STYLE STORY: The Mexican drug lord’s “narco” shirt

When Sean Penn’s interview with (then fugitive) Mexican drug lord El Chapo Guzmán (or just “El Chapo”) was made public, it was sensational news around the world. Accompanying the news was a picture of El Chapo shaking Sean Penn’s hand, wearing a printed blue shirt. And then, El Chapo’s shirt was suddenly in demand. But who designed that shirt? And where is it from? This feature from El Pais (a Spanish newspaper) has the answers. Don’t just read it to know about the brand and the designer—think about the bigger picture here. It’s a fascinating story that began with religious persecution, then immigration, and is truly symbolic of globalization, international trade and the fascinating times we live in. It left me amazed (and amused!).

El Chapo in blue shirt with Sean Penn

I’ve translated important sections of the feature from Spanish (without help from Google Translate). Read on for an enlightening story about the famous “narco” shirt:

Last Saturday, while thousands of people were looking at a photo of actor Sean Penn and El Chapo Guzmán and wondering where it was shot, what they discussed or who took the photo, Sam Esteghball was focused on something else: the shirt that El Chapo was wearing was his. That is to say, the design. Esteghball is the owner of the shop Barabas in Los Angeles, and he had been inundated with emails from customers who had recognised the print and it seemed like they wanted to buy it.

Since then, orders have flooded this family business that creates its own designs and manufactures in China. “We have thousands of requests that we cannot fulfill [yet], but we are manufacturing more,” says Sam Esteghball in the store. They placed an order for a few hundreds of the shirts, like they do with all their designs, to sell them through exhibitions and to see how they do in the market. They did not imagine instant success.

Right now they are sold out, but Sam assures that he’s been requested [the shirts] for exhibition sales. If one makes an online request, rest assured, the shirts will be here in two weeks. On the internet, there are two shirts El Chapo was wearing- one in the photo, the second in the video.

At the entrance of the store the shirt from the photo with Sean Penn is clearly displayed, light blue with darker vertical bands and twig motifs, 100% cotton. It costs $128 in stores, a price that is cheap for this fashion line, according to Esteghball, who assures that it hasn’t risen this week. Sam defines the line’s style as “fantasy”, but the Mexicans know it as “norteño” [Mexican street gang] or “narco” [drugs]. Not exactly. The correct word in Los Angeles for that style is flamboyant. Flashy, ostentatious, garish, that calls for attention. That description is flawless.

Barabas is a small store in the well-known “fashion district” in Los Angeles, a euphemism that conceals a sea of warehouses and alleys where clothing business by most of the world and for the world is negotiated. In September 2014, the FBI confirmed that it was the epicenter of drug money laundering.

Photos of famous people posing in their clothes adorn the walls of the Barabas store in the city centre (there are two locations). You can assume right away that they have special success in the world of Mexican street gangs: Goyo Gastelum, Andrés Márquez El Macizo, La Banda Jerez, Jorge Gamboa, Javier Rosas y El Komander pose with their designs leaving from the store.

“That culture came to us, not the other way round,” assures Esteghball. He started the business with his brother nine years ago and it was around two years ago, he says, that he realized that the “narco culture” world had adopted his shirts, bright pants and safari jackets like those of his brand. They began to be copied by some of the others, he says. One enters Barabas and can leave dressed like El Komander in 10 minutes. They sell clothes to 5000 retailers around the world, which is why Sam says he had no idea where El Chapo bought his shirt, one of the richest men in the world, who could choose Armani, visible from Barabas.

The five members of the Esteghball family migrated to California 16 years ago from Shiraz, Iran. They are Jewish and the situation had become very difficult for minorities during the regime of the ayatollahs. Around a million Iranians live in Los Angeles- it’s the largest exile community of Iran in the world, to the point that there is an area called Teheángeles. The sons got into the fashion business because it was what their father did in Shiraz. El Chapo wears narco shirts designed by Iranian immigrants and made in China. That’s what the Republican candidates don’t notice.

 

Picture courtesy: Rolling Stone

INSTANT STYLE: Get Jacqueline’s looks from Roy now!

