Chic Interview: Arjun Bhasin takes Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara on a fashion trip

For costume designer Arjun Bhasin,  Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) was perhaps a mammoth project. It’s a movie with five carefully-etched leads that demand diverse looks—clothes, accessories, the works. What’s more, the cast is fashionable and near the top of the Bollywood ladder—Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin.

Currently working on Life of Pi, Arjun Bhasin talks to Speaking Chic Costume designer Arjun Bhasin for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaraabout working with Farhan and Zoya Akhtar, and shares the various fashion stories playing in the movie.

You have worked on earlier movie projects with Farhan and Zoya Akhtar as well as the actors. How different was the experience with them this time?
For ZNMD, the entire setup was different—we were shooting in Spain, and working with a smaller crew. Hence a  lot of the work and styling was much more organic– we were all grabbing things and working at a completely difference pace. But Zoya and I know each other well and I know exactly what she wants. As for the lead actors, I’ve worked with three of them earlier [Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol], and I wanted to put new spins on them, especially Farhan and Hrithik.

The three male lead actors Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol are all stylish in their own way. Hrithik, for instance, is a style icon, How difficult was it for you to try something new with them?
Not at all. Actors like to change and try different things–hair style, clothes, looks etc. Also, I always let the script and characterisation dictate what an actor should wear. So if the same character would be played by another actor, I would keep the same clothes/ look.


ZNMD is your first movie project with Kalki Kechlin and Katrina Kaif. What are the distinct looks have you created for them?
Kalki Koechlin plays a spoilt rich girl who’s into high fashion. Kalki has such an amazing fashion body—she can carry off jumpsuits with heels, and short dresses. I wanted her to be a bit free, while being a bit overdressed. Her dressing is also a kind of tongue-in-cheek joke on fashion.

Katrina Kaif is an island girl and loves to mix and match. So she could combine a long dress from a street market with a blazer and boots, or carry off a sadhu necklace at a beach.

ZNMD actors- Hrithik Roshan, Farhan AKhtar, Abhay Deol

Which brands are the actors wearing in the movie? Being a stylish movie, which clothes and accessories should fashion lovers look out for (such as the Lady Dior in Aisha)?
The brands in the movie are chosen because they met our specific clothing and accessory needs.
For instance, Hrithik is wearing Tod’s and Bottega Veneta. He has an amazing look with lots of supershort cropped shirts, and especially when he lands at Barcelona airport—chambray shirt, trench coat and lace-up shoes.

Farhan’s character is a bit different, so he could be wearing Dior sunglasses and a kurta from Mumbai’s Managaldas market. Abhay (as Kabir) plays with colours so he’s got a lot of Paul Smith, which he pairs with slim pants from Etro.

Even though Kalki’s character Natasha is into high fashion, I’ve used a lot of high street wear and made it look like high fashion. Her clothes are from brands like Miss Sixty, and she’s wearing a Diesel jumpsuit. But her bag is from Tod’s, and you’ll also see her Hermes Kelly bag (which has a character of its own in the movie!).

Zindagi na milegi dobara poster

Which are your favourite looks from the movie?
I absolutely love Farhan and Katrina’s looks in the movie, since the are closest to my personal style, it’s kinda hippy. For example, Farhan wears kolhapuris with a suit!

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara releases July 15, 2011.

Chic Insider: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara looks decoded!

Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin—the cast of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) have been rocking the promos and we’re enjoying what we see (fashion-wise)—from Farhan’s hats, Kalki’s sleek bangs, to Katrina’s free-spirited vibe.

Zindagi na milegi dobara poster

Curious about the five looks, we spoke to the styling team of ZNMD for a better perspective on the characters and how their traits translate into their screen persona. Arjun Bhasin, the costume designer for ZNMD explained the fashion looks while Osh Bhabani, Avan Contractor and Walter Dorairaj (the b:blunt stylists), told us the story behind the hair styles.

Here’s what the experts tell us (Fashion by Arjun Bhassin, Hair by b:blunt team):

Abhay Deol as Kabir
Fashion: Kabir is a funky rich kid with a sense of humour, so his personality and clothes are colourful!
Hair:  Being a rich guy, Kabir’s look is strong and edgy. So we’ve given him a lot of texture that’s fashionable, classy and tasteful.

Hrithik Roshan as Arjun
Fashion: Hrithik (as Arjun) is a chic London investment banker who’s bit of a control freak so his clothes are tailored,controlled, crisp and perfect.
Hair: Arjun’s character starts off almost straitjacketed. He’s a perfectionist which reflects in his style, though he becomes more relaxed after he meets Laila (Katrina). His hair style goes from smooth and and sophisticated to casual.

Farhan Akhtar as Imraan
Fashion: Imraan’s a bohemian, eclectic, romantic poet. So he’s bit of a hippy  and that reflects in his wardrobe—so he wears a kurta from a local market with designer sunglasses.
Hair: Imraan is effortless, fresh and lively, so the hair style is boho-inspired and has got a boyish feel. We’ve played with Farhan’s natural movement and texture, going from wavy to curly.

(Below: b:blunt stylist Avan Contractor working on Farhan Akhtar’s hair on the sets of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara).

Farhan Akhtar hair style in Zindagi na milegi dobara

Kalki Koechlin as Natasha
Fashion: Kalki is a super spoilt rich girl from Mumbai, hot on the trail of designers with kickass bags and shoes.
Hair: Natasha is very chic and classy. Totally inspired by designer outfits, her look just screams expensive!

(Below: b:blunt stylist Walter Dorairaj styling Kalki Koechlin’s hair while shooting for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara).

Kalki Koechlin hair stylie in Zindagi na milegi dobara

Katrina Kaif as Laila
Fashion: Katrina Kaif as Laila is a bohemian traveller and an island girl. She buys beautiful clothes everywhere and mixes them up. She’s not a designer girl—she more casual and sexy, and has a got a “Kate Moss” vibe.
Hair: Laila is a free spirit  and “live in the moment”  kind of girl. Since she has born and brought up abroad, she is very modern and boho, which translates into her hair style through beautiful movement, textured feel and the longish length.

Which look do you like the most?

Coming soon: In-depth look at the fashion in Zindagi na milegi dobara with costume designer Arjun Bhasin.

Chic Alert: It’s sales season again!

It’s July, and it’s time for bargain hunting at the monsoon sales in almost every store across India. So break your piggybank, demand a salary/ pocket money hike, and hit the mall like there’s no tomorrow.

For our shopaholics’ convenience, here’s a list of fashion stores/ brands on sale. Print it out, mark your preferences and carry it with you to the mall. Tick off your list as you dole out the cash.

Clothes (stand-alone brands/ designers)

  1. AND
  2. Global Desi
  3. Anita Dongre
  4. Ranna Gill
  5. Globus: 40% off
  6. Ed Hardy: Up to 50% off
  7. Zara
  8. H&A
  9. Chemistry: up to 50% off
  10.   Promod: up to 50% off
  11.   Latin Quarters: up to 60% off
  12. French Connection: flat 30% off for men, up to 50% off for women

Lingerie

  1. La Senza: up to 50% off

Accessories

  1. Nine West: 40-60% off
  2. Charles & Keith: up to 30% off
  3. Reebok: Flat 40% off
  4. Citywalk: 50% off

reebok sale

Multi-brand/ designer stores

  1. Mogra: up to 80% off
  2. Re: up to 70% off
  3. Ensemble: up to 70% off; from July 7-9, 2011

Jeans/ casual wear

  1. Lee: up to 50% off
  2. Pepe Jeans: up to 60% off
  3. Levi’s

Beauty (Special Offer)

b:blunt’s Monsoon Manicure Madness: every new customer gets a complimentary manicure. Existing customers can recommend a friend and get a free mani.

Have a great shopping weekend!

