‘Aisha’ – A Fashion-Savvy Watch

I went to watch ‘Aisha’ the same day it released in the UAE. Now I am not much of a movie buff when it comes to Bollywood, but after watching the trailer for this movie, I just could not resist! I’m not crazy about Sonam Kapoor, nor did I go for the fact that ‘Aisha’ is supposed to be an adaptation of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’. (Austen is Austen, how much better could a Bollywood version of it be better than the original? I mean, come on!) I went for the fashion, the amazing wardrobe, the gorgeous styling, and to see whether a Bollywood movie could actually pull off Dior!

Let’s just talk about the movie here, without going to the styling yet, which is hard to do since the clothes were SUCH a huge part of every single scene. It’s not Stratford-upon-Avon stuff but it was a light watch without any garish dancing-around-trees song sequences or any melodramatic and exaggerated dialogue. Sonam Kapoor was alright, it was an average sort of role that did not require any tremendous display of actings kills and she was so-so; it was the supporting cast that stole the show, the three friends, Abhay Deol, and even the super-hot Lisa Haydon acted better than what their character required.

Back to the clothes.

Formalwear that oozes casual, who wouldn't want to go to work in these?

Abhay’s wardrobe in the entire movie screamed Wall Street, just look at that slick skinny tie!  From Valentino to Hugo Boss, he stayed suited up the whole time, and my, what a sight for sore eyes he was! Each and every piece was cut to perfection, and suited his lean frame incredibly well. Sigh.  Now let’s get to what Sonam’s wearing.  The first thing you notice is how the bright blue of the linen shorts contrasts with the white, and this is a great way to add a splash of colour to a typically dull formal-white-shirt-and-trousers combo. Is that a pink snakeskin belt I see? The comb hairband looks neat and can cure any bad hair day, and what’s NOT to love about that Chanel bag!

I just can't get enough of Abhay in a suit, and lookie there, I own that very same headband!

How amazing does that suit look? Wow. The dull beige of the suit should clash with the darker beige of the tie, but they both complement each other surprisingly well, and those dimples could melt a glacier. Sonam’s wearing a vintage Chanel suit here, which according to Pernia Qureshi (the stylist of the movie), was rather difficult to obtain; hanging blissfully off her shoulder is, once again, a classic Chanel bag. On her head is an adorable black-bow headband, one of which I own as well; not many people can do headbands but Sonam is one of the lucky few and throughout the movie, her headbands look uber chic. The monochrome Chanel suit actually looks a lot like a modern Marc Jacobs creation, but nonetheless, I went green with envy went Sonam strutted across the screen in this. Chanel + vintage + headband = MY DREAM COME TRUE!

This looks like a still out of Gossip Girl!

Black and white, always a winning combination! Is it just me or is Sonam Kapoor dressed up a lot like Leighton Meester’s on-screen persona, Blair Waldorf? Even so, I think Sonam does justice to the look: the dress is just the right length and the shoulder detail of black ruffles is bang on trend, the black beret is quite Parisienne, and the big black shades and are the perfect accessory. The black Lady Dior bag is a collector’s item, on top of my list along with the Birkin bag, and I honestly wish I had Anil Kapoor as a dad to produce my film JUST so I could have this bag! The only problem I have with Sonam’s outfit are the black pumps, a pair of black Loubs would have looked soooo much better, but nonetheless, the overall look is still top-notch. Her friend on the side is also pretty trendy: she’s wearing a Manish Arora Mickey Mouse warrior top and those fierce shoulders remind me of Balmain’s 2009 fall collection. It’s been paired here with short shorts and knee high boots, and looks like something I’d see in a couture show. Nice!

This is SO Blair

Okay I included this picture of Sonam JUST to prove a point. In interviews, she’s denied that the styling of Blair Waldorf had anything to do with her look in Aisha, and I find that reallyyyyyy hard to believe. Here, she’s dressed in what looks like a gunmetal March Jacobs dress, paired with a white bow waist belt (which I own in purple, thank you very much), heart-shaped sunnies and a bright pink chain bag. Does anyone recall Blair and Serena’s photoshoot at the very beginning of the show for Eleanor Waldorf’s collection? I think it was in Season 1 (Episode 4) and the two girls decided to model the outfits together. This pose is SO similar to one of Blair’s that I was taken aback that it wasn’t actually her, but Sonam Kapoor, so kudos to Sonam for perfecting the look so well.

