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A Spring Trends Preview with Stylist Mitali Sagar

There's more to style than just the labels you wear

The MBRB girls learn about skater skirts, and insect designs and the colours of the season from the MISU girls and find a new online shopping haunt!

Nikhil Thampi LFW 2014
In its March 2014 Issue, Vanity Fair did a wonderful story on celebrity stylists, their clients, and the kind of power they can wield. That set us thinking- what about the non-celebrity but fashion-conscious amongst us? We may not have the thousands of dollars required to splurge on the latest Naeem Khan or LVMH collection (if only!) – but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to look our sharpest, or occasionally treat ourselves with pretty things that break the monotony of track bottoms and pajamas in our wardrobe.
We spoke with Mitali Sagar- one half of MiSu Image Consultants along with Summiyya Patni- about her job as  stylist for the masses, and her suggestions for what we can do to spruce up our wardrobes this spring.

Mitali, this is all really very exciting and new for us. Could you tell us a little bit about the kind of clientele that approaches you?
We work with a wide cross-section of women really. Most of our clients are between 30 to 45 years of age. Some of them are newlywed women who have moved from a smaller town to a larger city, and want to make their style more sophisticated. We also work with a lot of career women who believe that a new wardrobe will help them project an inner strength and confidence that can help them with their jobs.
Our goal- as we tell all our clients- is NOT to make women fashionable, but to help them complement their inner qualities with a strong, polished external persona.
Even when we do recommend a wardrobe overhaul, our emphasis is on classic timeless pieces that will last you a while, with only a couple of the season’s trends thrown in.

So how long do you typically work with a client to affect this change?
We start with one meeting which helps us decide whether the client is open to changing their style, because it is really important to us that at the end of the experience, the client leaves happy. In cases where we do decide to take the client on board, the length of the engagement depends on what the client wants- whether its just a wardrobe overhaul, or also a styling session. An engagement can last for anything from an afternoon to a week.
In some cases, clients engage us for a specific event, or on a retainer for a period of time during which we consult them.

Mitali, a lot of our readership comprises of working women. What would be your style or fashion advice to them for this season?
Well this season is all about “sophistication with an edge”. So wear a structured jacket, or if you don’t do full suits, complement your regular trousers or skirts with a different shirt. A lot of pastels and tans are in colorwise. Make sure you’re dressed for comfort. We love the new Nikhil Thampi collection for the way it projects the idea of a strong woman, and really that’s the look you should be going for.
One of the newest colours trends that will instantly update your look is cobalt or cerulean blue. What’s nice about this shade is that unlike- say last season’s neons- this colour is timeless, so if you invest in a good piece you may be wearing it for a while!

And what would you recommend for evening wear in this season?
Again, very clean silhouettes are in. Length is really in- so a long straight skirt with a double slit that isn’t too daring may be a good look to try. Midi skirts are also quite popular these days. Cropped tops look great provided you do them right- most of the people end up exposing their belly button which makes the entire look so tacky. That’s NOT how you want to wear a crop top.
It is also a nice time to mix and match silhouettes- so wear a fitted shirt with flowy bottoms, or try the skater skirt silhouette- which is fitted at the waist and then pleated voluminously,  almost like an umbrella. Don’t attempt this look in silk or satin though, but in a stiffer material, wearing it above your waist with a fitted shirt.

Even the least fashionable amongst us is fairly red-carpet obsessed these days thanks to the prevalence of blogs and media coverage. Who are some of the celebrities that you feel ALWAYS get it right?
  • Kangana Ranaut for one- who is always sophisticated and fashionable,  and fairly willing to experiment.
  • Deepika Padukone- although she’d probably look great in anything! Her style is simple but never boring and she affects an easy chic always.
  • Sonam Kapoor- whose sisters style her in what must be an absolute dream job!

And internationally?
Charlize Theron for one- who is flawless and almost always gets it right.We are also huge fans of Blake Lively’s style

Some Indian designers that you could recommend?
We loved the recent collection by Gaurav Gupta- who has really elevated his design aesthetic, and also the latest collection by Nikhil Thampi (that we mentioned earlier). Another label to watch out is Koecsh by Kresha Bajaj.  A lot of Indian designers are afraid to tread new ground and end up recycling the same designs as everybody else, but her designs are very edgy and uniquely creative! We really enjoyed her recent LFW show.

Mitali, a lot of our readers are huge online shoppers (as are our editors!). Which are the websites you recommend for a website overhaul?
ASOS is always a good idea, because you don’t have to pay international shipping for the latest international designs.
There is also a new website called Koovs- which maintains inventory for a lot of international brands locally. So once again, you don’t need to pay exorbitant shipping and markups, and can explore some very new labels and designs through them.

Any suggestions on this year’s accessory trends?
Layering is very in. So start with one delicate short necklace, and then a slightly longer one, and then perhaps an even longer one.Jewellery design with insects built in is also very on-trend at the moment.Midi Rings are always a good idea, as are statement necklaces, especially when paired with smaller earrings.
We are also very fond of the kind of tribalesque designs done by retailers such as Outhouse

Mitali, could you suggest some Value For Money purchases for our readers to accentuate their wardrobes?

The good news is that Michael Kors is coming to Mumbai- this is one label that has a known brand, great quality and some beautiful designs- but won’t put you as out of your pocket as some of the other name designers. I really like Zara for shoes and bags, though their clothes are hit or miss for me.
There is a new label called Ae-Tee which does some really beautiful accessories at a fraction of the cost of Outhouse and likes which is worth a dekko.
I also like some of Krishna Mehta’s designs for how well they translate from one season to the next.

Thanks for all your advise Mitali. Just a couple of more personal questions. If you had all the money in the world, which designer would you stuff your wardrobe with?
The name that immediately pops into mind is YSL. From one designer to the next, all their fashions have been so fabulous, as have their bags, that I can’t imagine wanting anything else!

And, as we like to ask everyone, if you could go back in time and have dinner with someone, who would it be?
Coco Chanel!! I studied the History of Costumes, and I’d just love to learn and talk to her about how she marketed herself and her brand so well!
Image from lakmefashionweek.co.in (Nikhil Thampi SR 2014 Collection)

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