Chic ideas: Monsoon must-haves, rainy day accessories

The moody south-west monsoon seems to have finally settled down, and has promised to bring with it plenty of shower spells. So now that rainy days are here to stay (for a while at least), gear yourself up with Speaking Chic’s monsoon must-haves.

Rain wear

Umbrellas should be your best friends for the next few months. Those who can’t deal with upturned and flyaway umbrellas can opt for stylish windcheaters instead. Stay safe and odour-free with quick-dry fabrics, especially at office.

And if you’re in a fun/ romantic/ playful/ brave mood, don a chiffon sari and dance in the rain with your special someone. 😉

rain wear- umbrella, windcheater

1- Windcheater jacket with biker elements and utility flaps from Kunal Rawal.

2- Stormwear chinos from Marks & Spencer

3- Red umbrella from Zara

4- Animal print umbrella from Marks & Spencer

5- Polka dot umbrella from Zara

6- Kareena Kapoor and Aamir Khan in a still from 3 Idiots

Monsoon accessories

Whether you manage to stay dry or not, your Blackberry needs to be moisture-free at all times. So carry waterproof bags and purses at all times. Glossy finishes are especially trendy this monsoon. Your shoes must be comfy and non-slip, and get into cute gum boots for a few fun splashes.

Monsoon accessories- bags and shoes

1-Frame bag from Esbeda (Color Splash collection)

2- Shoes from Catwalk (Drops of Joy collection)

3- Beach crocs in lime

4- Bag from Marks & Spencer

5- Clutch from Miss Sixty

6- Gum boots from Tresmode

What’s your monsoon must-have?

Lakme Fashion Week update: New models, GenNext designers for Winter/Festive 2011

Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2011 is still a while away, but preps for Mumbai’s biggest fashion event are in full swing. Speaking Chic brings you mid-season updates from LFW W/F 2011.

GenNext and Emerging designers for LFW W/F 2011
To start with, the list of debut Gen Next designers is out. The designers/ teams are from around the world—from Nagpur to Vancouver! Here are the lucky eight:

  • Farah Sanjana from Nagpur
  • Mohammed Javed Khan from Bangalore
  • Nikhil Thampi from Mumbai
  • Shashank Raj & Prajwal Badwe from New Delhi
  • Siddharth Arya from Mumbai
  • Theresa James & Roger Prince from Vancouver
  • Thinles Chosdup & Niranjana Adhya from Noida
  • Urmi Ghosh from Kolkata

Meanwhile, the emerging designers line-up has some familiar names, including Shivaji Dutta, Anna Liza Ganguly/ Anita Walia and Pam & Arch. A glimpse of the GenNext show from the previous season (Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2011):

GenNext Designers at LFW SR 2011

Nine new faces on ramp for LFW W/F 2011
Earlier this week, an LFW jury selected nine new models to walk the ramp this upcoming season.

Ta-da!!

New faces of Lakme Fashion Week-(L-R) Keren SilveirraKaren LimaXamira MohlmannNoelia BarreiroDiana LobodaMariia CherniakovychSweta DolliNijhum Pat

Check them out (pun intended!) from left to right: Keren Silveirra, Karen Lima, Xamira Mohlmann, Noelia Barreiro, Diana Loboda, Mariia Cherniakovych, Sweta Dolli, Nijhum Patra and Mitali Rannorey.

The long-legged lasses impressed the jury comprising choreographers Anu Ahuja and Marc Robinson, designer Aki Narula, photographers Prasad Naik and Vishesh Verma, Monikangkana Datta, Anil Chopra (CEO- Lakme Lever) and Anjana Sharma (Director- Fashion IMG Reliance).

Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2011 will run from August 16 to August 21, 2011 in Mumbai.

Chic accessory trend: Cross-body bags for casual, smart, dressy (and all other) looks

Here’s one fashion trend that’s high on style and function. Cross-body purses are cute and stylish, and they’re also the Bluetooth of bags (they keep your hands free).