In her latest film Roy Jacqueline Fernandes plays a double role with each character dressed in a distinct style. Here are both the looks decoded, and how you can get them.

Jacqueline Fernandes as Ayesha Aamir, film-maker

Jacqueline Fernandes in Roy

Clothes and accessories

This bohemian film-maker loves her crop tops, loose blouses and shorts (she is in sunny Malaysia, after all). Her accessories of choice? Geeky glasses (they come on and off), stacks of bracelets and open sandals. She also accessorises with dangling earrings or the quirky-cute studs. And oh, the few times she’s at work, she’s in a comfortable cotton shirt.

Hair and makeup

Jacqueline’s hair is coloured and carefully unkempt to complement her boho look. Makeup is minimal in a number of scenes though sometimes you will spot a hint of lip colour.

Jacqueline Fernandes in Roy

Get the Look

Girls on Film rose print crop top available on Koovs.com

Floral crop top

Denim shorts from Elle

Elle denim shorts

White open sandals from Footin

Footin Metallic Flats (White)

Necklace and cuff from Ayesha Accessories

Ayesha accessories cuff & necklace

Jacqueline Fernandes as Tia, socialite

Jacqueline Fernandes in Roy

Clothes and accessories

This uber-rich socialite lives in a mansion by herself and has classy style- elegant flattering dresses, crisp white shirt with skinny jeans with killer heels and silk scarves. Her go-to jewellery pieces are her gold and diamond studs.

Hair and makeup

Jacqueline’s bold red lips are the most prominent feature of her “Tia” look, followed by her volumised blow-dried hair.

Jacqueline Fernandes in Roy

Get the Look

Dress from Dorothy Perkins available on Jabong.com

Dress for Dorothy Perkins on Jabong

White shirt from Forever New

White shirt from Forever New

Sunglasses from Tom Ford

Sunglasses Tom Ford eyewear

Diamond studs from TBZ The Original

TBZ diamond in gold solitaire studs

Chic Holiday Guide: Top 12 Stylish Summer Vacation Essentials

Chic Holiday Guide: Top 12 Stylish Summer Vacation Essentials

Now that you know how you should be packing for your summer holiday, here is my list of holiday essentials- things you must carry for your vacation– from clothes to accessories. You will need a linen shirt to keep you cool, stylish sneakers to keep you on your feet all day and a bag large enough to hold your travel docs, among other things. For your swimwear needs, check out Speaking Chic’s recommended places to buy your bikinis and swimsuits.

So get packing, folks. It’s time for the holidays! 🙂

PS– You can buy some of the products featured here by clicking on the picture. The ones available online are marked with an asterisk (*).

Chic First Look: Vero Moda Spring / Summer 2013

Chic First Look: Vero Moda Spring / Summer 2013

What to Expect from Vero Moda’s Spring/ Summer 2013 collection

Get stylish casuals to dressy club wear at Vero Moda this Spring / Summer. They’ve got a wide colour palette (bright fuchsia, mint green, white) in simple easy-to-wear silhouettes. The prints include two-tone bold stripes, ombre effects, tie and dye and the ever-popular florals.

Vero Moda WP STRIPY LS LONG SHIRT rs 1995

Detailing includes beading, with lace and neon hints on lightweight and sheer fabrics like silk, satin and organza.

PS—British model Poppy Delevingne is the face of Vero Moda for 2013, chosen for her fresh look and easy elegance.

Poppy Delivigne - new face of VERO MODA 2013

Bang on Trend

The “True Summer Look”: Lots of soft hues in pinks, whites and washed blues, seen on light fabrics.

Vero Moda BALCONY SL TOP IN RS 1695 (2)

Vero Moda GELLER HW ZIP LEGGINGS rps 2295

Updated Florals: They’re on dresses, tops, pants and shorts—but get a 2013 summery twist with the new colour palette.

Black and White:  This classic combo gets a bold edge at Vero Moda from Spring/ Summer 2013, with larger-than-life stripes and prints.

