Looking dapper in a blue-and-black Anita Dongre ensemble, actress-model Neha Dhupia was recently in the Capital to promote cosmetic brand Kiehl’s’ initiative for educational equity in India. For the cause, Kiehl’s partnered with Dhupia and the NGO ‘Teach for India’ to establish ‘Kiehl’s Gives’ — an ongoing global initiative to promote philanthropy. Between interacting with the kids and mentors associated with the cause and promoting the campaign, Indianexpress.com caught up with the actress to chat about her fashion basics.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
Were you always a fashionista? Even in your childhood?
I was a tomboy who was equally good in studies, but I was more into sports and extra-curricular activities. I was blunt and when I was in class XI, it was a new school and on the very first day I misbehaved with the principal and was thrown out of school for a week. So, you can make out the level of craziness. I have an elder brother, so my wardrobe was generally dependent upon his, as I used to share his baggy jeans and loose T-shirts. For me, it was more like dressing like rappers from New York with high boots, fake gold chains — the hot chick in town.
What comes to mind when you think ‘Fashion’?
Fashion is not what you see in fashion magazines or beauty blogs. What really makes a big difference is how comfortable you are in what you wear and how you carry it. It should reflect who you are in and out.
What comes to mind when you think ‘Style’?
It should be something that is ever lasting and should make you confident in front of others.
What is your style quotient?
Trendy, chic and comfortable. With time I have changed a lot, but one thing that has always been in priority is comfort. As a child, I was a tomboy with baggy jeans and T-shirts, with my profession today, it has turned to the other side and now it is about elegance and class, but comfort still holds an upper hand for me.
How stylistically experimental are you?
It’s a mutual thing between my stylist and me. She knows my taste and areas where I love to experiment. My wardrobe experimentation is towards fabric and cut. Both of them need to be comfortable and easy to carry.
How can you convert denim into something that’s elegant?
No, don’t make it. I feel Indian fashion has grown so much that we all should come out of the denims and should start adding other elements and make it fun dressing.
What’s your wardrobe fetish?
I still love baggy clothes and layering.
One look that you don’t fear to repeat on red carpets?
I think I have done it already. For me, the safest way is to go monochrome.
One look/colour that you will never take to the red carpet?
It might sound weird, but I just can’t carry pink. That is not at all my shade.
Over the years you have worked every kind of look — Indian/western/Indo-western. How do you manage to carry off these varied styles?
The moment you start making effort, it is a flop show. I realised this after observing myself in the industry, where shutterbugs are always behind you. The moment you start being yourself you can carry off anything.
From the iconic yesteryear actresses, whose style sense do you think is timeless and why?
Sharmila Tagore. If I look at her 20 years back or even today, I feel her wardrobe was and is evergreen.
Your role in Roadies X4 is different from what all you have done in career till date. How have you styled yourself differently for the show?
More than styling, it was about mental preparation. I am from a military family, so being tough and rugged is in my DNA. Before the journey started, I had made my mind to perform all the tasks, get the experience and I did it.
Which are the brands and designers you swear by?
In a broader stroke, I would say I love all the fast fashion brands. They, somewhere, speak my mind in terms of fashion and style.
Your take on street wear – yes or no?
Of course, yes. And I do it on my own. When I travel I prefer street shopping.
When it comes to hair styling, how do prefer it?
I am fidgety. So, it needs to be tied up neatly. Majority times you will find me with tied hair.
What’s the funkiest element in your wardrobe?
I think now everyone knows that I have fetish for shoes. With no doubt, it is the funkiest element of my wardrobe. You can find classiest to funkiest piece in my cupboard.