No One Killed Jessica: Bollywood fashion at its ordinary best

We love the promos of No One Killed Jessica. The concept, the music, Rani Mukherjee as a foul-mouthed journalist, it all makes us sit up and take notice.

And then there are the clothes. They are barely noticeable. They are not designed to catch the the viewer’s attention, or elicit “Wows!” And that’s exactly they get a nod of approval from us. Costume designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee has has done something extraordinary: he’s given the wardrobes of the lead actors (Vidya Balan and Rani Mukherjee) a very approachable and “ordinary” flavour.

Rani Mukherji as Meera Gaity

Rani Mukherjee No one Killed Jessica

When you see Rani Mukherji mouthing beeped words, looking angry and indignant, she’s wearing a crisp formal shirt, fitted trousers, a belt and minimal accessories, just what a young and smart journalist climbing up the corporate ladder would wear. In one scene, she’s seen wearing a black blazer, hair tightly combed back, ready to face the TV camera. She doesn’t wear Dior or carry LVs or wear outrageous mini skirts like Priyanka Chopra wore in Krrish, but clothes probably resembling the ones you’re wearing right now at your office desk.

Vidya Balan as Sabrina

Vidya Balan in No One Killed Jessica

Meanwhile, Vidya Balan goes geeky with boring spectacles, basic tees, shirts and jeans. There are no “cool” prints, bejewelled embellishments or chic blouses. Walking on the street, Vidya Balan (as Sabrina) wouldn’t make heads turn, and that’s the point of the character—an ordinary woman determined to get justice for her sister. This probably makes Vidya Balan different from almost every other actor dressed by Sabyasachi.

Sabyasachi gives Bollywood fashion a twist

Sabyasachi Mukherjee is known for his traditional yet extravagant and rich approach to clothes, fashion and his collections, with a strong penchant for earthy tones. And Bollywood loves OTT, skimpy and uncharacteristic outfits. But with director Raj Kumar Gupta (of Aamir fame), Sabyasachi seems to have got into the skin of the characters, and has got their looks straight from ordinary Delhi homes. It takes courage and out-of-the-box thinking to step outside your comfort zone, and get do the opposite of what most Bollywood designers do.

So while Guzaarish fashion seemed out-of-character to us, the No One Killed Jessica wardrobe gets our stamp of approval.

Interesting side-note: both Rani Mukherjee and Vidya Balan are fans of Sabyasachi Mukherjee, and are often seen in his saris at awards and red-carpet events.

Looking forward to the movie and the fashion gone ordinary.

Tommy Hilfiger brings kids wear to India

Popular American clothing brand Tommy Hilfiger has got its cute childrenswear range to India with its Fall 2010 collection. True to Tommy Hilfiger style, the clothes have the brand’s “Classic, American Cool” signature.

Speaking Chic went through the collection by asking the question– would my nephew or niece wear this? Would they think it’s chic?

There are three main themes in the Tommy Hilfiger childrenswear Fall 2010 collection.

Explore Beyond
Inspired by the excitement and optimism of the NASA moon missions, this range space-inspired images and details. Outerwear is quilted and panelled, and sweaters feature argyles, bold stripes and badges.

Our picks:

Quilted bomber for boys Tommy Hilfiger Striped top girls Tommy Hilfiger

Quilted bomber for boys; Lola Stripe Henley with pinstripes of lurex

Striped top for girls.

Explore Nature
This range has an outdoorsy feel with checks, heathers and plaids. Nylon parka and jackets have been reinvented with trendy colours and rib details. The clothes feature rugged distress details for boys and sweet ruffles and waist ties for girls.

Our picks:

Check skirts girls Tommy Hilfiger Hoodie for boys Tommy Hilfiger Slim fit pants boys Tommy Hilfiger

Katherine check belle skirt for girls; Ohio hoodie in River Gold for boys; Washed twill slim pants for boys

Explore NYC
This range has a cool, urban, eclectic vibe; very rock ‘n’ roll with a touch of glam. Prints include posters for rock bands, graffiti and street signs. Girls’ outfits sport sequins elements and foil prints, while boys can team up smart jackets and tees.

Our picks:

Slim fit jeans girls Tommy Hilfiger Pant for boys Tommy Hilfiger

Victoria VW slim fit jeans with crystal detailing on back pockets for girls; Furray mini pant with H applique for boys.

What will your little nephews/ nieces want to wear?

Fashion highlights: Adios, 2010!

As we bid goodbye to 2010, here’s a quick recap of the fashion scene in India and overseas. Kicking off this fashion trends!

Top Fashion Trends we liked

  • Graphic prints
  • Clutches everywhere
  • Lace
  • Mixing prints

Fashion Trends we didn’t like

  • Boyfriend anything (it’s not for everyone)’
  • Kurti and jeans
  • Too much 1970s!
  • Innerwear as outerwear (can anyone really wear this on the street?)

Bollywood

 

Bollywood fashion took the high fashion leap this year with Aisha, starring Sonam Kapoor and Abhay Deol. Sonam wore Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Christian Lacroix, while toting her Lady Dior, and Abhay Deol made a dapper style statement in Kunal Rawal’s custom-made suits.

