Ranveer Singh: The suits-and-‘chappals’ star


Ranveer Singh: The suits-and-‘chappals’ star

Ranveer Singh’s stylist, Nitasha Gaurav has a series of candid images of the actor on her iPad, taken moments before his formal appearances. Seeing them, you realize that if a book gets written on the intimate history of Bollywood glamour, the cover would pose a dilemma for the publishers—should it be Hindi cinema’s ultimate glamour queen Rekha or the presiding prince of fashion whimsy, Ranveer Singh?

Our vote is for Singh. The more you absorb his appearance, the more you connect with his affable glamour. He also follows a mercurial style rule: It is not what you wear but how you wear it.

“I don’t like to stick to conventions,” Singh told Mint Lounge on email. “I am drawn towards stuff that is out of the ordinary and I don’t do it consciously, I am just wired that way. I follow my instincts and am instinctively attracted to things that are unique and distinctive. Apparently, I am a risk-taker. But I just dress up in what excites me.”

He has made a virtue of versatility. Polka-dotted ties with monochrome suits in colours few male stars will touch, velvet and leather jackets, embroidered sherwanis, tuxedos paired with jaunty shirts, Rohit GandhiRahul Khanna jackets, Sabyasachi Jodhpurs and bandhgalas, acid-washed jeans in loose and tight fits; printed Etro shirts, formal coats with chappals. He adds heaps of accessories—rings, bracelets, edgy footwear.

“We call it the ‘X plus one’ principle, something extra in each of Ranveer’s looks,” says Gaurav, who began working with Singh in 2012. Gaurav, who taught at Delhi’s National Institute of Fashion Technology (Nift) and was the fashion editor of Femina, recalls, “I was told he is more like the character he played in Band Baaja Baaraat (Bittoo Sharma)—who dressed like an American kid in singlets, T-shirts, hoodies, distressed jeans and baseball caps.” Her perception changed once she began styling him. “I realized that he was a stylist’s dream—a good-looking, model-esque young man who enjoyed fashion. Fitting sessions with him are tremendous fun. Singh contributes to the process and owns his look. He tries, adds and deletes accessories to strike the right balance, and slips in and out of several pairs of shoes till the perfect one has been found,” says Gaurav.

It didn’t take long for glamour merchants, style bloggers, fashion photographers and magazine editors to zoom in. The star soon became one of the favourite fashion visuals of 2013, with Vogue India calling him the “Most Beautiful Man” of the year.

His style romp turned many of us into willing spectators. From a Filmfare cover in January 2013 showing his chiselled abs, he moved to a suave wardrobe that Gaurav says included suits from Ermenegildo Zegna, Armani, Burberry and Louis Vuitton during promotions for Lootera in April-June. Then came the unconventional September GQ (India) cover showing a fury-gripped Singh with a handlebar moustache, his neck muscles straining and taut, a large ring on his finger. That would fade into his long hair with hat appearances to promote Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela. He teamed a Zegna suit with Kolhapuri chappals for The Front Row, a television show on Star World hosted by film critic Anupama Chopra. But it was later, after he sported a print-on-print Louis Vuitton suit for a fashion magazine party, that Singh began to be recognized as a fashion fanatic.“Worldwide, Louis Vuitton doesn’t pursue celebrities to dress them; so it was a shift when they expressed eagerness to dress Ranveer,” says Gaurav.

“Ranveer is indeed a stylist’s dream; he is bold, versatile and gives you the opportunity to completely change his looks,” agrees Maxima Basu, his costume director in Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela. No one but Singh, says Basu, could have carried off so much jewellery in scenes that required a combination of heavy costumes, action, emotional charge and stunts like falling into a pond of cold water. Basu feels that unlike most actors who have fixed ideas about what looks good on them, Singh has an insatiable appetite for fashion. “Nothing ordinary works for him,” she says.

It makes him distinct even when compared with stars from the past. Shammi Kapoor is remembered as stylish but because of his “yahoo” attitude, not his mufflers. For Raaj Kumar and Rajesh Khanna too, style was the sum of their mannerisms. Dev Anand’s cap made a dent but without his flirty nod, it would have fallen flat. Amitabh Bachchan looks suave in the Kaun Banega Crorepati show but as insiders will tell you, he sticks to high-necked shirts and jackets, that too in certain colours. It would be difficult to write a style story on the Khan trio’s wardrobes despite Shah Rukh Khan’s reportedly huge collection of blue jeans. Younger actors like Shahid Kapoor, Imran Khan, even Ranbir Kapoor who breathed fire into his Rockstar costumes, look star-like but not stylish.