By: ACE impression Image Consulting : We can each take a lesson and inspiration from Deepika Padukone’s style journey.
Since her debut as a yesteryear Bollywood star in Om Shanti Om, Deepika Padukone has grown not only on the silver screen, but also on the red carpet.
As far as style journeys go, the athletic actress’s public appearances back in 2007 may have set off to a rocky start, but with years of experience that seem to have done wonders for her confidence, she’s finally found her style space and is now considered one of the best dressed starlets in the Indian film industry.
I. The First Steps
From sporty girl-next-door tank tops to heavy Indian-wear, over-the-top outfits, and back again: Deepika’s first steps into the film industry were specked with ensembles that didn’t do much to highlight her best assets. Being a national level badminton player and daughter to athlete Prakash Padukone, Deepika’s sporty wardrobe camouflaged her naturally lean body. While someone with her genes could never really look unadmirable, there was a whole lot of potential that just wasn’t being tapped into. If it wasn’t slouchy cargos and silver keds, it was head-to-toe embellished lehengas that drowned her frame out.
- Image and Style tip: Instead of going under-dressed or overboard, try maintaining a balance with your outfits.
Following the same agenda as all the actresses at the time, Deepika was often spotted with heavy make-up that almost always leaned towards dusky shades – not a bad look, but definitely boring when there’s a lack of experimenting. When her hair wasn’t absolutely straight, it was over-styled, giving her a gaudy vibe.
As a newcomer who was still finding her way, the actress jumped between unexciting clothing paired with looks that had already been established by celebrities before her, and ensembles that were just too busy. The soft-spoken and always politically correct girl from 2008 appeared traditional, and tentative towards taking risks, something a trendsetter can’t afford to be.
What made matters worse was the actress’s stiff appearance at events, and in her movies. Granted, she looked lovely dressed in Rohit Bal at Cannes 2010, but did she look comfortable, or rigid? And could she have moved out of her mannequin-like stature a little more in movies like Break ke Baad and Lafangey Parindey?
- Style tip: Just because a trend is big, that doesn’t mean it works for everybody. Find what suits your personality best, work it to your advantage, and don’t be afraid to experiment every once in a while. You might just discover a look that suits you even better than your most trustworthy tricks.
II. Creating Deepika Padukone: The Super Star
While some of Deepika’s looks didn’t gain her much appreciation, what began the change of this star’s image was a set of risky wardrobe choices that commanded everybody’s attention. Another benefit of her suddenly out-there outfits was the establishment of a strong personality. No longer was she just another pretty face, she had an opinion, and she didn’t mind taking a stand.
Case in point: her 2010 interview with Karan Johar on television chat show Koffee with Karan, where Deepika’s fiery comments on ex-boyfriend Ranbir Kapoor stirred up the country. Dressed in a crimson cut-out gown by Monisha Jaising, this diva was a far cry from the girl in the cute red dress we’d seen smiling quietly on Johar’s 2007 interview with Shah Rukh Khan right after the release of OSO.
As Deepika’s wardrobe took a turn towards the trendy, there also began a conscious effort to accentuate her strong physique. Her casual outfits switched from t-shirts and cargos to jumpsuits, well-fitted bottoms and girly dresses, body-clinging silhouettes had her stealing the spotlight. Welcome to the structured outfits, body-flattering casual dresses and laidback jumpsuits.
Deepika began relying on draped dresses, a look she carries of well, and draped gowns soon became one of her style staples. It didn’t hurt that Pilates training with fitness expert Yasmin Karachiwala, and balanced meals with the help of celeb nutritionist Pooja Makhija had Deepika in top shape
- Image and Style tip: You may not have access to the best in the fitness business, but it’s important to take out the time to maintain yourself – the result has you feeling even better than you’ll look.
