'Ranbir Kapoor will wear anything he is given'
A psychology graduate and trained pilot are attracting the attention of Bollywood's 'boys' with their Bemberg-lined suits
Priyanka Shahani and Kazim Delhiwala. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
They won't divulge their age. Instead, they will regale you with stories about the "boys" from Bollywood. When you dress a star for a public sighting, you tend to learn more than if he picks brogues over moccasins.
So, we learn that Ranbir Kapoor is not into brands. He will wear what you give him, and carry it off too. "Ranbir couldn't be cooler. There were times when we wondered, will he wear this? Well, he did actually wear everything we gave him. He is not a brand snob," says Kazim Delhiwala.
Ranbir in a "gender-blurring fluid" ensemble by Antar-Agni, shoes by Guidi and Kuboraum sunglasses
Kazim is one half of Vainglorious, a stylist service he runs with wife Priyanka Shahani. They are impatient and greedy to fatten their roster of famous, although they've
already ticked off Emraan Hashmi, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput and Tiger Shroff on it.
Their firm introduces shoppers, including the famous, to international labels that you don't find online. A lot of the names include personal favourites, stores the two have visited on trips and loved.
Vainglorious dressed Ranbir in an oversized burnt orange hoodie with tee by Greek designer Angelos Frentzos, jeans by Neil Berett, Lost & Found shoes and Kuboraum sunglasses
"We got into styling with the promise that we would contribute something that wasn't already there. We study the star or client's personality closely, consider how he would dress himself. It shouldn't look like he has walked out of a magazine shoot, or that he went to a store and it exploded on him. It should be honest, organic," says Kazim when Priyanka jumps in, "…and just a little more glamorous".
The couple met in 2000, and married three years ago. Their collective non-fashion background (Priyanka majored in psychology and heads a family-run film studio in Mahim; Kazim is a trained pilot) has allowed them a fresh perspective on stale men's fashion in India. "Often, men are forced to be ashamed of dressing up. So, you see a guy in a suit with a shirt that's not tucked in. They wish to say, I don't dress up. We needed to fix that. We needed men to look pretty too."
Vainglorious dressed Tiger Shroff for a 2015 film award function in a Tom Ford shawl lapel laser cut patterned blazer, satin trim tuxedo pants and patent leather Oxfords. Pic/Yogen Shah
Their own dress sense is as much a head-turner as their work. Famed American blogger-photographer Scott Schuman's The Sartorialist has documented their style. "Imagine my surprise when Scott tapped me on the shoulder and asked to photograph me while I was strolling in Marais, Paris, this June," Kazim says excitedly.
But, it's dressing Hindi film stars for movie promotions and celebrity events that has got them maximum attention. The pair dipped their toes into water with actor Ali Zafar while he was promoting the 2014 Aditya Chopra production, Kill Dil. "It was a time when we were trying to figure how the industry works, whether it would be exciting for us to get involved, and not be left creatively stifled by its demands," Priyanka shares.
Their first formal assignment was with Emraan Hashmi during promotions for Ungli. But, it was Ranbir's sartorial choices while promoting his last release, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil that had people sit up and take notice.
"We pride ourselves in working with smaller fashion houses. We are fabric, fit and technique geeks, so when we travel abroad, we visit stores and discuss the philosophy behind the design process, which makes the brand believe in our values," says Kazim. "That's how we make connections. Shopping for ourselves helps, of course," Priyanka laughs.
Headlining their list of favourites is Paris-based design collective Vetements (pronounced vet-MAHN; French for 'clothes') headed by Demna Gvasalia and his group of faceless, mysterious collaborators, and Californian designer Rick Owens.
"I am obsessed with Rick's grungy-glamorous aesthetic! Saint Laurent is very particular. Their ready-to-wear is available only when our actors travel to Dubai. In India, however, it's only shoes. Tom Ford is very picky about whom they work with, but they like our Bollywood actors," Kazim adds. They dressed up Ranbir in a Tom Ford turtleneck shirt, jacket and trousers for his appearance on Koffee with Karan. "We have been lucky with actors, but I would like to style women," Priyanka drops a hint.
For now, they are immersed in styling actors for their public appearances, and a movie commitment seems premature. "Unless they make an Aisha for men! If the script is centered on a middle-class hero, we won't be able to contribute," Kazim says with certainty. "It would be a mere money grab, not creatively satisfying for us."
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