Living up to her impressive Kapoor genes, Kareena Kapoor Khan bagged the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut for Refugee in 2000 — just a year shy of two decades ago. Ahead of her first film, she has had ample exposure to the film fraternity, thanks to accompanying sister and actor Karisma Kapoor to shooting sets. In fact, when she first burst on the celluloid, her style fell in line with the widely accepted Bollywood stereotype — embellished Indian wear, overdone highlighters, caked makeup base. Her style has, however, evolved since.
“Kareena Kapoor Khan doesn’t follow trends, she quite literally fabricates them. Right from her debut in 2000 in the film Refugee, where she owned the Indo-western short kurtas with pants and dupattas winning the best debut award,” says stylist Kareen Parwani, who manages veteran actors like Hema Malini to the young brigade like Tamannaah Bhatia, Soha Ali Khan and Jennifer Winget.
However, even with the demands of Bollywood that asked actors to look a certain way, it didn’t stop her from being an inspiration to young enthusiasts. “Kareena’s sense of style is just as dynamic as her career. What is cool is the way she embraces every stage of life with a sense of confidence and ownership,” says stylist Devki, who has been, most recently, instrumental in creating looks for Taapsee Pann.
But the real rage was when Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) released and Pooh became a role model for young Bollywood starlets. Sara Ali Khan and Janhvi Kapoor have gone on record to say how they identified with Pooh. “Her Bole chudiya outfit was a huge statement in itself. Pooh inspired numerous young girls and from here on, Kareena became the ultimate style icon. She was the pioneering actor to flaunt cocktail sarees and sultry gowns,” remarks stylist Parwani. Now a mother, Bebo, as she is fondly called, continues to be a role model for young models and aspiring actors.
The Ashoka actor continued to carry herself with easy confidence every time she stepped out. Moving on, her striking golden hair during Yuva (2004) days made many women emulate the shade for their manes. “Going further into the Yuva phase, she was seen rocking the gold blonde hair colour. Her bell-bottom denim was hard to miss, making it a fashion statement,” said Parwani.
Today, it’s difficult to skip the paparazzi even at salon appointments or dinner reservations. “Back in 2001, Kareena during film promotions of Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai and later Yuva was perceived as a girl next door, sporting Indo-western kurtas and palazzos teamed with dupattas, which became a rage with local designers. Now, though, even basic T-shirts and handbags cost a fortune!” points out Parwani.
From Gucci as her pet favourite (and safe fallback) to brands like Balmain, Hermes, Prabal Gurung, Dior, the 39-year-old is dressed like a million bucks most times.
In 2008, she took the world by storm with her size-zero figure, starring in movies like Kambakkht Ishq and Tashan. Kareena was also spotted in bohemian tank tops and maxi skirts, even as she made headlines in a blue Paule Ka dress tied with a sash at the waist. The white Tarun Tahiliani creation was another stunning outfit that Khan wore to a formal occasion. The beauty also took the desi route in contemporary drapes in those days.
In 2012, the newlywed was witnessed letting go of OTT embellishments and jewellery, but making ripples with minimalist Indian attire, with a little sindoor on her forehead. After her wedding with Saif Ali Khan, her style went from Marilyn Monroe to Grace Kelly, polo dresses and royal vintage ensembles in tow. Her sequinned and loud outfits were replaced with sophisticated and glamorous, yet refined, restraint befitting royalty, while never compromising on her personal style.
“A simple white Paule Ka gown was followed in 2013 with a black Tom Ford, a classic Prabal Gurung in 2014 and that super slick Aiisha Ramadan halter in 2015. Some of her more memorable looks include a navy beaded Falguni & Shane Peacock gown, a moss green Anamika Khanna salwar set and a gold Tarun Tahiliani sharara. Bebo’s closet is undoubtedly every woman’s dream,” remarks Parwani.
In 2016, Khan became a real gamechanger when she broke stereotypes associated with pregnancy. Right from working on movies like Veere Di Wedding, attending media events and closing the fashion week for ace designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee in a stunning golden ensemble, she proved that nothing can stop a woman from spreading body positivity. “It helped women embrace this beautiful stage of life with a sense of comfort and confidence,” believes stylist Devika.
“She became the talk of the town for fearlessly flaunting her baby bump and maternity wardrobe. Since then, she has been able to connect to every woman, be it a bubbly college-going girl, an ambitious artist, supportive wife or nurturing mother. Bebo keeps it casual and comfortable with text t-shirts and denims paired up with pumps and statement handbags for her casual excursions around B-town. Never without her little munchkin Taimur Ali Khan Pataudi, the actor’s sartorial sensibilities continue to be the focus of style watchers,” adds Parwani.
With a team of stylists by her side, rarely does Khan misses a beat. However, off late her personal style has not always escaped the radar of the fashion police. Here are some such looks we noticed that failed to hit the mark: