IF A LOT HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT VIDYA BALAN’S CHANGED LOOK TODAY IN SHAADI KE SIDE EFFECTS, IT HAS TO DO WITH HER STYLIST JAYATI BOSE. MANJU RAMANAN SPEAKS TO HER FORMER COLLEAGUE, NOW CELEBRITY STYLIST AND DESIGNER JAYATI IN A CANDID CHAT.
How did you get into styling after being a fashion journalist?
I quit my job as a fashion journalist because I wanted to venture out on my own and figure out what more lies beyond the pages of a magazine. No sooner I quit, Rita Dhody offered me to work as an assistant stylist for Madhur Bhandarkar’s film Fashion (despite having no experience in the field of styling she had a lot of confidence in me to pull off this job, and I did). Soon after, while I was still working for the film, Jitesh Pillai, editor of Filmfare gave me an opportunity to style Deepika Padukone for his magazine cover. I have to thank him because after that there was no looking back. Be it celebrity styling for advertisement work or events or magazine covers, my styling career just took off.
Was styling Vidya a challenge you accepted since she is known to be a sari person largely?
Considering the audience is used to seeing her in her gorgeous saris, be it on-screen or off-screen, it definitely was a unique experience for me to make them believe that she beautifully sports westerns too.
What aspects of her personality did you explore while styling her?
Vidya is an actor who gets involved in the smallest of details of the character she plays. So, while designing her looks I made sure I don’t miss out on anything that is required to build her character in the film through her wardrobe. I remember going through several rounds of ideation with her and Saket to freeze on the final looks for her character TRISHA. I must admit that I had great support from Vidya. She never lost patience over the number of trials we did and she always helped me keep the character real and rooted to the story.
What is the one thing about Vidya you found difficult to negotiate and how did you convince her?
You never have to negotiate with Vidya about a look. If there is anything that is crucial and important for the character, Vidya will never say no to it. In fact it was great fun for me to design her character: her clothes, her hair and her makeup.
How is her character designed in the film?
Trisha is an effortlessly chic girl. Her clothes have a sprinkle of hippiness and a dollop of fun in them, and Vidya has pulled off Trisha’s clothes with great elan. She plays an upper middle class working girl with an independent thinking, and her clothes speak the same lingo. I visualised and designed the character not in couture clothes, but fused in flea market and high street brands to achieve the free-spirited vivacious upper-middle class “Trisha”.
Does proper styling enhance a person’s inherent character or change it?
Proper styling differs while styling/ designing for a film to when it’s a real life person. For a film, you never go by the actor’s inherent character, but the personality of the character he/she is playing. But while you are working on personal styling, a stylist should always make sure that the clothes, makeup and hair never take over the basic personality of your client. Styling should only enhance the beauty, not make you look different from who or what you are.
Who are the stars you would like to style and why?
I wished I could work with the legendary Suchitra Sen. Being a Bong; I have grown up watching the black-n-white frames with this beauty taking over the screen with her strong performances and innate elegance. Really wish I could have worked with her once, although I guess she must have retired much before I was even born. *sigh*.
Which actor /actress do you think has a natural sense of style and follows it?
Meryl Streep. She’s somebody who isn’t a slave to fashion, she has an inherent signature style of her own and she follows that without being prejudiced by so called “fashion-seasons”.
Tell us about your career as a stylist – who all have you styled?
From Vidya Balan to Priyanka Chopra, Rani Mukherjee to Madhuri Dixit; Katrina Kaif to Aishwarya Rai; Sonam Kapoor to Deepika Padukone; Parineeti Chopra to Alia Bhatt I have almost worked with all the contemporary Bollywood beauties.
Oh yes, not to miss the legends like Hema Malini and Waheeda Rehman.
Amongst men, with Senior and Junior Bachchan; Akshay Kumar, Ranbir Kapoor to Ranvir Singh; Imran Khan to Emraan Hasmi, Shahid Kapoor to Shah Rukh Khan, these are the men I have worked with.