And because they come in whatever style you want them to, we suggest you make a cross-body bag your best friend for the next few months.

Here’s our pick of some cool cross-body bags to go with a variety of looks:

Casual

Take your pick of colour and embellishment to go with your jeans and tee.

Below: Ballestero cross-body bag from Aldo; Ambrosiana from Hidesign.

Aldo Ballestero crossbodybagHidesign Ambrosiana02

Satchel

Great for college or work, these spacious cross-body bags with extra pockets and buckles are great to dump your wallet, keys and makeup kit!

Below: Glasto linen satchel from French Connection; City bound foldover convertible cross-body satchel from Nine West

French Connection Glasto Linen Satchel Nine West City Bound Foldover Convertible Cross Body

Dressy

Shiny, embellished or printed—match (or clash) your evening or day dress with a eye-catching sling bag or miaudière.

Below: Poppy Love clutchbox from French Connection; Party box animal minaudière; Patent shoulder bag from Zara

French Connection Poppy Love clutchbox Nine West Party Box Animal Minaudiere Zara patent shoulder bag

So which bag is your pick?

Chic accessory trend: Cross-body bags for casual, smart, dressy (and all other) looks

Here’s one fashion trend that’s high on style and function. Cross-body purses are cute and stylish, and they’re also the Bluetooth of bags (they keep your hands free).

And because they come in whatever style you want them to, we suggest you make a cross-body bag your best friend for the next few months.

Here’s our pick of some cool cross-body bags to go with a variety of looks:

Casual

Take your pick of colour and embellishment to go with your jeans and tee.

Below: Ballestero cross-body bag from Aldo; Ambrosiana from Hidesign.

Aldo Ballestero crossbodybagHidesign Ambrosiana02

Satchel

Great for college or work, these spacious cross-body bags with extra pockets and buckles are great to dump your wallet, keys and makeup kit!

Below: Glasto linen satchel from French Connection; City bound foldover convertible cross-body satchel from Nine West

French Connection Glasto Linen Satchel Nine West City Bound Foldover Convertible Cross Body

Dressy

Shiny, embellished or printed—match (or clash) your evening or day dress with a eye-catching sling bag or miaudière.

Below: Poppy Love clutchbox from French Connection; Party box animal minaudière; Patent shoulder bag from Zara

French Connection Poppy Love clutchbox Nine West Party Box Animal Minaudiere Zara patent shoulder bag

So which bag is your pick?

Chic Insider: Big B’s Bbuddah… fashion story (by stylist Leepakshi Ellawadi)

If you’ve seen Amitabh Bachchan in the promos of the upcoming movie Bbuddah… hoga terra baap, you’ve seen his brand-new look: bold, striking, even quirky. There are bright colours, eye-catching prints and funky accessories (think green glares and yellow scarf).

Bbuddah hoga terra baap stylist Leepakshi Ellawadi Leepakshi Ellawadi, a sub-30 Mumbai-based fashion designer is behind the much-talked-about look. Her creativity has come full circle since her days in NIFT Bangalore, where she won the Best Design Collection award for her Hindi film-inspired collection (starring mostly Amitabh Bachchan).

As costume stylist for Big B in Bbuddah…, Leepakshi has come a very long way in a very short time. In an interview with Speaking Chic, Leepakshi narrates the story behind the fashion and costumes of Mr Bachchan in the movie.

Understanding Amitabh Bachchan’s character
The director Puri Jagannadh didn’t tell me the kind of look he wanted for the movie’s lead character. All I got were some CDs with his dialogues and character sketch. Mr Bachchan’s character is an ex-gangster in India for a mission. He’s sarcastic, outlandish and likes to be the centre of attention. Most importantly, he doesn’t believe he’s old, and doesn’t like being called “Bbuddah”.

Peeking into Amitabh Bachchan’s wardrobe
The first-look trial with Mr Bachchan went well. I discovered that he’s experimental and open to new ideas, and was surprised with the range of garments and accessories in his wardrobe. I absolutely loved his pair of tiger-print jeans which is nothing less than a work of art.