One of Deepika’s red carpet looks that’s become a fashion favourite was a sequinned Dolce & Gabbana number, worn at the Vogue Beauty Awards, 2012. Suddenly, Deepika was lighting up award shows and functions perfectly put together, accessorized with unexpected baubles and hairstyles that ranged from elegant to edgy. We even got a glimpse of the actress’s new hair – she’d made a switch from glossy, sharp black locks to effortless waves with sunny streaks – a more laid back look that made her seem more real, approachable, and open to changes and new ideas. Each look made a new statement. If she wore a voluminous-hair-minimal-make-up combo for Simi Garewal’s show, she picked a French braid with a ruffled teal Gauri & Nainika gown to the Colors Screen Awards in 2012, and worked a ‘20s hairdo and blood red lips with her vintage glamour gown by Gaurav Gupta at the GQ Awards the same year.
- Image and Style tip: Focus on adapting your wardrobe to your changing personality. As Deepika’s presence has grown, her wardrobe choices have gone bolder, and she makes sure to dress to flatter her firm, tall frame (is there any way you could ignore that perfectly-toned body now?). Has your body changed recently? Do you find your mind frame has transformed? If so, it’s likely that the clothes that you felt comfortable in a year ago may not do justice to who you are now.
III. The Final Result:
With the positive feedback her catchy looks in movies like Race 2 and Cocktail received, Deepika’s image further grew as that of a glamour girl, someone who was versatile enough to wear high-street as ‘Veronica’ in Cocktail and high-end names too. Her performances in the movies also earned her the reputation of an actor to be taken seriously.
Deepika’s most recent appearance in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani shows the star at the top of her game, playing the role of an introvert teenager who transforms into an independent woman with an ease that hasn’t been showcased in her earlier films. The best part? From summer shorts and winter parkas to Manish Malhotra saris and a barely-there fuchsia-and-mango lehenga, Deepika wears every look in the movie like she was born in it. Her body language is comfortable, her hair moves with her, and she looks fantastic in every frame.
Today, whether she chooses an ivory Naeem Khan gown with coffee lips, a summer jumpsuit on a day out, or a neon sari by Arpita Mehta, Deepika makes a lasting impression of effortless grace, and her body makes the ideal canvas for any drape. Deepika now adapts her make-up to each look she wears, but manages to always keep it natural, usually sticking with warm coral colours and voluminous hairdos that add to her height instead of the often flat hair she sported as a beginner. And a simple streak of eyeliner on her top lids always helps accentuate her doe-eyes. Image and Style tip: Try to find one look, technique or colour that suits you no matter where you go, and turn it into your own style signature.
IV. Creating the Vibes:
Though she does repeat some concepts like risqué cut-outs, lace, and embellishments, each look is styled differently to create a new vibe. Here’s a look at how the actress has managed to avoid looking repetitive with similar outfits. Lace dresses Both Dolce & Gabbana creations, Deepika gave her lace gowns very different looks. Loose waves gave her full-sleeved teal version a laidback but sultry look, while pulled back hair and shoes matching her pink gown created a cleaner vibe.
Embellished torsos Deepika’s ethnic Arpita Mehra ensemble called for a girl-next-door look, created with a warm face. But she went all-out glamorous at this year’s IIFA awards in deep make-up and a swept-back pony with this embellished Naeem Khan outfit.
The midi dress Sensible and girly curls, strict spectacles… Deepika toned down her belted embroidered dress at the Vogue eyewear launch with minimal make-up, but worked a more slick and sexy look at a Race 2 screening in her Victoria Beckham dress.
Cut-out details At the Grazia awards, Deepika’s Naeem Khan gown with a peek-a-boo torso was all-feminine with her one-sided waves. Her look at the Filmfare awards, however, had her showing flashes of skin in a way only vixens can.
- Image and Style tip: You don’t need a fresh wardrobe every season to mix things up. A more economical approach is to style each garment you own differently every time you wear it with the help of different accessories, make-up and hairstyles.
Thanks to a strong focus on grooming, fitness, finding what suits her unique personality and experimenting with looks until she found a niche, Deepika has become a trend setter, unafraid of shooting out looks that range from feminine to femme fatale, but always sophisticated.
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ACE voice: The style journey is not just about fashion, but reflection of ones self-image. Image Management is the science and art of pro-active ongoing evaluation and control of the impact of appearance first on yourself and on others.
Renuka Tandon is Director and Chief Consultant at ACE Impression. She provides customized image management and personal branding strategic consulting to corporate executives and business owners for professional growth and business success . Click here to contact Renuka.
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