Even as the world sought retro inspiration, very few people (and movies) captured the essence of the 1970s without going OTT. One of the few Bollywood hits Once upon a time in Mumbaai got the decade just perfect, right down to Ajay Devgn;s moustache and white-clothes obsession. And we’ve already mentioned how hot Randeep Hooda looked in Ray-Bans.

At the risk of starting another debate, we have to say that we liked Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s clothes in Guzaarish though they seemed completely out of character.

Shopping

 

Every self-confessed shopaholic/ fashionista in India (or at least in Mumbai and Delhi) flocked to Zara when it opened two stores in July. A worthy competitor to Mango (another Spanish fashion brand), Zara quickly became a must-visit shopping destination for visitors to the two cities. My relatives from Amritsar wanted to visit Zara, so did my (not-so-fashionable) boss (sincere apologies in advance!). We were excited enough to take some spy shots there (see this initial Zara review of the Mumbai store).

In the latter half of the year, Delhiites got lucky when a huge Forever 21 store opened at Ambience mall (Vasant Kunj). I briefly visited the much-hyped store in Delhi recently, and I must say I was impressed with the sheer size of the collection, and most of the clothes weren’t too bad either.

And then there was Diesel and plenty others joining the fashion party. Looking forward to more high street brands coming to India in 2011. Fingers crossed!

Advertising

 

Internationally, well-known celebs bagged a number of ad campaigns: from Madonna for Dolce & Gabbana to Julianne Moore (wearing almost nothing) for Bvlgari. Even as the latter ad was banned in Venice, Madonna’s portrayal of a housewife told an enchanting story. Lovely!

On the Indian advertising front, the Levi’s Curve ID TV ad disappointed. A LOT. The Curve ID concept is great (you choose jeans by your body shape rather than size), but the most of the ad shots were focussed on the girls’ umm… behinds. Seemed almost voyeuristic. Great track, though.

Meanwhile, Longines’ Dolce Vita advertisement starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is becoming increasingly popular.

What were the fashion highs (or lows) for you in 2010?

Winter Layering Trends: Go Casual

Layering clothes for winter is a tricky business. What goes or doesn’t go with what can be confusing, especially for those who want to stay trendy even while bundled up in layers.

Speaking Chic kicks off a series on layering for winter. In this series, we will bring you the top layering trends of winter 2010-2011 and give you easy, accessible and affordable examples so that you can get the looks. Do try this guide at home.

We kick off the series with a layering trend for all seasons: casual.

Go casual with tee and denim

Warm up your year-round staple of jeans and tee by starting with your favourite plain tshirt and pairing it with a fun wrap, shrug or cover-up. Choose winter accessories in interesting colours and prints to give your outfit a softer look.

Layering Formula:

Basic tee (cotton or wool) + knit cover-up + jeans + scarf

Winter layering trend casual 2010

Row 1: Tshirt from Zara; Shrug from S.Oliver

Row 2: Tshirt from French Connection; knitted vest from S.Oliver

Washed denims with colored studs in “Catie Fit” and scarves, both from S.Oliver

Bollywood Fashion: Anushka Sharma loves scarves in BBB

If you’ve seen the Band Baaja Baaraat promos, you’ve seen Anushka Sharma as the Dilli kudi. As an ordinary Delhi girl, Anushka Sharma’s look is neither glam nor fab, but very girl-next-door.

Wearing mostly cotton kurtis, kurtas, tees and shirts with straight and skinny jeans, Anushka Sharma is comfortable playing a goal-oriented, organised and smart young woman. But costume designer Niharika Khan has given Anushka’s Band Baaja Baarat plain-Jane wardrobe a stylish twist with a plethora of scarves and dupattas. These complement Anushka Sharma’s clothes and define her character’s (Shruti) style statement.

Anushka Sharma Band Baaja Baaraat Anushka Sharma in Band Baaja  Baaraat

What we’ve spotted already are plain crushed dupattas with kurtis, and printed stoles with tshirts and shirts. In one scene, Anushka has casually draped a shawl over a green kurti and jeans.

Niharika Khan has carefully contrasted colours and clashed colours, and selected prints that are easy to carry off and what a typical Delhi girl would opt for. She’s ensured that Shruti’s clothes are relatable, and, more importantly, accessible to every young woman across the country.

Of course, there’s no ground-breaking fashion to be seen in Band Baaja Baaraat (at least in the promos), especially since Shruti wouldn’t be the type to experiment with fashion. But hey, we wouldn’t be surprised to see girls flaunting their scarves over the next few weeks. I’d be one of them. 🙂

PS: Also check out Anushka Sharma’s patiala salwar in a song from Band Baaja Baaraat. These have been around on-screen and off-screen for a while now, and seem to rise and decline in popularity every couple months.

Anushka Sharma Band Baaja Baaraat

What do you think of Anushka Sharma’s clothes from the promos of Band Baaja Baaraat?

