Aishwarya Rai’s sense of style has always been under scrutiny. While her fans have loved her looks, many have criticised her outfits but her breathtaking beauty has been a common factor in all her movies. Just as she gets ready to become a Bachchan bahu, Umesh Jivnani speaks to some designers who have created her best looks in the movies..
NEETA LULLA: My association with Aishwarya goes back a long way. Yash Chopra called me one day to say that he had a test shoot with this stunning newcomer whom he wanted to cast in his next film.
Turning heads This was just after Darr had become a huge hit. The only hitch was that Aishwarya was going to participate in the Miss World Pageant then..
Anyway, I first met her at that test shoot. She was this beautiful girl unaware about how heads turned when she walked into a room.
We hit it off instantly, she has a sharp memory of film clothes.She told me about all the clothes I had designed for Sridevi and Juhi for their films.. we lost touch after she won Miss World contest.
She was away for a year but after her homecoming, I met up with her again to work on her film Jeans.
Over the years, Ash has been consistent with clothes. She has always been partial to classic cuts and simple outfits. Working with her through the last decade, I realised she has an affinity towards more traditional clothing like saris and churidar kurtas.
With eyes like hers She prefers softer colours in neutrals or pale blue, greens and peaches. Indian clothes look most elegant on her. Ivory, nude, beige, gold and peach flatter her most and bring out her coloured eyes effectively.
Off screen, she looks best in jeans and salwar kurtas for casual wear, churidars and saris for a semi-formal look and saris or gowns for formal occasions. She never overdoes her look with excessive jewellery or loud embroidery and prefers softer cuts that have an eternal quality.
She is an intelligent dresser, she doesn’t restrict her self to one look. I’ve also done many of her commercials and shows, including the clothes for the bridal line of Nakshatra and the bridal wear for her firstever Longines ad. D-Day dressing
Even though there have been many ‘fun’ moments, we’ve had our differences of opinions many times. The high points of the films that we have worked on would include Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Taal and Devdas.
About her film costumes, Ash has always been very aware that film clothes go down in history so she has always been particular about every detail of her garments and accessories.
When she called me to make her wedding outfit and trousseau, I was thrilled. It was a completely different feeling from doing her film costumes.
What changes do you see in Aishwarya as a dresser over the past decade?
Ash has always been a controlled dresser..she knows that simpler clean lines work best to showcase her natural beauty.
Do you see any notable changes in her look?
Ash has grown to be much more comfortable with fashion and has moved from more embellished looks to a cleaner, simpler look which works so well for her. I also feel she enjoys fashion so much more… Look at her in her new Lux campaign, she’s celebrating style.
In Dhoom 2, you gave her the hottest look she’s ever had on screen.
Was it difficult convincing her to wear those sexy clothes?
No. Dhoom 2 was a mis sion.. Aditya Chopra had briefed me to make it the hottest and sexiest film ever. Since Ash was in great shape.. she had just the right attitude to the character.
Which commercials have you styled her for in the past few years?
Lux, De beers and every possible magazine cover!
Name some high points of your work together?
I have to say Dhoom 2 was a super high in more ways than one. You could feel the energy during the production process. But also covers and editorials largely shot for magazines like L’Officiel, Elle, Cosmo, Hello, Rolling Stone, with ace photographer Farrokh Chothia have and will always be a real creative high.
Haven’t you styled Abhishek Bachchan as well?
Yes, I have an old association with Abhishek, my favourite being Right Here, Right Now. Also, I’m currently working with him..he’s extremely clued in,it’s always fun to tap his broody good looks.
When did you first dress up Aishwarya?
I first worked with her much before she joined movies. It was for a suiting ad campaign. After she joined movies, I was approached by Sanjay Leela Bhansali to do her clothes for Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam but somehow that never happened.
My first movie with her was Aditya Chopra’s Mohabbatein in which I gave a very simple classic look, mostly in white. After that I did part of Albela, which had been stalled in between. Then more recently, we worked together on the Lux ad.. she wore a glamorous red saree and looked wow.