both from her personal collection.
Make-up by Marianna Mukuchyan, Anima Creative Management.
Hair by Toni & Guy Hair Meet Wardrobe.
Photograph by Vishesh Verma.

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