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'Stunning stage outfit as crucial as playing good music'

Many successful performers are putting more thought into their on-stage attire and getting noticed for their distinct look: from indie musician Raghu Dixit and offbeat but flamboyant singer Sona Mohapatra to global trendsetters Lady Gaga and Psy.

fashion and trends Updated: Jun 19, 2014 14:36 IST
Nirmika Singh

Given the thrill with which he tells us the story, he could well be talking about a treasure hunt. But it was the pursuit of the perfect lungi that took Raghu Dixit from Bengaluru to Sri Lanka. “I picked up as many colourful lungis as I could on my visits there,” says the singer-songwriter, who is known for his distinct on-stage look.

Choosing the lungi over other stage costumes was an easy decision for the indie musician. “I wanted to wear the same clothes I wear at home and am most comfortable in,” says Dixit.

For five years, the band has been working closely with designer Ashwini Shashidhar for customising their vibrant costumes. “She creates all the block prints for our lungis and puts together the tops that go with them. The lungi is specially designed; we use velcro so that it’s easy to wear them and you don’t really have to wrap them,” tells Dixit.

Like him, many other successful performers are putting more thought into their stage attire.

Singer Sona Mohapatra is known for her offbeat and often flamboyant, designs. “I like to mix up my looks and put something together rather than wear a garment as is. The friends I count on the most in the fashion industry include Kallol Datta, Atika Ahluwalia, Aparna Badlani and Payal Khandwala, with Kallol being my closest friend and collaborator in a sense,” Sona says.


Monica Dogra
The sky seems to be the limit for Monica Dogra, who has worn everything from hot pants to a sari on stage. But the singer-actor seems most at home in her hipster-style crop tops and flowing, ankle-length skirts. Bindis often dot her face or form patterns on her limbs and midriff. “My biggest concern is that the clothing should move well, not restrict me, hurt me or fall off — since my shows are full of big movement,” says Monica.

Sona Mohapatra
Sona is a power dresser on stage. She chooses unconventional silhouettes and is uninhibited in experimenting with colours and fabrics. “My clothes are a reflection of the music I play… Looking and dressing like everyone else or as per what the fashion police expect would kill my ability to express myself as an original,” believes Sona.


The indie folk-pop band has picked the best of India for their costumes. “They are an exaggerated version of our personalities,” says frontman Vasu Dixit. Fabrics are sourced and stitched locally.

The Raghu Dixit project
There’s no compromising with stage outfits for these folk-rockers. “We’ve done it all — from gathering loads of colourful fabric to hunting for sari borders — to create the prefect lungi,” says Raghu, who also sports ghunghroos with his vibrant attire. They team the lungis, which feature customised block prints, with equally vibrant short kurtas.


Global trendsetters Lady Gaga (above, center) worked with long-time stylist Nicola Formichetti (who quit working with her last year citing the pop star’s malady of changing umpteem times a day) to create a striking image for herself. Now, with her new stylist, Brandon Maxwell, the ‘Born this way’ singer is shedding her old image for a new style that’s low on shock value.

K-pop star Psy (above, left) might not be blessed with the best body, but he makes up for it with sharply tailored suits in candy colours.

From flaunting her curves unabashedly to choosing more subtle stage outfits, pop star Nicki Minaj (above, right) has come a long way. Of late, she’s ditched her blonde wigs and outrageous costumes to be more ladylike on stage.