The life of a celebrity is under constant surveillance – from the media, sponsors, advertisers and the public. Celebrity designers make or break the public image of their clients. There is a huge reason why celeb stylists are frequently invited by designers to preview their collections before hitting the ramp. Generations after generations have been influenced by trendsetters in fashion. We often get inspired by the way our favourite superstars like Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra and Hrithik Roshan dress up. We imitate their dressing sense and style in our everyday lives.
Celebrity stylists, thus, play a very significant role and are accountable for an important thing: trends. First is obviously, the way your don attires. Being a fan of a celebrity does not mean following their films and lifestyle but also trying to look like your favourite celeb. And trying to look like the celeb means one has to try to dress like them. This makes the job of celebrity stylists a very commanding one in the world of high flying fashion industry. They can not only make or break the image, but also the entire brand. They are literally the power brokers of fashion industry.
India is known for two popular religions – Bollywood and Cricket, which produces demi gods. If there is a film star who wears your outfit, the trend goes viral and one becomes an instant name in every household. Even fashion magazine don’t possess such commanding influence or power. The celebrity stylist exerts such sway. Stylists are power brokers from the fashion industry aiding the need for celebrities to appear and dress well and handing over a chance for designers to dress their favourite stars. Earlier, designers who were eager to make a mark, used to send their work samples to fashion journalists. Now, they disseminate it to stylists.
It is highly impossible to be high feathered every moment. Everyone has bad fashion days but the media does not allow you breathing space. The margin of error is very small in a 24*7 industry of publicity and blitzkrieg. Celebrities live a lifestyle which is under constant radar and any minor hiccup or glitch gets highlighted and amplified. With the presence of tabloids, making a mistake is unforgivable. Going out on personal assignments is unworkable without getting snapped. The paparazzi are all over you. To delegate this responsibility and reduce the pressure of professional commitments like red carpet events, ads, promotions, events, inaugurations, Bollywood fashion stylists are hired.
With the advent of social media and web 2.0, the dynamics of fashion industry have changed enormously. There are blogs which deconstruct a celebrity’s daily life. The stylist has become a real mechanism to make a trend go viral. The film industry has not been left untouched either. With big budgets, there has also been a rise in promotions and marketing campaigns revolving around extravagant music launches and interviews. It is no longer just a red carpet event. Often stars have to think of what they choose to wear before going to a dentist because they do not know when and where they will be snapped.
Styling is more than clothes. It is about the entire set up of look, hair, accessories and demeanour. Today, an actor is not just identified by his acting skills – his looks, style and clothing is as important. The role of fashion stylists is not just limited to nailing the right looks. They also help them in defining their personality and brand for movies to create a unique fashion, around their characteristics and idiosyncrasies. These stylists are also au fait with the latest trends and styles which have not been exhibited or displayed by other celebs. Retaining originality is their raison d’être.
Styling for celebrities is completely different from their personal styling. Body structure plays a pivotal role. In case of magazines, there are models with perfect bodies but in personal styling it is dealing with people with real bodies. This makes the task of Indian designers even more important because they have to deal with sizes which are much bigger than the size zero seen widely at international stories. Indian designers, on the other hand, make custom outfits for stars. Good brands don’t come cheap. Same is for celebrity stylists, who ensure their clients look top notch every moment, have non-negotiable fees. They can’t be afforded to pay less because the celebrities are under the eye of paparazzi constantly.
A good stylist is as important as a director. Often actors and actresses are committed to memory for their red carpet looks more than their performances on the celluloid. A good stylist has the acumen to source the perfect clothes for his/her clients. Attires are often borrowed and returned, thus offering a win-win scenario for both celebs and the designer/brand, with the stylist playing the role of a power broker.
There are mega brands like Dior which always keep sets of celebrity samples for stylists – though these celebrities ought to belong to a certain standing. As an international brand with clear ambitions and guiding principles, Dior chooses the right celebrity to characterize it in the market. So they do not dress up every single star. But the celebrities have a certain intrinsic value. It is a kind of automatic ride to become A-listers.
More or less every designer and luxury house is keen to associate with A-List celebs. This why finding the right celeb is extremely important; it needs to be someone who has a strong affinity with the industry. Every now and then clothes have to be bought and fashion stylists head to places like Le Mill in Mumbai and Kitsch in Delhi where high spenders are advantaged with profound discounts. Designers have been assisted by celebrities in myriad ways, especially when it comes to Indian fashion industry. Bollywood’s predilection for fashion has helped to broadcast the message of stylists to every Indian household.
Celebrity stylists have existed for years but it was set rolling by Anaita Shroff Adjania two decades ago. Let’s take a look at the people responsible behind the looks, attires and styles of our favourite actors and actresses:
Anaita Shroff Adjanaia
Having worked as a fashion editor at ELLE and L’Officiel, Anita started styling movies later on, and then went on to become Vogue India’s first fashion director. She has had an extensive experience in working with people to make them look great. Earlier, Anita used to style celebrities for magazines and then she was asked to style them outside magazines as well. She runs a company, “Style Cell”, which holds A-list clients like Deepika Padukone and Kangana Ranut, with charges heading up to Rs. 1 lakh for a red carpet event.
Known for styling fashion goddess and Sister Sonam Kapoor, Rhea Kapoor works with some of the most well-appointed ensemble around the globe. The younger daughter of Anil Kapoor, Rhea is a leading styling wizard, who can make her clients pull of a look without having to be bothered about their weight, size, shape, height or any other feature. The resourceful stylist is also known for producing films such as Aisha and Khoobsoorat, and will be soon launching a clothing line, “Rheson” in partnership with her sister Sonam. Besides her sister, Rhea also helps her cousin, Arjun Kapoor and father Anil Kapoor to sport debonair customized look for their red carpet events.
Styling up the Yummy Mommy Kajol is Triporna Majumder, a commerce graduate who learned the skills at a design workshop, and in 2004 she started working as a film costume assistant.
A NIFT graduate and assistant to Anaita Shroff Adajania, Esha is a fashion consultant for ad campaigns and has been styling Karisma Kapoor for 18 months. The Mangalore girl was the official stylist at the Femina Miss India Pageant 2014.
Alia Al Rufai
Glamming up the young damsels is Alia Al Rufai. In her very first assignment, Rufai styled actresses like Kangana Ranaut and Priyanka Chopra in Madhur Bhandarkar’s “Fashion”. She used to assist Rita Dhody and has styled celebrities like Anushka Sharma, Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan.
Nitasha studied Fashion at the London College of Fashion and then worked as Femina’s fashion editor. She left her job to focus on personal styling portfolios and was asked by several actors and actresses to style them for magazines and films. Her first assignment as an independent stylist was with Neha Dhupia. Her client list includes Ranveer Singh, Arjun Rampal, Amitabh Bachchan and newbie Sushant Singh Rajput.
Tanya commenced her career with Pernia Quereshi and went on to become a fashonista herself. Her portfolio boasts an ensemble list including Kapoor sisters, Kareena and Karisma, Freida Pinto, Siddharth Malhotra. A graduate of New York’s Parson School of Design and Mumbai’s SNDT University, Tanya first worked on Sonam Kapoor’s Aisha and later began styling her for events as well.
Styling the most number of celebrities right now is Ami Patel, a former fashion and creative director of India’s leading magazines. The multi-faceted fashionista styles top names in B-Town such as Kangana Ranut, Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra and the newest girl in tinsel town, Athiya Shetty. Ami is also a teacher at the Art of Living Foundation.