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The Stylists behind Vidya Balan's Looks

By ANITA AIKARA
Last updated on: June 15, 2021 13:52 IST
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If you like Vidya Balan's style, then you should credit stylists and creative directors of Who Wore What When Pranay Jaitly and Shounak Amonkar.

Pranay and Shounak have been the fashion force behind some of Vidya's stunning looks.

They have also dressed a veritable star cast from Huma Qureshi to Konkona Sen Sharma, Rasika Dugal to Radhika Apte, Shahana Goswami, Kirti Kulhari, Genelia Deshmukh...

Their career as stylists took off in 2016 after they came to India for a holiday from Milan, and October marks their fifth work anniversary.

Style isn't all about glamour for Pranay and Shounak, who have been inspired by women with strong personalities.

While Shounak is enamored by Beyonce, Pranay is inspired by Rekha's style.

Comfort to them means "being able to wholeheartedly and unapologetically be themselves, no matter where or with whom they are."

While Pranay's personal style is classic and romantic, Shounak leans towards minimalism.

When they come together they create magic with edgy, effortless, looks.

In a chat with Anita Aikara/Rediff.com, Pranay and Shounak reveal how challenging it has been putting together celebrity wardrobes in the lockdown, working with the ever-charming Vidya Balan and why they love her so much, the one celebrity wardrobe they'd love to raid and trends they are loving right now.

IMAGE: Pranay Jaitly, left, and Shounak Amonkar.
Photographs: Kind courtesy Who Wore What When

Who are your style icons?

We are inspired by women who have strong personalities like Cher or Madonna.

Shounak: It has always been Beyonce for me.

Pranay: I love and I'm extremely inspired by Rekha's style.

When did your styling career start?

Our styling career started in 2016, when we came to India for a holiday from Milan (Pranay was in IED, studying product design and then fashion. Shounak was doing his masters in accessory design in DOMUS).

It has been a journey of grateful, beautiful and amazing events.

We got introduced to designer Gaurang Shah, who later introduced us to Vidya Balan.

The actress turned out to be our first Bollywood actor. This October we'll complete five years in the industry.

What draws you to the business of styling

It is the fact that we want to make people look who they are.

We love to dress people in outfits that compliment their personality, relate to them and are comfortable to wear.

What is the most fun part about your job? What are the challenges involved?

The fun part of our job is to create standout silhouettes.

If we are repeating these looks, they need to be distinct and individual each time -- that is the challenging part as well.

During the sourcing of the outfits, we have to hunt for clothes that flatter our talent's body.

It needs to be something which hasn't been worn by them before.

It could be from a new collection or a look which is in trend.

Of course, for us the most important priority is to give people something that highlights their personality.

IMAGE: Fanboys Pranay and Shounak with Vidya Balan.
'Thank you for being you. Thank you for inspiring us all everyday and once again, thank you for your trust and faith,' they shared along with this pic.

Who was the first celebrity you styled?

The first celebrity we styled was Vidya Balan. It was the most wonderful experience working with her.

Meeting her was like meeting someone who has always been an inspiration for us; someone we have looked up to. It was a dream come true for us.

(For the first time we worked with Vidya) we dressed her up in a pretty Kalamkari sari from Gaurang Shah's collection.

The moment the event was done, she sat in her car, took off her jewellery and handed it to us, thanking us for the event.

I remember removing the glass bangles that I had got for her and saying, 'These are yours. You have spent the money and I cannot keep them.'

It was the sweetest thing ever. She is our first celebrity and our most favourite.

Who do you choose a look for a celebrity?

While choosing outfits for celebrities, the only thing we keep in mind is that it should suit them and go well with their body type.

We study their body type, the kind of clothes they have worn before, and keeping these details in mind, we finalise the outfits for them.

How has it been styling celebs during the lockdown?

It has definitely been a challenge. However, we have been grateful and fortunate enough to be working throughout the lockdown.

It is tough because everything is shut. It gets difficult for us to do fittings that happen over Zoom calls.

Alterations are a challenge because the tailors' shops are shut.

The experience has been challenging, but then it's a new way of learning and working.

Do you have a no-fail styling trick?

Yes. The no-fail styling trick is to give something that flatters the figure.

It has to be something that is flattering; something we have never used before or don't use in our styling.

IMAGE: Radhika Apte dazzled in a laser-cut Iris van Herpen Dress at the Emmy Awards in 2019. The look was put together by Pranay and Shounak.
Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters

The most memorable outfit you have styled so far?

It is going to be Radhika Apte in Iris van Herpen at the Emmys in 2019.

How would you define your personal style?

Our personal styles are totally different.

Pranay: I'm extremely classic and romantic.

I gravitate towards brands like Valentino and Dior. I personally love Gucci a lot.

Shounak: I'm extremely minimalistic and drift towards brands like Yohji Yamamoto (the Japanese designer).

If you could choose a celebrity closet to shop in, whom would it belong to?

That would definitely be Beyonce.

What trends are you loving right now?

Pranay: Baba suits! That's something I have been wearing for years.

I'm glad that finally people are adapting and not staring at me when I walk down the streets wearing them.

We love co-ord sets and the comeback of kaftans and easy silhouettes are something we are enjoying at the moment.

Lead photo: Kind courtesy Vidya Balan/Instagram

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ANITA AIKARA / Rediff.com
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