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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

‘Deepika likes to keep it comfortable, but there are days when she’ll want to go crazy’: Stylist Shaleena Nathani

"I really have to say I've learned a lot from Deepika -- how she gives 100 per cent to everything that she does. And I think that's really pushed me to be better at what I do," she said

Written by Shweta Sharma | New Delhi |
September 3, 2021 12:30:17 pm
Shaleena Nathani, deepika padukone stylist, deepika padukone Shaleena NathaniShaleena Nathani is a well-known stylist and consultants. (Photo: Shaleena Nathani/Instagram)

From Madhuri Dixit and Nora Fatehi to Kiara Advani and Tara Sutaria, Shaleena Nathani has styled many Bollywood celebs. But, she is best-known for curating Deepika Padukone’s looks, whom she believes to be “one of the most fashionable actors”. So it is not surprising then that the fashion consultant’s Instagram feed is peppered with innumerable stylish pictures of the Piku actor.

In an exclusive email interaction with indianexpress.com, the celebrity stylist opens up about conceptualising looks for B-Town divas, her fashionable camaraderie with Deepika, her inspiration and all things style and glamour. Excerpts:

How important do you think it is for celebrities to keep reinventing themselves and experimenting with new styles?

I feel it’s very important for everybody, especially celebrities, to keep reinventing themselves, to try new things because we all get used to dressing a certain way and fall into our comfort zone very easily. We prefer something that looks nice and usually want to wear that again. But we must try new styles, trends and cuts and keep experimenting. As a stylist, I feel it’s very important when we are working with somebody for them to be able to put their trust in you, to at least allow us to put clothes on your body because that’s where a big difference comes. I believe only when you try something will you know if it works for you or not.

 

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A post shared by Shaleena Nathani (@shaleenanathani)

What is the most challenging thing about being a stylist?

The most challenging thing, especially about being a stylist in India, is more easy access to the world and the clothes that are available in the world. It’s really difficult to get clothes in. I wish more brands came to India and we had more access to different designers, vintage markets, street clothes, smaller, cooler places to shop.

You curate looks for Deepika Padukone; what are the things you consider when styling her?

I like to think Deepika is one of the most fashionable actors. I think it depends on the event we’re going for, the mood she’s in. So it really depends on a lot of things in terms of how she’s feeling, what the occasion is, what zone we’re in at that point, like, do we want to go sexy or just pretty. I do think Mr (Shah Rukh) Khan has a great, great sense of style. I think Ranveer is incredible, how he can pull off anything. I love Sobhita’s style. So yeah, I think we have a great bunch of very fashionable individuals.

 

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A post shared by Shaleena Nathani (@shaleenanathani)

How would you describe Deepika’s personal style mantra? What are the dos and don’ts when it comes to styling her?

I think Deepika’s personal style has moved into being very comfortable. I just feel like this whole oversize, lose, anti-fit trend that’s come in is pretty amazing. And she carries everything off with such ease when she’s working or travelling. Then there’s a day where she just wants to go crazy. So we’ll just do bright colours, and just something super cool. I think the best part about her is that we don’t have any dos and don’ts. She’s very open to trying new, different things. And I think what makes my job so amazing when I style her is that she doesn’t have any do’s and don’ts.

Based on your experiences, what are the things you will look for in a winner on Blenders Pride Fashion Tour ‘The Showcase’?

I am looking for an individual with not only a unique design aesthetic, but also someone who is driven by passion and understands the elements of creating diverse looks. Someone with a wide lens of what is in trend and understands that every individual has a unique sense of style which needs to be taken in consideration. Through the partnership, I want to support the disruptors who will dare to break the norms and create looks that are unconventional and bold.

The Fashion Tour has been a definitive voice in the fashion and design world. In collaboration with Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), the second edition of Blenders Pride Fashion Tour ‘The Showcase’ will be a breakthrough opportunity for budding talent across the length and breadth of the nation to hone their skills. The Showcase will open a world of new avenues for the aspirants and redefine their career path. I am honored to be part of the jury for ‘The Showcase’ and I’m looking forward to meet a lot of young, fresh talent from this country.

Do you take recommendations from actors you are styling? Also, many times, actors are criticised for their fashion/looks, how do you deal with such situations?

Of course, I do take recommendations. I think it’s so great to learn when you work with different people, what they bring to the table and how different each individual’s sense of style is, and their wants and dislikes. So I can put one dress on five different people and they will carry it off very differently. And I think we know our bodies best and also how comfortable we are in the clothes we wear. And I really have to say I’ve learned a lot from Deepika — how she gives 100 per cent to everything that she does. I think that’s really pushed me to be better at what I do.

 

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A post shared by Shaleena Nathani (@shaleenanathani)

Which is your most favourite look of Deepika, and why?

It would be some of the looks we’ve done at Cannes. I just love it because of the whole experience. It’s completely crazy. We don’t get a second. But I think we all just go there with a mindset of no sleep and just working like crazy. And it’s so much team effort and the adrenaline. It’s just amazing. And I think when you have a great team, and you have a great actor who’s so supportive, and so well organised and gives you the time, I think that’s when you can have the outcome of what we do.

Five must-haves in a woman’s wardrobe…

A nice gold chain, a pair of gold hoops, an oversized white shirt, a fantastic pair of boyfriend jeans, a great pair of high top sneakers, and a cool pair of white socks.

 

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A post shared by Shaleena Nathani (@shaleenanathani)

Who has been your inspiration all these years?

New York-based celebrity stylist Mimi Cuttrell. Everything she does is so effortless. She takes something that’s already there and puts in on Bella or Gigi Hadid and it becomes trendy. That’s what style is all about.

One fashion trend you have never understood, and one trend you wish would have never faded and why?

I never understood pedal pushers. I mean, it was just weird for me. Crocs is another trend, which I wish had never come. And yeah, I understand comfort is important, but not to that level. But in the 50s, where everybody just dressed up in suits and flapper dresses, and got their hair done, and everybody was so gangster in that time. I wish that never faded away.

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