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Fashion
July 10, 2018

The Reigning Stars Of Street Style: Barbie Rajput

Text by Sadaf Shaikh. Realisation by Ekta Rajani. Photograph by Rema Chaudhary. Hair and Make-up by Jean-Claude Biguine

An independent singer, songwriter and actor, she likes to think of herself as a blank canvas, allowing her mood to dictate her outfit selection for the day

An independent singer, songwriter and actor who is all of 22, Barbie Rajput has been performing since the age of eight. Refusing to kowtow to trends, she likes to think of herself as a blank canvas, allowing her mood to dictate her outfit selection for the day. She oscillates between dressing like a hippie and unleashing her traditional avatar in ’50s Indian wear and is most inspired by how yesteryear actor Sadhana carried herself.

How do your sartorial choices liberate you?
“I believe I could pull off anything I wanted to. Although I’m usually seen in western attire, dressing up in traditional wear wouldn’t cause me to be self-conscious. Even if I had to wear six-inch heels, I would only wear them because I wanted to, not because I was compelled to.

I can’t define my personality, which is why I’ve not been able to define my style. I recently attended a wedding where everyone was decked in ethnic wear. I didn’t feel like it, so I just threw on a black trench coat and paired it with shades. I wasn’t trying to make a statement; it was just very natural. All that matters is what you think suits you. The need for validation from society is so imbibed in us as human beings. You can’t tell everybody to accept you in whatever way or form you are because it’s hard to purge the world of certain stereotypes. Most of the time, people don’t know who they are and are struggling to find their real selves. I think once you do, just embrace it.”

Would you say that you use your sense of style to change people’s perception of you?
“Of course not. I’ve met people who think they should not wear white nail paint because their partners think they are too dark-skinned to wear white. I tell them to remove the significant other out of their lives, not the nail paint. Never confine yourself to notions held by other people.”

Who are your style inspirations?
“Let’s talk about pop culture first. I’m a huge fan of Sadhana, the actress; I love her and everything about her — the way she wore her sarees, the way she wore the bindi and the liner and the Audrey Hepburn haircut that became popular in India because of her. Michael Jackson and Prince were true rockstars when it came to contemporary idols.

I’m also very fond of African culture and incorporate many elements from their way of dressing into my own aesthetic. I’m from the Himachal region, and everything that is inspired by India attracts me. The way I’ve draped my scarf today reminds me of how my nani would tie her dupatta while ploughing the field in the bright sunlight, so I try to wear it every now and then to remind myself about my roots.”

Your own fashion thumb rule…
“Thigh-high boots, shorts and long, loose jackets to give me the Ariana Grande pop vibe because I love her style.”

A fashion staple that enhances your outfit…
“It has to be shoes. I think shoes matter a lot, so even when you’re wearing a simple dress, wearing statement shoes with it just elevates the look. I think bags and shoes should always go together. Accessories have the power to transform an outfit altogether.”

What is your signature style?
“It would have to be sweatpants and a crop top. Very R&B from the 90’s — that’s my favourite genre of music because the people, the culture, the music are all very fascinating. Also, anything black will always find favour with me.”

Previous: Ishani Das
Next: Kanika Karvinkop

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