Vero Moda WP BLACKY SL SHORT DRESS rs 2295

What to Buy

Floral printed pants and shorts

Vero Moda printed pants GAMBLER LW CURVED YOKE FLOWER rs 2695

Black-and-white pieces (as stripes or colour blocked dresses)

Vero Moda WP YANNI BLAZER STRIPED rs 2295

Feminine white tops (the basics for the season)

Vero Moda AMELIA LACE 34 TOP- NFSC2 rs 3495

Bollywood Fashion: Inkaar’s style will make you want to work in advertising

Bollywood Fashion: Inkaar’s style will make you want to work in advertising

Inkaar’s fashion is kinda agency-style cool. You’ll want to wear Chitrangada’s pencil skirts or Arjun Rampal’s blazers. Either ways, it’s a stylish introduction to ad agency fashion though agency guys will tell you they dress cooler and way more relaxed. After all, they can get away with chappals to office and Simpsons tees on a regular working day.

Inkaar- Arjun Rampal and Chitrangada Singh

If you want to dress for success, join an ad agency, or just know how to dress like either of the two super-hot actors, read on.

Chitrangada Singh: Awkward junior to bitchy boss
Maya Luthra’s transition from a gawky copy writer to National Creative Director (NCD) is documented through varying levels of bitchiness and change in wardrobe.

Inkaar- Chitrangada-Singh

So from baggy printed peasant blouses, messy hair and chin piercing, Maya gradually moves to crisp blouses, designer accessories, formal dresses and blow dried hair. Her put-together look (by Nick Roy) and choice of accessories might be too jarring for a chilled-out work place. Statement neck pieces,  Louis Vuitton belt, and well-coordinated totes would stick out like a sore thumb among the Angry Birds slippers and Fab India kurtas. But hey, Maya’s NCD and I know women would want to dress like her (including me).

Inkaar- Chitrangada-Singh

The only fashion faux pas were the few “revealing” outfits Chitrangada wore. The unwritten “no-cleavage-in-office” fashion rule was broken, and the sari blouses covered way too little though there was good reason to highlight her sex appeal.

Inkaar- Chitrangada-Singh

Get Chitrangada Singh’s Inkaar look:
Team a pencil skirt with a pastel blouse that flatters your skin tone and figure. Accessorize with solitaire earrings (real diamonds if you can afford them), killer pumps in neutral or pop colours, and a statement watch.  Apply nude makeup with special focus on the eyes.

Inkaar- Chitrangada-Singh

My favourite piece: The pencil skirt!

Arjun Rampal: The suave, smart CEO

Arjun Rampal’s character Rahul Verma is a small-town guy who has made it to the top and is now “grooming” young talent (which involves sleeping with the new girl). He seems to be the serious type– staying aloof,  not smiling much, and wearing dark-rimmed spectacles. BTW,  those glasses make him look handsome in a geeky sort of way. The mature look by Niharika Khan suits the actor wonderfully.

Inkaar-Arjun Rampal

His workwear choice is semi-formal and smart casual, such as shirts with smart jackets and blazers. The colour palette is largely blue and grey with some additional subdued colours that a career man would wear. I especially liked the dull green blazer with elbow patches.

Inkaar-Arjun Rampal

Get Arjun Rampal’s Inkaar look:
Wear a lightly-coloured formal shirt with interesting detailing such as a contrast placket, collar or cuffs. Add a blazer in a colour of your choice with slim fit trousers or dark jeans (depending on where you work). Put on a pair of glasses that suit your face shape, preferably with dark rims. Skip the tie, but do wear lace-up or slip-on leather shoes.

My favourite piece: The glasses—they would make any man look instantly mature and sexy! 😉

Chic Review: Bombay High’ s work wear is for everyone!

Chic Review: Bombay High’ s work wear is for everyone!

A Bombay High store is like a large, ambitious project. The three stores I have visited in Mumbai (Warden Road, Linking Road and Oberoi Mall) are spacious, have clearly-demarcated formal wear sections, and start with the relaxed wear line (Bombay High Sport). In the past couple of years, Bombay High has been building its image as the first and last word on work wear.

Bombay High store window

Executive Summary/ The Bombay High Look

Bombay High is about looking smart at office, with a focus on subtle style and tailored looks. Their dresses and shirts are apt for Indian work places, so there are no plunging necklines and too-short skirts, nor super slim and flamboyant shirts for men.