Costume concepts
Mr Bachchan and I sat together to discuss every scene of Bbuddah… hoga terra baap. As we evolved the looks, I realised that I needed to strike a balance between the character’s flamboyance and the essence of the scene.

Amitabh Bachchan in Bbuddah hoga terra baapSo even though I’ve experimented with colours and prints, I used mix and match, pairing the brights with more subdued tones. We needed to make sure everything’s in sync and nothing clashes. Even the inner linings of jackets are reds and greens. We teamed prints with contrasting shirts. For example, I’ve used a bright turquoise and shirt with a black body.

 

Shopping with Mr Bachchan
Mr Bachchan and I went shopping for the movie in London for 10 days, my look sheets in hand. He helped me a lot, telling me what he liked, even as people asked him for autographs and pictures.

We shopped at Harrod’s, Armani, Burberry, Tom Ford, Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, Gucci and Etro.

Amitabh Bachchan in Bbuddah hoga terra baap Amitabh Bachchan in Bbuddah hoga terra baap

About the famous glares—several of them are Mr Bachchan’s personal collection, handmade and handcrafted, and cost around Rs 15-20 lakh each. [Speaking Chic note: OMG, really?] I also used my personal collection of Pucci and Etro scarves that I’ve garnered over the years. and Mr Bachchan’s personal collection of watches in the movie.

Prints galore!
Amitabh Bachchan in Bbuddah hoga terra baap1

Print-on-print is bang on trend right now, and Mr Bachchan wanted me to make some such pieces. I had some fabric from Chennai lying with me, so I made a piece for him. (He’s wearing that piece in Rang barse in the movie.)  The prints are mostly florals and paisleys and “engineered” prints.

The Big B experience
Leepakshi Ellawadi with Amitabh Bachchan for Bbuddah hoga terra baapIt has been an amazing experience working with Amitabh Bachchan—like living a dream. Early on in the shoot, when I’d knot Mr Bachchan’s scarf, my hands would shake. One day he grabbed my hand and asked why they shook. “It’s you!” I replied.

Thanks to Amitabh Bachchan for being so patient and stylish—he’s anyway so stylish,  he made my job a cakewalk!

Bbuddah… hoga terra baap releases July 1, 2011.

Chic Insider: Big B’s Bbuddah… fashion story (by stylist Leepakshi Ellawadi)

If you’ve seen Amitabh Bachchan in the promos of the upcoming movie Bbuddah… hoga terra baap, you’ve seen his brand-new look: bold, striking, even quirky. There are bright colours, eye-catching prints and funky accessories (think green glares and yellow scarf).

Bbuddah hoga terra baap stylist Leepakshi Ellawadi Leepakshi Ellawadi, a sub-30 Mumbai-based fashion designer is behind the much-talked-about look. Her creativity has come full circle since her days in NIFT Bangalore, where she won the Best Design Collection award for her Hindi film-inspired collection (starring mostly Amitabh Bachchan).

As costume stylist for Big B in Bbuddah…, Leepakshi has come a very long way in a very short time. In an interview with Speaking Chic, Leepakshi narrates the story behind the fashion and costumes of Mr Bachchan in the movie.

Understanding Amitabh Bachchan’s character
The director Puri Jagannadh didn’t tell me the kind of look he wanted for the movie’s lead character. All I got were some CDs with his dialogues and character sketch. Mr Bachchan’s character is an ex-gangster in India for a mission. He’s sarcastic, outlandish and likes to be the centre of attention. Most importantly, he doesn’t believe he’s old, and doesn’t like being called “Bbuddah”.

Peeking into Amitabh Bachchan’s wardrobe
The first-look trial with Mr Bachchan went well. I discovered that he’s experimental and open to new ideas, and was surprised with the range of garments and accessories in his wardrobe. I absolutely loved his pair of tiger-print jeans which is nothing less than a work of art.

