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    With stars stepping up their game, South Indiaa��s top celebrity stylists talk trends and what they recommend.

    When it comes to fashion after hours, Bollywood rarely falters. Be it Sonam Kapoor at last yeara��s Chopard partya��in an over-the-top Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla gown with sculpted sleevesa��or Priyanka Chopraa��s Bafta tea party appearance earlier this year, in a Versace dress with straps and cutouts. But down South, wea��ve not really been known for our runway hits, with many dressing for comfort rather than style. But that is changing. a�?Now a new crop of young actors are emerging, each with millions of discerning, social media-savvy fans. So theya��re hiring top stylists, experimenting with colour, focussing on accessorising, and working towards lean framesa��all for the right look,a�? states Mumbai-based fashion blogger, Riaan J George, reminding us of Amy Jacksona��s recent appearance, in a grey Gaurav Gupta gown with bugle bead embroidery. However, in a culture where fans identify with the stars, rather than as people completely out of their league, we will not see a Suriya or Rana Daggubati stepping out in a skirt, a la Ranveer Singh (who attended a Bajirao Mastani promotion in a marsala jacket paired with a flared skirt), any time soon. Nitasha Gaurav, the stylist behind Singha��s out-of-the-box look, says, a�?I have worked with several stars in the South, including Allu Arjun and Akkineni Nagarjuna. They are all well-travelled and invest in global fashion trends. But (keeping in mind) the fandom and respect the Southern film industry has for its stars, they opt to dress appropriately, rather than create trends.a�? Balancing the traditional with the contemporary is also something that we are known for. Chopraa��s stylist, Ami Patel, says she is impressed by how the stylists here a�?are staying in tune with tradition but still looking aheada�?. Samantha Ruth Prabhua��s wardrobe possesses a unique grasp on style thata��s minimal, chic and sensible all at once, she shares. We speak to the top stylists for pan-South celebrities who are rewriting the rules of a once insulated industry.

    Gypsy soul
    Star: Amala Paul | Stylist: Sonya Sandiavo
    Kochi-based Sonya Sandiavoa��s impeccable styling skills were brought into focus by actor Amala Paul after the movie Run Baby Run. A former stylist at Dubaia��s Golda��s Gym International, Sandiavo is a staunch believer of luxe athleisure. a�?As more people are choosing healthier activities like yoga, tennis, spinning and running, the need to look fashionable on and off the ground is shaping up the celebrity wardrobe, too. When it comes to Amalaa��s workout sessions, she thrives on looking great,a�? adds the stylist, who is currently working on Shankara��s Robot 2. Sandiavoa��s looks for Paul include a shimmery golden yellow kurta and palazzos designed by Kochi-based Sreejith Jeevan, for a recent event at the Kerala High Court, to a crimson anarkali enhanced with Patan Patola ikats by Gaurang Shah, seen at Dubaia��s Asiavision Awards. a�?Amalaa��s favourite brands for casual clothing include Zara, H&M and Topshop, whereas her Indian wardrobe is full of Gauri and Nainika , Shantanu and Nikhil, and Anamika Khanna. But active fashion is what you should look for when following her style. Ia��d suggest fitted shorts and a tee,a�? she concludes. Details: facebook.com/

    StatementA�accessory: Tees from Topshop, London (Rs 6,000 onwards)
    Trending: Anamika Khannaa��s athleisure (available at ogaan.com, Rs 13,000 onwards)
    Signature style: Boho chic

    Deccana��s Own
    Geethika ChadhaStylist: Geetika Chadha,Star: Rana Daggubati
    Standing tall at six feet three, Rana Daggubati is currently rated one of the trendiest actors among his contemporaries. All thanks to Geetika Chadha, who helps him look effortlessly stylish, rocking labels like Tarun Tahiliani (like the black Jodhpuri kurta and bandhgala suit at SIIMA 2015). a�?While styling Rana, I look for components that can soften his rugged looks. So I have been experimenting with lapel scarves and floral pocket squares that bring a playful edge to his personality,a�? begins Chadha, a computer science graduate from Delhia��s Miranda House, who turned to fashion after a second degree in fashion from NIFT Hyderabad. Before she met the Telugu superstar (in 2014), she worked as a stylist for Puma and John Players. a�?He absolutely loves Indo-Western styles (shirts featuring ikats and kalamkari prints). Personally, I would recommend it to those who love Ranaa��s style,a�? shares the Hyderabad-based stylist, adding that ita��s always a laugh riot going shoe shopping with the actor. After all, his shoe size is 13 and almost impossible to source in India. Details: facebook.com/GeetikaChadhaOfficial

