The thing about period films is that they build a world that’s different from the one we’re used to, but at the same time, they project a time we’re familiar with – be it from photos and videos to stories from one’s elders. With the Akshay Kumar, Ileana D’Cruz-starrer Rustom, director Tinu Suresh Desai has attempted to create one such world – that evokes a sense of the time that has passed, yet is so familiar. One significant element of this glimpse into a different time is the fashion quotient. The late 1950s and early 1960s were known for glossy retro fashion, the kind inspired by Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, when oomph and style oozed through every garment and accessory.
Now add in a dash of Parsi to the mix for D’Cruz’s character, and you have yourself pastel shade dresses and embroidered saris. For this film, costume designer Ameira Punvani has been widely complimented for the precision with which she has dressed the various characters. In various interviews where Punvani deconstructed the looks for her principle characters, she explained how she opted for a lot of can-cans in the dresses, the colour palette was restricted to pastel shades, with influences of Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. While, her post-marriage look, D’Cruz was styled in authentic Parsi saris with the typical Ghara embroidery.
For the character of Priti Makhija, played by Esha Gupta, Punvani opted for glam by choosing jewel tones, sheen fabrics and pairing the dresses with classic gold, diamonds and stone jewellery. Chic, sophisticated yet bold and definitely expensive, that was the brief that Punvani chose for Gupta – a very a la Marilyn Monroe.
But there is a lot more to the classic retro fashion of the time. Sidhika Gupta, Fashion Head at Roposo, an online space that specialises in celeb fashion and current trends, gives us 10 tips on how to recreate the retro look.
Opt for polka dots: As they say, you can never have a bad day in polkas, rightfully so, the polka dots can take you straight into a retro vibe. As bright and beautiful as that decade, the polkas vary from twin colour combinations to a plethora of hues.
Go bold with your prints: Be playful with those bold floral skirts and the abstract printed saris and get your retro-look right. The tightly draped printed saree never really went out of fashion; it only became more polished than the yesteryears. If you are choosing a shift dress in elaborate prints or a pencil skirt in a bold colour, ensure that the silhouettes are clean sans embellishments. This balances the big prints and bold colours.
Knots: Front knot crop tops and shirts were the favourites of every fashionistas. Knotting is a retro statement as one can also see it being used in hair-bands, tops and belted bottoms. So, make most of this retro style this season by giving it a modern spin.
Flared Leg: Flare and flamboyance are the quintessential elements of Retro. Highly inspired by musicians and actors, the flare trend hit the streets like wild fire. As the trend came back, every high street store has been flooded with bell sleeves and bell bottoms. So you may pick bell bottom pants for your Sunday brunch and a flowy feminine midi dress in the evening for a movie to evoke the high spirits of that era.
Oversized sunglasses: Oversized sunglasses in timeless round or cat’s eye frame can effortlessly let you make an edgy retro statement.
Scarf: A modern rendition of the evergreen patterns of checks, stripes, polka dots and houndstooth will make this must-have fashion accessory of the past, right back into your wardrobe. No retro ensemble is complete without an eye-catching scarf. Whether you go the pin-up way or drape it simply around your neck, scarves definitely have the power to make any simple look stand out in the crowd.
Go glamorous with those curls: Those were the years when large curls defined the hair styles of glamorous Hollywood stars like Veronica Lake. To get that retro glam look, wear those curls neatly contoured around your face. Keep a soft beehive or hair pinned up in an exaggerated puff and voila! And if that is not enough, bows and tie-ups are always your friends in need.
Hoop earrings: The representation of jewellery in the retro era was pretty much bold and bling and here hoop earrings managed to steal the show every time. When it comes to hoops, the bigger is the better. So compliment your ensemble with a giant pair of hoops almost touching your shoulder.
Bare that shoulder: Opt for a halter neck top and pair it with a striped maxi skirt or an off-shoulder front-button dress in bright solid colors. No matter whatever you choose, just bare those shoulders as an expression of freedom.
Platform and block heels: Retro, as they say was inspired by music and sets the mood ringing for dance and twirl wearing a comfortable pair of footwear. From stompy platforms in berry crushed-velvet to T-strapped pumps worn with chunky socks and tights, these stylish beauties are absolutely perfect to groove on the disco beats.
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