Bombay High AW 2012

Transmittal Letter/ First Impressions

I’m not a stranger to Bombay High, since I bought a blazer from them last month. The blazer fits me snugly, has the right length (I’m on the shorter side), though I needed to get the sleeves shortened (the store did it for free).

On my return visit for this review, the male mannequin near the door was surprisingly styled in a casual look. My guess is that the brand is trying to push its casual wear line, since they are easier to sell. There were jeans and tees for guys, and casual shirts for women.

Bombay High store

Core Competencies/ Best Finds

As you move deeper inside the store, the product becomes more formal. The blazers and suits section houses some of the best pieces in the collection. The blazers’ fits and designs make them worth every buck you spend. They may be a tad more expensive than Mango, and are mostly available in neutral colours, but with one classic blazer you can cover all bases. I flipped for a linen blazer for women, and would have bought it immediately if I hadn’t bought one already. The checkered and patterned blazers are perfect work wear pieces, and not boring!

Bombay High collection

Waistcoats for work may be hot on the ramps, but they haven’t picked up in India yet, and Bombay High has a few in their current collection. I particularly liked one style– it was formal enough, but the neckline added a fun twist.

Bombay High waistcoats

For men, the shirts and trousers are the biggest draw, with some good colour and styling options to choose from. There are dozens of neck ties as well. There are no particular favourites, it’s all about finding your colour and pattern! Accessories have just launched, so expect to see wallets, women’s bags, card holders and folders in the coming months.

SWOT Analysis/ Trial Run

I tried on a couple of monotone formal dresses, and found them affordable enough to be bought at least twice in a season. Unfortunately, some dresses required better fitting on the shoulders and chest.

Bombay High dresses

The best-selling women’s shirts are available in a whopping range of colours, from green to blue, so you can take your pick every morning depending on your mood. The casual shirts seem to be fun too.

Bombay High womens shirts

Men’s shirts have a wider range with lots of styles, colours, fit and fabric variants. With a wide price range from Rs 1199 up to Rs 6000, corporate slaves from across the food chain would find a shirt for them. A guy friend who owns a pair of Bombay High trousers says they are quite good with a different colour, the classy inner seam adds a luxurious feel, and they are comfy all day long.

Footnote: A Word on Design

The Bombay High design team has played safe with styles that would appeal to most working class citizens of this great country- by which I mean those who take few fashion risks. The experimentation in the collection has been limited to higher-priced products and has given good results (like the waistcoat above and patterned blazers).

Inferences/ Parting Thoughts

Bombay High is a one-stop shop for all work wear needs, and you would be happy with the selection, prices and fabric quality. But the brand team will need to carve a niche for Bombay High in a crowded market, and try to make the product more distinct from competitor brands. They can begin by turning formal fashion into a more exciting proposition for 21st century slaves like us!

Bollywood Fashion: Raghavendra Rathore suits up Akshay Kumar in OMG!

Bollywood Fashion: Raghavendra Rathore suits up Akshay Kumar in OMG!

OMG Oh My God is one of those movies you can enjoy with your family, have a good laugh, and come away with an important message or two- this one is about religion and how we practise it.

As a regular movie goer, I wasn’t expecting much from the movie, and as a fashion watcher, I expected even less. Both ways, I was surprised. The movie is worth a one-time watch though the production values could have been better. And as a fashion lover, Akshay Kumar’s dapper look is something worth writing about (hence this post).

Akshay Kumar in OMG Oh My God

Akshay Kumar’s costumes

Akshay Kumar plays God (Lord Krishna) in human form, choosing to play a dude who rides a super bike and works as a “consultant”. He’s always wearing wears a peacock pendant and his laptop is embellished with studs in the same motif.

Akshay Kumar in OMG Oh My God

As Akshay Kumar’s costume designer for OMG- Oh My God, Raghvendra Rathore has used his fine tailoring skills and refined taste to give the actor a polished yet approachable look. It’s a pleasant surprise to see Akshay Kumar dressed like that, given his usual OTT and mediocre on-screen outfits, much like his acting. But in this movie, Akshay is much more restrained and so is his character.