Costume concepts
Mr Bachchan and I sat together to discuss every scene of Bbuddah… hoga terra baap. As we evolved the looks, I realised that I needed to strike a balance between the character’s flamboyance and the essence of the scene.

Amitabh Bachchan in Bbuddah hoga terra baapSo even though I’ve experimented with colours and prints, I used mix and match, pairing the brights with more subdued tones. We needed to make sure everything’s in sync and nothing clashes. Even the inner linings of jackets are reds and greens. We teamed prints with contrasting shirts. For example, I’ve used a bright turquoise and shirt with a black body.

 

Shopping with Mr Bachchan
Mr Bachchan and I went shopping for the movie in London for 10 days, my look sheets in hand. He helped me a lot, telling me what he liked, even as people asked him for autographs and pictures.

We shopped at Harrod’s, Armani, Burberry, Tom Ford, Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, Gucci and Etro.

Amitabh Bachchan in Bbuddah hoga terra baap Amitabh Bachchan in Bbuddah hoga terra baap

About the famous glares—several of them are Mr Bachchan’s personal collection, handmade and handcrafted, and cost around Rs 15-20 lakh each. [Speaking Chic note: OMG, really?] I also used my personal collection of Pucci and Etro scarves that I’ve garnered over the years. and Mr Bachchan’s personal collection of watches in the movie.

Prints galore!
Amitabh Bachchan in Bbuddah hoga terra baap1

Print-on-print is bang on trend right now, and Mr Bachchan wanted me to make some such pieces. I had some fabric from Chennai lying with me, so I made a piece for him. (He’s wearing that piece in Rang barse in the movie.)  The prints are mostly florals and paisleys and “engineered” prints.

The Big B experience
Leepakshi Ellawadi with Amitabh Bachchan for Bbuddah hoga terra baapIt has been an amazing experience working with Amitabh Bachchan—like living a dream. Early on in the shoot, when I’d knot Mr Bachchan’s scarf, my hands would shake. One day he grabbed my hand and asked why they shook. “It’s you!” I replied.

Thanks to Amitabh Bachchan for being so patient and stylish—he’s anyway so stylish,  he made my job a cakewalk!

Bbuddah… hoga terra baap releases July 1, 2011.

Chic OMGs: Venus Williams in lace jumpsuit at Wimbledon, Sephora coming to India?

In yet another tennis fashion disaster of the Venus Williams kind (ahem!), the American player has got fashion critics wagging about her new on-court outfit. Here’s what it looks like:

DV_To_Getty_5044692_0 venus williams jumpsuit back

The outfit is a very low neck sheer lace jumpsuit (or playsuit, as some would say) with a gold zipper in front, crest on the upper left, coordinated innerwear, and cut-out sleeves and back. Accessories are dangling earrings and a superthin belt.

And then the lady says:

“Right now I’m really trending towards simplicity. I’m not sure why. It’s just how I feel right now. Everything is getting more simple.”

Really?

We’re not anti-trends, and while we think a lace jumpsuit is actually quite sporty cool, we don’t like:

a) Its presence on the tennis court (sheer is a look ALL sportspersons should avoid.)

b) Trying to make making it work too hard with too many trends

c) The cut-outs are a bit too glam to be on a tennis court

Not sure how long it will take us to get over this one.

Sephora coming to India?

Ladies, we’re not sure when this will happen, but the corporate grapevine has it that LVMH is in talks with Reliance Brands to bring Sephora (one of our favourite beauty stores) to India. (FYI: LVMH owns Louis Vuitton, Sephora and a gazillion other fashion and beauty brands). They’re even scouting for store locations!

It’s been a while since Reliance Brands jumped on to the retail bandwagon, tying up with foreign brands and retailers interested in paving their path to India. Cases in point: Diesel, Steve Madden and Timberland.

No news yet of how long this will take to materialise (if it does at all), so keep your fingers crossed! Meanwhile, here’s couple of photos of my recent Sephora makeup haul:

Sephora makeup haul

NARS blush from Sephora