    StatementA�accessory: Ranaa��s ear piercing and his love for tinted glasses from Dita (Rs 90,000 onwards)
    Trending: Bomber jackets and white chinos
    Signature style: Catchy pocket squares and lapels

    Simple charmNeeraja Kona
    Stylist: Neeraja Kona,A�Star: Samantha Ruth Prabhu
    Samantha Ruth Prabhua��s floor-length anarkalis and elegant saris have left many a fashionista envious. Her stylist, Neeraja Kona, a former employee of Michael Kors, is all smiles as she talks about the actress. a�?With Samantha, I would say it is minimalism. You will never find her overdressed. Even if ita��s a blingy outfit, I try and tone it down,a�? says Kona, who has a degree in fashion merchandise from the Fashion institute of Design and Merchandise, Los Angeles. The Hyderabad-based stylist is behind all of Prabhua��s looksa��from the stunning pale pink Sabyasachi lehenga she wore at the Atharintiki Daaredia��s promotions to her white Payal Singhal sari at the music launch of Bramhostavam in May. a�?Her personal style is oriented towards casual wear, especially cool T-shirts,a�? explains the stylist, adding that if you want a wardrobe like hers, be sure to check out Prabhua��s a�?glittery-green Reebok jersey and jeansa�? look during the celebrity cricket match (aka Nadigar Sangam) in the city last April. Details: facebook.com/NeerajaKona

    StatementA�accessory: Jewellery from Amrapali
    Trending: Anita Dongrea��s maxi dresses
    Signature style: Anarkalis, dresses from Shriya Som and The Meraki Project
    King of coolA�kalyani desai 2
    Stylist: Kalyani Desai | Star: Dulquer Salmaan
    Malayalam film industrya��s trendsetter, Dulquer Salmaan, on a normal day, is nothing less than a GQ-worthy model. So believes his stylist, Kalyani Desai, formerly with GQ India. Desai, who debuted in Bollywood (in 2010) by working with actors like Priyanka Chopra, made her mark in the South with superstars like Akkineni Nagarjuna and Mammootty. When asked about the challenges in styling Salmaan, Mumbai-based Desai explains, a�?He has a great sense of personal style. So I only have to understand what he likes and dislikes in order to match his personality.a�? Her top looks for the OK Kanmani actor include a Sahil Aneja blue sports jacket with jeans and trainers for the audio launch of the film and a Raghavendra Rathore kurta and bandi for a private wedding function. a�?Throw on a smart jacket and a classy pair of brogues to give your wardrobe a Dulquer Salmaan update, like his SS Homme zippered jacket look at a recent musical event in Sharjah,a�? she concludes. Details: facebook.com/Not-Just-Black-by-Kalyani-Desai-1395855510736764

    StatementA�accessory: Christian Louboutin shoes (Rs 60,000 onwards)
    Trending: Classic cuts like a fitted two-button, single-breasted suit with a notched lapel
    Signature style: Textured shirts from Paul Smith and Rare Rabbit
    Fun & FeminineA�Mansi Patel 2
    Stylist: Mansi PatelA� | Star: Amy Jackson
    A girly edge is what brings perfection to Jacksona��s looks, according to her stylist, Mumbai-based Mansi Patel. A fashion designing graduate from SNDT, Mumbai, Patel moved to styling after perfecting her skills at Londona��s Central Saint Martins University of Arts. a�?While styling, one needs to keep in mind that it is an amalgamation of fashion and the personality of the celebrity. Amya��s sense of style is a little bit of everythinga��from girly and classic to boho and rock chic,a�? shares Patel, citing the time when Jackson donned the floor-length grey gown designed by Gaurav Gupta to the Femina Miss India 2016. She feels Jacksona��s lissome figure is best showcased in her favourite brands like Givenchy, Tom Ford and Sabyasachi. a�?For those inspired by Amy, all I can say is, have fun with fashion, because thata��s what she does,a�? concludes Patel. Details: facebook.com/letapisnam
    SignatureA�scent: Si by Giorgio Armani (from Rs 9,200)
    Trending: X necklines, mesh and paperback waists
    Signature style: Pastel colours, exposed shoulders and body-fitting cuts

    By Anoop Menon & Arya P Dinesh


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