Key outfits

Several pieces in the movie are typical Raghavendra Rathore creations, such as the black single-button achkan in Akshay Kumar’s introductory scene and the military-inspired jacket toward the end of the movie. My favourite is the raw silk purple waistcoat Akshay wears on his first day to court, worn over a checked shirt and with a blue pocket square. The crisp white cotton shirt and linen pants were some of the all-time classics I spotted in the movie. I spotted several separates that would be a great addition to a modern man’s wardrobe.

Akshay Kumar in OMG Oh My God

The most surprising look though, is the suited Lord Krishna. When he introduces himself as God, Akshay dons a brown checked suit and tie worn over a formal blue shirt, with a red square in the breast pocket. That’s a carefully mismatched colour and pattern combination, but it seems to work for Lord Krishna (warning: may not work in real life!).

Akshay Kumar in OMG Oh My God

Contrasts work well- in fashion and films

Given his flamboyant, extroverted, and affectionate character, the choice of clothes isn’t surprising, though Raghavendra Rathore as Akshay’s designer is certainly a surprise choice. The two men have starkly different personalities and takes on fashion (or so it seems). Raghavendra Rathore’s style is dignified, his silhouettes quite fuss-free, and clothes are tailored with minimal embellishments. Akshay, on the other hand, is prone to flamboyance and exuberance. But given his super-fit bod and the height advantage, he carries off Raghevendra Rathore’s clothes with ease.

The final set of looks in OMG- Oh My God is perhaps the outcome of both men meeting halfway – Raghavendra Rathore adding eye-catching colours, buttons and piping, and Akshay Kumar “growing up”.

Chic Trend: Get Ranbir Kapoor’s Rockstar look (guide for both guys and girls)

Chic Trend: Get Ranbir Kapoor’s Rockstar look (guide for both guys and girls)

Couple days ago, I de-coded Ranbir Kapoor’s look in upcoming movie Rockstar, as envisioned and designed by Aki Narula. Today I’ve taken the Rockstar look a step further. Drawing inspiration from Jordan (Ranbir’s character in the movie), here’s how you can get the Rockstar look. The best part is—both guys and gals can get steal from Rockstar, as long as they got the grunge attitude. 🙂

Ranbir Kapoor with guitar in Rockstar

Basics:

  • To start with, you could wear a military-style jacket or army print/ camouflage shirts. Military jackets were very popular last autumn/winter, so if you’ve got one in your wardrobe, pull it out.
  • If you can’t get your hands on a military jacket, look for army green jackets/ shirts. Another good option is a green or black waistcoat.
  • While I don’t suggest pairing a green/ army shirt with olive cargo pants, you can wear your cargos with basic round-neck tee.
  • If you’re the non-fearing types, dare to wear loose printed pyjamas or harem pants with your jacket or waistcoat.

Below: Jacket from Zara, Probase Cargos (available on Myntra.com)

zara jacket1Probase men solid olive cargos

Advanced:

In the mood to have some fun as a rockstar? You could personalise your clothes by adding your own touch to a jacket or waistcoat. Some suggestions:

Pin some fun badges or paste some stickers on the jacket. They could be of your favourite rock band, sports team or just have some fun quote. An easy alternative is a magnet (use another magnet to hold it in place or attach it with glue).

Below: Badges from FC Barcelona, stickers from Manchester United

FC-Barcelona-badge man-utd-stickers

Add feathers and tassles: You could “borrow” tassles from your living room cushion or make your own tassle with wool or thread. Here’s a short and sweet video that shows you the easy way to make a tassle.

Add a totem: Your favourite keychain, quirky picture, photo or bookmark. It’s your personal stamp!

Below: Boot keychain (available on ebay.in), Clip bookmarks from Quirkoshop.com

keychain-boot-yellow-ebay bookmarks-quirkoshop

Draw: Sketch a peace sign on the jacket with a thick marker or felt pen. Or you could paint or create a picture on Photoshop and stick it on cardboard, then attach it to your jacket.

Some more crazy tips to look like rockstar Ranbir:

Guys: Grow a beard, keep your hair long.

Girls: Ditch the skinny jeans; wear flowing pants with chappals.

Both: Wear military green sneakers.

Rock on, stay chic!

Bollywood Fashion: How Aki Narula made Ranbir Kapoor a Rockstar!

Bollywood Fashion: How Aki Narula made Ranbir Kapoor a Rockstar!

India’s got a new silver screen rockstar— Ranbir Kapoor! Ranbir’s Jordan (aka Janardan) is a rebel who doesn’t care a damn about the world. He sings about his angst, raises his voice against the establishment, and most importantly, he wears what he wants.

Ace designer Aki Narula has designed for Ranbir in Rockstar, and the two distinct looks he has created for Ranbir are poles apart. Here’s how Aki Narula has worked his magic on Ranbir in the movie.

Ranbir Kapoor’s pre-rockstar look (Janardan)

With unkempt hair and stubble, Jordan portrays the ultimate Jim Morrison fan. But much before his rockstar days, Jordan was Janardan, a middle-class Delhi boy who was awkward around girls and wanted to be cool.

Ranbir Kapoor in Rockstar

That’s when Ranbir wears:

  • Skinny and straight-fit jeans
  • Colourful knit sweaters
  • Typical “stylish” shirts

Ranbir Kapoor’s Rockstar look (Jordan)

Jordan is not the fumbling Delhi boy Janardan in an earlier life. He’s had a broken heart, he’s been to jail, and he’s got a fearless attitude. He doesn’t need to be cool anymore—he goes grunge, dishevelled and vagabond. What Jordan is wearing:

  • Kurtas: He didn’t wear those to college, because kurtas just weren’t cool. Now he wears them because he no longer cares what people think of him.
  • Military jacket: The military-inspired jacket (for both men and women) was a rage last winter, and Ranbir might make it popular again. Given his Kashmiri background, Jordan is quite fascinated with the armed forces.Ranbir Kapoor- embellished jacket in Rockstar
  • Qawwal jackets: These sleeveless jackets indicate Jordan’s connection with qawwali singers.
  • The famous police shirt: Ranbir’s wearing a police shirt in Sadda Haq, with an attached feather. A blatant act of rebellion against the system!
  • Ranbir Kapoor-police shirt in Rockstar
  • Colours: The gypsies of Prague inspire Jordan to wear bursts of colour and add a personal touch to his performance clothes.

Accessories

Ranbir’s Rockstar accessories are minimum. He sometimes dons a Nehru cap with badges that remind him of his mentor (Ustad Jameel Khan- Shammi Kapoor), and tassles and small objects like feathers.

Ranbir Kapoor Nehru cap in Rockstar

Besides these, Ranbir is also wearing a chain around his neck with a piece of his first broken guitar string and his first guitar pick. He adds little souvenirs to the chain as he travels around the world.

Ranbir Kapoor chain in Rockstar

What do you like about Ranbir’s look in Rockstar?

Rockstar releases on November 11, 2011.

Tennis Fashion: Men shine like the sun

Australian Open 2011 has almost come to an end, and the leading fashion trend among men was the abundant use of bright and sunny colours.

Robin Soderling and Tomas Berdych both wore variants of yellow, though Robin’s tennis outfit was carefully mixed with black. We don’t think it’s an ideal combination.

Robin Soderling clothes Australian Open 2011 Tomas Berdych clothes Australian Open 2011

Not to be outdone in the yellow department, but retaining his classic, elegant style, Roger Federer chose a white tshirt with hints of yellow in the right places: collar, shoulder and wrist and headband, and even shoes!

Roger Federer clothes Australian Open 2011

Fashion lesson from Roger Federer:

Classic + Trend = Chic (yet safe)

Our favourite player Rafael Nadal took colour experimentation a step further by pairing his grey shorts with a colour that was neither orange nor red nor fuchsia nor peach. Take a look:

Rafael Nadal

Which player’s outfit impressed you the most?

Related Posts:

Tennis Fashion: Colours and cutouts for women at Australian Open 2011