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    A groom’s guide to suits, accessories and attitude from our wedding designer in demand, Chaitanya Rao

    Chaitanya Rao is constantly on the move. Photo shoots in one city and trials in an another are all in a day’s work to the South Indian film industry’s go-to stylist. And it’s not just divas like Trisha and Shruti Haasan who have Rao on speed dial. The city-based designer also happens to be an expert in menswear, and has made actors like Vikram, Ajith and Dhanush look their best in many a movie (watch out for Thani Oruvan this year, where he has styled Jayam Ravi for a song and Nayantara for the entire movie). Besides the long list of celebrities on his client list, Rao is popular with brides and grooms who are increasingly looking to resorts as a destination for their big day. “Money is not an issue. Suddenly the friends of the bride and groom have started looking as well dressed as the couple and we have to work around that,” smiles the designer, who agrees that men are getting equally fashion conscious these days. As we take a quick tour of his Poes Garden bridal couture store, Rao gives us fashion tips for men who want to stand out on their big day.

    The 3 Fs
    To Chaitanya Rao, finish is as important as the fit and fabric. This is why the designer established a production team in Mumbai two years ago. “Chennai’s expertise is still not at par with Mumbai when it comes to western wear. A couture gown has to be finished well and I find the finish much better there,” he shares. Bridal couture for men from Rs 35,000 upwards. Details: 43037070

    1. Pastels to go
    Given the city’s climate, Rao suggests experimenting with trousers. “You can pair a linen shirt with trousers in cotton stretch fabric that works for the climate. And go for pastel shades,” he recommends, while strictly advising against overdoing the skinny fit. Pointing out that the style does not work for everyone, he recommends flowy cuts instead. “Try kurtas with looser pants. We are doing kurtas with drapes for more confident men,” he smiles.

    2. Suit Up2 broad lapel
    As far as suits go, Rao nods that thinner lapels were the rage till a while ago. But now the double breasted look with broad lapels is going strong, says the designer, noting that a rugged, masculine look with plenty of facial hair is gathering pace. “Pleats are also back, on trousers. And generally, with everyone working out, men are looking for more flattering options,” he says.

    3. All in the Details
    The designer also points out that one can use simple details to dramatic effect. “For instance, I like to add a bit of leather trim to pockets,” says Rao. “Casual jackets with stripes — like Gota stripes on a kurta — are coming in. Contrast lining can work on anything. It’s more for the pleasure of the wearer, but can be visible when walking,” he says, showing us a classic navy blue sherwani with colourful ikat print lining inside.

    4. Accessory Stop
    If you insist on keeping it classic, the designer suggests accessorising. “Quirky lapel pins work with classic suits,” he says, pointing to a few feathered numbers that will be on display soon. Collar accessories, tie pins and ties with texture can also be used to good effect. The designer, who is also working on shirts with small prints, suggests doing away with the colour block pocket squares and going in for printed ones. And if you like waistcoats, a knit waistcoat with a T-shirt works for summer.

     Ryan Peppin

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