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

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 appearanceA�earlier this year, in a Versace dress with straps and cutouts. But down South, wea��ve not really been known for our runwayA�hits, with many dressing for comfort rather than style. But that is changing. a�?Now a new crop of young actors are emerging,A�each with millions of discerning, social media-savvy fans. So theya��re hiring top stylists, experimenting with colour,A�focussing on accessorising, and working towards lean framesa��all for the right look,a�? states Mumbai-based fashionA�blogger, Riaan J George, reminding us of Amy Jacksona��s recent appearance, in a grey Gaurav Gupta gown with bugle bead embroidery.A�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 orA�Rana Daggubati stepping out in a skirt, a la Ranveer Singh (who attended a Bajirao Mastani promotion in a marsala jacket paired with aA�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 theA�South, including Allu Arjun and Akkineni Nagarjuna. They are all well-travelled and invest in global fashion trends. But (keeping in mind)A�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 stylingA�skills were brought into focus by actor Amala PaulA�after the movie Run Baby Run. A former stylist atA�Dubaia��s Golda��s Gym International, Sandiavo is aA�staunch believer of luxe athleisure. a�?As more people areA�choosing healthier activities like yoga, tennis, spinningA�and running, the need to look fashionable on and off theA�ground is shaping up the celebrity wardrobe, too. When itA�comes to Amalaa��s workout sessions, she thrives on lookingA�great,a�? adds theA�stylist, who is currentlyA�working onA�Shankara��s Robot 2.A�Sandiavoa��s looks forA�Paul include a shimmeryA�golden yellowA�kurta and palazzosA�designed by KochibasedA�Sreejith Jeevan,A�for a recent event atA�the Kerala HighA�Court, to a crimsonA�anarkali enhancedA�with Patan PatolaA�ikats by GaurangA�Shah, seen at Dubaia��sA�Asiavision Awards.A�a�?Amalaa��s favouriteA�brands for casualA�clothing include Zara,A�H&M and Topshop,A�whereas her IndianA�wardrobe is full of
Gauri and Nainika ,A�Shantanu and Nikhil,A�and AnamikaA�Khanna. But activeA�fashion is what you shouldA�look for when following herA�style. Ia��d suggest fitted shortsA�and a tee,a�? she concludes.A�Details: facebook.com/Mudraa-A�Designer-Wears-Drapes-270531816456240

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

Geethika ChadhaDECCANa��S OWN
Stylist: Geetika ChadhaA�Star: Rana Daggubati
Standing tall at six feetA�three, Rana Daggubati isA�currently rated one of theA�trendiest actors among hisA�contemporaries. All thanks toA�Geetika Chadha, who helps him lookA�effortlessly stylish, rocking labelsA�like Tarun Tahiliani (like the blackA�Jodhpuri kurta and bandhgala suit atA�SIIMA 2015). a�?While styling Rana, I look forA�components that can soften his rugged looks. So I have beenA�experimenting with lapel scarves and floral pocket squaresA�that bring a playful edge to his personality,a�? begins Chadha, aA�computer science graduate from Delhia��s Miranda House, who
turned to fashion after a second degree in fashion from NIFTA�Hyderabad. Before she met the Telugu superstar (in 2014), sheA�worked as a stylist for Puma and John Players. a�?He absolutelyA�loves Indo-Western styles (shirts featuring ikats and kalamkariA�prints). Personally, I would recommend it to those whoA�love Ranaa��s style,a�? shares the Hyderabad-based stylist, addingA�that ita��s always a laugh riot going shoe shopping with theA�actor. After all, his shoe size is 13 and almost impossible toA�source in India. Details: facebook.com/A�GeetikaChadhaOfficial

Style statement
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 CHARMA�Neeraja Kona
Stylist: Neeraja KonaA�Star: Samantha Ruth Prabhu
Samantha Ruth Prabhua��s floor-lengthA�anarkalis and elegant saris have leftA�many a fashionista envious. Her stylist,A�Neeraja Kona, a former employee ofA�Michael Kors, is all smiles as she talks about theA�actress. a�?WithA�Samantha, I wouldA�say it is minimalism.A�You will never findA�her overdressed.A�Even if ita��s a blingyA�outfit, I try and toneA�it down,a�? says Kona,A�who has a degree inA�fashion merchandiseA�from theA�Fashion institute ofA�Design andA�Merchandise, LosA�Angeles. TheA�Hyderabad-basedA�stylist is behind allA�of Prabhua��s looksa��A�from the stunningA�pale pinkA�Sabyasachi lehengaA�she wore at theA�AtharintikiA�Daaredia��s promotionsA�toA�her whiteA�PayalA�Singhal sariA�at the musicA�launch of Bramhostavam in May. a�?HerA�personal style is oriented towards casualA�wear, especially cool T-shirts,a�? explains thA�stylist, adding that if you want a wardrobeA�like hers, be sure to check out Prabhua��s a�?glittery-A�green Reebok jersey and jeansa�? look duringA�the celebrity cricket match (aka NadigarA�Sangam) in the city last April. Details: facebook.A�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, DulquerA�Salmaan, on a normal day, is nothing less than aA�GQ-worthy model. So believes his stylist,
Kalyani Desai, formerly with GQ India. Desai,A�who debuted in Bollywood (in 2010) by working with actorsA�like Priyanka Chopra, made her mark in the South withA�superstars like Akkineni Nagarjuna and Mammootty.When asked about the challenges in styling Salmaan,
Mumbai-based Desai explains, a�?He has a great sense ofA�personal style. So I only have to understand what he likesA�and dislikes in order to match his personality.a�? Her topA�looks for the OK Kanmani actor include a Sahil AnejaA�blue sports jacket with jeans and trainers for the audioA�launch of the film and a Raghavendra Rathore kurtaA�and bandi for a private wedding function. a�?Throw on aA�smart jacket and a classy pair of brogues to give yourA�wardrobe a Dulquer Salmaan update, like his SSA�Homme zippered jacket look at a recent musical eventA�in Sharjah,a�? she concludes. Details: facebook.com/Not-A�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 & FEMININE
Stylist: Mansi Patel | Star: Amy JacksonA�Mansi Patel 2
A girly edge is what brings perfection to Jacksona��s looks,A�according to her stylist, Mumbai-based Mansi Patel. AA�fashion designing graduate from SNDT, Mumbai, PatelA�moved to styling after perfecting her skills at Londona��sA�Central Saint Martins University of Arts. a�?While styling, one needsA�to keep in mind that it is an amalgamation of fashion and the personalityA�of the celebrity. Amya��s sense of style is a littleA�bit of everythinga��from girly and classic to bohoA�and rock chic,a�? shares Patel, citing the timeA�when Jackson donned the floor-length grey
gown designed by Gaurav Gupta to theA�Femina Miss India 2016. She feels Jacksona��sA�lissome figure is best showcased in herA�favourite brands like Givenchy, Tom FordA�and Sabyasachi. a�?For those inspired byA�Amy, all I can say is, have fun with fashion,A�because thata��s what she does,a�? concludesA�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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