All in all, this was a Bollywood movie that stands apart from all others, simply because this is one of the very first of its kinds: an Indian movie that actually takes the importance of good styling into account! It features clothes not just from established fashion houses such as Chanel and Dior but also relatively new ones like Acme and Marc Jacobs; lace, ruffles, pearls, suits, sarees, the movie has it all! Of course, I loved it a lil bit more just because so many of the clothes are of the sort that are in my own closet downstairs, hehe. A little heads up to the rest of the over-the-top producers in Bollywood: watch and learn from ‘Aisha’, and use more of your production budget when it comes to wardrobe! I definitely got my money’s worth from it: the couture, the headbands, the designer bags and of course, Abhay’s cute-as-buttons dimples.

P.S: This movie is a statement for the amazing style make-over Sonam Kapoor has had over the years. When she started off with ‘Saawariya’, she was a nobody who dressed in Anarkalis and lehenga-cholis. A couple of years later, she discovered personal stylist and TA-DA! She is now a fashion force to be reckoned with; just goes to show you that clothes do make the person.


Coco before Chanel

I watched a great movie over the weekend – Coco avant Chanel.

Audrey Tatou as Coco Chanel

The title is pretty self-explanatory, its obviously about the life of Coco Chanel (whose name was actually Gabrielle btw) and how she became the trailblazing designer and founder of THE brand of the world. 

I love fashion, and for me, Chanel is right at the top.  It beats every other fashion house in terms of elegance, sophistication and history.  It’s creations have always been timelessly classic, uber elegant and oh so chic (barring, of course, the latest few fiascos of full-body fur suits and what not). 

The movie depicts Coco’s rise to the top, but its not as cliched as it sounds.  She is an orphan who works as a seamstress during the day and sings at a cabaret bar/parlour with her sister to earn money, and even then she’s extremely picky about who to take it from and the line between singing and selling your body.  The song that she performs is extremely catchy and about a a little puppy called Coco who is lost: Qui qu’a vu Coco dans l’Trocadéro? (Who’s seen Coco in the Trocadero?) This is how Gabrielle earned the nickname of Coco.

She catches the eye of a baron by the name of Balson and it is through this liaison that she makes her entrance into the high society.  Balsan himself is a character who I, as a viewer, both despised, pitied and even empathised with; his multifacetedness is depicted brilliantly.  As much as she desperately wants to go to Paris and become rich and famous, she is equally disdainful of the opulence that she witnesses in the social circle of the creme de la creme.  Hers is a paradoxical nature, and though she knows she was destined for greatness, she’s also puzzled about where it is that she belongs or what her place in the world really is. 

She starts designing hats for the society women and begins to make a name for herself for having a minimalistic and chic approach to accessorizing.  This is emphasized immensely in the movie by the way Coco prefers to dress up in men’s trousers and vests instead of soft, pink and lacey gowns.  She refuses to wear a corset, preferring instead that the fabric fall naturally on the body, and she continuously mocks the other women under her breath for their excessive display of jewels and use of rich fabrics.

The movie also shows Coco’s affair with the English businessman Arthur Capel, and its tragic end was so beautifully depicted that anyone who’s ever had a love story cut short will definitely be able to relate.  It also offers an explanation for why Coco never married, as she herself says in the movie that she is not the type of woman to marry.  I think there’s a direct quote from her regarding why she never married a certain Duke, and she just said that there are many Duchesses but only one Chanel.  Sigh.  She was a woman ahead of her time and exasperatingly independent, truly deserving of the being the icon she became.

The REAL Coco in 1938, oozing with oomph

Audrey Tatou does a fantastic job at playing the role of Coco, she lives and breathes the character through every nuance and every gesture.  She embodies the essence of Coco, and bears a startling resemblance to the icon.  It may not be a subject of interest for many, but for anyone who has even the slightest inclination towards or passion for fashion, this movie is a must-watch.  There were so many instances that inspired me, and I was just in awe of it all.  The outfits are all amazing, and it’s really fascinating to watch the origins of the simplistic, demure and ultra chic designs that the fashion house of Chanel is so renowned for creating.

Note:  The movie is entirely in French so if you are flunet in the language, it’s a rela treat to watch.  Otherwise, keep your English subtitles on and the experience is just as gratifying.