8 Individuals Who Are Redefining Fashion With Their Signature Touches | Verve Magazine
India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
October 28, 2017

8 Individuals Who Are Redefining Fashion With Their Signature Touches

Text by Geeta Rao

You can go crazy keeping up the season’s current trends or follow the lead of these stylish folk

Fashion is current and style is timeless or so we have been taught. Style is personal while fashion is led by the next big trend. Style, one could argue, is about zigging to one’s own tunes, while everybody zags.

Think about it.What do Bryanboy, Iris Apfel and Laila Tyabji have in common? Besides being part of the human race, one would assume not much else. But each has a strong sense of personal style that makes them stand out in their own world and possibly in any world they choose to inhabit.

The new fashion democracy has no doubt made having personal style a bit more fashionable ­— dare I say ‘trendy’? With fashion brands now wanting to own street style, it is all a bit entangled and the only way to define this is to examine the people one deems stylish….

Iris Apfel

At 96, Iris Apfel has been hailed for her personal style for over six decades — and perhaps longer. She has had an exhibition at the MET called Rara Avis (Rare Bird): The Irreverent Iris Apfel. She continues to make a style statement wherever she is. It could be her signature oversized glasses or her over-the-top combination of beads and baubles. Her ability to spin the colour wheel at will and halt it at dizzying combinations is both inspiring and amazing. In an interview, she once said that her style could vary from Zen to baroque, but was never in-between.

Laila Tyabji

Laila Tyabji is the person behind Dastkar, a collective responsible for leading handloom and crafts revival and preservation in India. At 70, she became a Facebook star when she blogged a new sari look every day for a month. The response was swift and flattering. She did not post complicated drapes coupled with distracting anti-fit blouses, the more ‘fashionable’ way of wearing saris. She draped her sari in the classic way, but the colours, the range and the craftsmanship of her collection combined with her own jewellery and stunning grey hair created an inimitable aesthetic and a fan following among young women.


Rihanna — Robyn Rihanna Fenty — has more than 56 million Instagram followers and 78 million followers on Twitter. She is a celebrity who has broken every fashion rule along the way, but her followers are crazy about her personal style and attitude. She has supported the Free The Nipple campaign and has created an admirable inclusive beauty range under the label Fenty Beauty. Despite her commercial endorsements, she embodies individualistic and fierce fashion in every post.


Born in the Philippines, Bryanboy aka Bryan Grey Yambao created the rules of fashion blogging. While access to fashion is part of his play, it is the elegant campiness of his personal style that sets him apart. In a world where street style and social media reign supreme, his personal style narrative stands out.

Kareena Kapoor Khan

Kareena Kapoor Khan was not the first Bollywood star to get pregnant or have a publicly documented pregnancy, yet she created a new rulebook for what the sexy mommy-to-be should be wearing. Her slit gowns, voluminous pearls, smoky eyes, and peeking décolletage made the baby bump awesomely sexy. This was a display of confident style, a celebration of her growing curves as her maternity progressed.

Ranveer Singh

There are many men on best-dressed lists, but Ranveer Singh takes his sartorial choices seriously. Checked trousers, mustard waistcoats and burgundy suits are all par for the course. From his generation of stars, only Singh can carry off dandy chic because his persona lets him.

David Ogilvy

Adman David Ogilvy said you should cultivate your eccentricities while young so that they become your signature as you grow older. There is some truth to what he said — his red suspenders became his trademark for life.

Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, has an underplayed and conservative style which will never be considered avant-garde or ‘fierce’, but her sense of style makes a definite statement — a nod to British designers and high street above all. Is this a politically correct move? In reality, with a few variations, this has been her style even in her student days.

In the continuing debate between fashion and style, it’s the latter that always triumphs over the former. Fashion demands pliant clothes horses while style is more. It is based on personal attitude coming through in what you wear while fashion is based on obsolescence — the season’s current trend must go out of fashion very quickly for the industry to thrive. Cultivating a style philosophy that stays even as you change silhouettes is like mastering the language you want to write your views in. Otherwise, you are likely to need a translator….

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