India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Cover Story
January 13, 2016

Inside Kangana Ranaut’s Wardrobe

Text by Huzan Tata. Photographed by Prasad Naik. Styling by Nisha Jhangiani. Assisted by Shweta Navandar.. Make-up by Shabana Latif. Hair by Rebecca Doney, TFM Fashion and Entertainment India Pvt Ltd. All Clothes, Bags, Shoes And Accessories From Dior’s Autumn/Winter 2015 Collection

Darling of the couturiers and the critics alike, Kangana Ranaut talks about her style secrets and memories of playing dress-up with her mom’s saris

She walks into the studio, towering over the entire crew in her thigh-high raspberry boots, and gets ready to face the camera. Her trademark mane is hidden underneath a wig, but as soon as this lioness steps in front of the camera, you know it’s showtime. There’s a certain fire in her eyes — though she’s flicking her hair and changing her countenance and stance for each shot, the expression consistently says, ‘I own this look’. And that is the power of a true fashionista.

Still riding high on the success of what can be considered one of the hottest films of 2014 (Queen) and wowing the world in a stunning Ralph & Russo gown at its Paris premiere last month, she confidently breezes through all the changes at the Verve cover shoot. In the vanity van soon after, her glorious curls are back, and she is dressed in trackpants and a sweatshirt, but with an undeniable aura about her. “I have sometimes been conscious of the way I look. There are times when you feel unsure of yourself,” she tells me during our interaction. If this is true, she’s never let it show. And that’s what makes Kangana Ranaut who she is. Confidence and charm are her aces, combined with her feisty personality; she’s unapologetic and frank in front of the camera and you’ve got to admire her for that.

“There are some clothes in my wardrobe that are five years old, which I thought were useless. But when I wear them now, they are sensational! Spend time in front of your hangers and you are sure to find something special,” the two-time National Award-winner advises. The chameleon-like quality of outfits on the clothes rack aside, there are few people who you may expect to turn the ordinary into the exceptional…and Bollywood’s queen stands tall among them. Whether she stands poised in haute couture in the fashion capital of the world, or lies back casually in her vanity van, Ranaut owns every statement with finesse and character.

We indulge in a fun rapid fire where I learn of her passion for high heels, pantsuits and all things vintage…

“Grooming is uncool when you take yourself too seriously — it can be a put-off. Taking care and being in love with yourself is all about accepting the way you are, and presenting your best.”

“I played dress-up all the time as a child. Taking mom’s saris, making dresses out of dupattas, playing with brocades in all kinds of funny ways….”

“I would call boho chic ‘the Kangana Ranaut look’. That’s my way of dressing.”

“My rule is simple. When I know I’ll be watched and will be photographed, I like to be someone who is presentable and who has a strong personality. I wouldn’t want people to get a sense of how I am within the walls of my house. But when I’m with people I am comfortable with, I like trackpants and T-shirts. I want to be at ease in my home.”

“I think it’s very flattering when people want to dress up and look like me.”

“I don’t think I have any ‘greatest’ asset, when it comes to looks…”

“I repeat all my outfits to death. The one staple in my wardrobe are my Oxfords.”

“It takes me around 30 minutes to get ready if I have to step out of my house. It’s my hair that takes the most time, but I don’t fix it myself. If it’s a work meeting or a place where I just need to concentrate on things, I don’t waste any time and wear trackpants and casual clothes.”

“When I’m dressing up for personal reasons, I decide everything on my own, but usually Ami (Patel, stylist) helps me with my styling.”

“I normally sleep in pyjamas and a T-shirt.”

“I wish I could eat cheese without thinking twice.”

“I think I was eight when I wore heels for the first time. I loved high heels. When I would wear them, everyone would ask ‘How do you walk in these?’ I could even run in them!”

“The characters i’ve played are all about the physical appearance. So it’s very important for me to get that right first. For my films, I do guide the costume directors a little bit.”

“I’m a very ‘vintage’ person. Everything in my house and wardrobe is vintage. So I’m looking forward to my next film, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Rangoon. Dolly Ahluwalia (designer) is giving me a lot of vintage gowns. I’m playing a 1940s star, so I have wavy hair, dark lips and brilliant costumes. That would be one look I can really identify with.”

“The outfits I really hated were those of Rani in Queen. Her wardrobe wasn’t something you’d want to keep!”

“Dressing up for an evening out, I normally wear suits, or maybe a jumpsuit.”

“I’m more comfortable in Western wear. Indian wear is just drapes and drapes! I like simple salwar kameezes, but now those have also been exaggerated to anarkalis, which have seven-metre drapes! I find it uncomfortable to move around in saris too.”

“My favourite Indian designers are Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Manish Malhotra.”

“I’ve really admired the styles of Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and Marilyn Monroe.”

“I follow trends if they strike a chord with me. If something doesn’t suit my personality or attitude, I’ll just admire it and say ‘Oh, that’s great’, but not necessarily follow it.”

“When I wear Indian clothes, I try to imitate Rekha, especially when I wear kanjivarams.”

“I don’t know about being a style icon, but I admire what I wear. My clothes have a strong personality and speak of someone who is self-made, who doesn’t buy dresses just for the sake of it or to prove a point. I think what comes across is a woman who’s got her points of view and who’s made her way to where she is. And that contributes to my style.”

“Fashion to me is an expression, like art. It’s an expression of your individuality, your attitude. When you’re trying to be fashionable, don’t follow anyone. Develop your own expression.”

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