What Makes A True Fashion Statement?
Flashback to last November; I was tottering for the umpteenth time around Rajasthan, yet again having my fill of its sumptuous culture and technicoloured dressing sense of the villager. Fast-forward to a few months later: a grey winter in Paris, where a magazine editor’s sharp monochromes and sharper silhouettes glide across the city’s majestic landscape. In my mind, the curvaceous Indian juxtaposes herself against the sleek French. Somehow, despite their diversities, both find common ground; through the effortless ease with which they carry off their individual looks.
I scan my visual memory where my own personal best dressed list is stored. In it, I find Audrey Hepburn. In one image she’s an haute couture dream in head-to-toe Givenchy. In another snapshot, she’s in a striped shirt and ordinary straw hat. I see the link — that benevolent, beatific smile of hers, coupled with eyes that artlessly wrinkle around the edges. She was an ace, that one.
Queen Latifah’s popping up in my head, and that’s quite a surprise. Sure, she works that generous figure to great advantage but it’s just a regular jewel-toned silk gown she’s got on, so what’s the special appeal here? And then I catch it — that confidence in her stride, that badass attitude shimmering around her like a halo.
But once more I’m drawn towards Sunita Kapoor’s traditional elegance, and her haughty demeanour adds stature to her style. But once more I dig deeper and there it is. The way her face lights up and her stance softens when her fashion-forward daughter Sonam Kapoor swoops in for some mummy time.
I recall Roohi Jaikishan’s shoot for this issue. She is all chiselled cheekbones and lavish mane; sculpted and toned right down to her little toe. Oozing slick sensuality in her deep-cut Gucci dress. A quick change later, she’s down to denim shorts and velvet loafers, overseeing the mammoth breakfast she’s arranged for the crew, insisting that everyone eats well as she fills plates to the brim, reminding her son to take some goodies on his visit to dadi. It’s the large-hearted spirit of this woman that becomes her unwavering style asset.
I’m not even pretending to suggest that trends don’t matter or celebrities don’t influence the way we dress. An impeccably embroidered Anamika Khanna sari will always add fashionable flair just as surely as L.K. Bennett pumps will sell out days after Kate Middleton dons a pair.
We all attempt to look our presentable best but what is it that adds extra punch to one’s appearance and maybe not to another’s? It could be a healthy sense of self-worth, a willingness to give and accept cheer, a fearlessness to just be who one is — opinion and judgment of others be damned!
My trick is to watch my own expression in the mirror. My visage scrunches and frowns when I attempt a with-it crop top; it relaxes and beams when I switch to a classic, low-belted shirt dress. I’m learning to own my look and I’m a happier person for it. So peek into your mirror and grasp that smile, that air of assuredness when it does appear. That’s the real fashion statement you need to make.