LFW: Narendra Kumar’s dare-to-wear jeans

It’s not often that a high street brand presents at a fashion week, but when an ace designer like Narendra Kumar ties up with Killer jeans, you expect to see something different. Narendra’s been associated with the denim brand for a while now, and this time he played to college boys and girls while daring them to get a bit bolder.

For guys, there were 1980s-style sports jackets, pop-coloured jeans (green, blue, red) and printed shirts with check and military detailing. The jeans ranged from the seriously low-rise jeans (check picture below) in fits that ranged from the straight cuts to to drop-crotch styles, often worn by bare-chested male models.

topless model at Killer show LFW

For women, there were very short shorts, skirts, skinny jeggings, a jumpsuit and even a couple dresses, such as a ruched one-shoulder dress and a more interesting bodycon strapless denim dress.

The jeans and shorts appeared in a variety of washes, and were often distressed or frayed. And oh, Narendra’s models donned hats on the runway, and though they seemed fun, we’re not sure how many Indian youngsters want to adopt that trend. What they will want to wear, however, are the tshirts that say, “Sex Cells” and “Been There, Dump That”.

Narendra Kumar Killer tshirt

Would you wear such tees? Tell us!

Chic Micro-trend: Denim for your feet

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After years of being discarded as “too casual”, denim emerged as one of the key trends from the international Spring Summer 2010 catwalks. From Dolce & Gabbana to Jean Paul Gaultier, this fabric appeared from out of the blue in a variety of garments, other than jeans. There were edgy jumpsuits, hot shorts, mini skirts and casual dresses. Soon enough, denim hit the high fashion street, with Mango and Zara giving their summer collections a denim twist.

But if you don’t want to wear a denim dress, you’ve anyways worn jeans all your life, and we don’t need denim jackets in India (thank you very much), cash in on the trend with denim shoes!

Footwear made of denim can be surprisingly versatile. They can be sneakers, pumps or wedges. How do you want to wear it?

How to wear the trend

If you’re looking for dressy, sexy or stylish to go with jeans or a non-denim dress, then look out for the denim shoes at the high street stores. Mango has this chic pair of denim shoes at their Indian stores. I also liked this pair for guys, but Indian men are not too high on Mango’s radar.

Meanwhile, check out this really cute pair of denim lace-ups I found at a Mango store abroad.

DSC02131

 

If you’re sportier types, head to the nearest Converse store. This American and Indian teen (and post-teen) favourite is likely to have a pair or two of denim shoes on their shelves. Casual, smart and comfy.

What do you think of this trend? Are you waiting for lunch hour to rush to the nearest store? Or have you had enough of denim already? Tell us!

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Monsoon mini-guide: Must-haves and must-gags

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The rain gods have arrived, and they’re showering their love on us. It’s time to show some R.E.S.P.E.C.T. to them and to ourselves, overhauling our wardrobes for the next coupla months.

Here’s a handy tip: Come monsoon, and what you wear is not a question of trends, but of comfort and practicality with a chic factor. After all, no one wants to wade through knee-high water in six-inch stilettos.

So here’s our guide to monsoon wear must-haves and must-gags, with some super chic options marked with an *:

Clothes

Must-haves

  • Capris, foldable jeans for omniscient shallow puddles
  • Comfy blouses and shirts that don’t cling to you
  • Kurtas and churidars in georgettes (minus the dupatta)

Must-gags

  • Extra-long trousers
  • Transparent and translucent tops
  • Loose-flowing skirts (remember the strong winds?)

Don’t forget

  • To carry your windcheater. Umbrellas are useless in gusts of wind.
  • To bring out your boleros  and shrugs. They’re perfect for the now-hot-now-cold weather*
Shoes

Must-haves

Gum boots(if you can!) or non-slippery ballet shoes

Crocs* (not the ones with the holes, but the comfy chic styles; they’re a tad expensive, but worth every paisa)

Crocs for monsoon 

Must-gags

  • High heels
  • Your brand-new or old Jimmy Choos, Manolos etc

Don’t forget

  • You can always do what the New Yorkers do—change into your heels/ formal leather shoes in office*
Hair, Makeup and Accessories

Must-haves

  • Hair clips and pins to keep your hair in place*
  • Moisturiser

Must-gags

  • Layers of makeup
  • Too many hair products

Don’t forget

  • To use a good anti-frizz serum after washing your hair. It works wonders!*
  • To carry a comb with you, to smoothen our messy hair. Wet hair rarely looks good in real life.

What do you think of this mini-guide? Share your suggestions and tips in the comments box, or write to us at speakingchic [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Street Chic: Simple style with LV

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Speaking Chic kicks off a new feature: Street Chic! In this feature, we’re going to hunt for great looks and outfits worn by people we spot at restaurants, theatres, malls and the streets, of course.

We bumped into Kanika at a hotel and were immediately taken in by her little LV! She chose her brand-new bag to be the centrepiece of her look and keep it muted with her knotted blouse and skinny Esprit jeans.

Street Chic-1

Besides the eye-catching bag (colour not so great in the photo), we liked her other accessory– her criss-cross strappy high heels. They’re a great take on the gladiator style that’s so popular these days.

What do you think of Kanika’s understated chic look? Tell us!

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