Bollywood stars get seriously fashionable

By Priyanka Khanna, Indo-Asian News ServiceimageNew Delhi, (IANS) Signature line of clothing that are inspired, crafted and fine-tuned by film stars themselves is the hottest new trend in the world of fashion.

Jennifer Lopez has it and so do Sarah Jessica Parker, Eminem, Britney Spears and loads of other international celebrities, so why should Indian film stars be far behind.

Not content with merely endorsing clothes brands or gracing the opening of clothes stores, hot and happening Bollywood stars are increasingly getting involved with fashion wear at the sketching stage itself.

John Abraham and Hrithik Roshan lead the list when it comes to adding a very personal touch and bringing out signature fashion collections. While John has tied-up with Wrangler, Hrithik is working very closely with ITC in a bid to find a way into your wardrobes.

John’s involvement with his own line needs to be seen to believed. Each piece of his collection comes with small notes sticking out from the inside pockets containing personal comments from the actor himself on the design, style and how he came up with the look.

Like John, Hrithik’s association with ITC’s John Player began as a brand endorsement but has taken a personal turn.

Atul Chand of ITC said in an interview: “The association benefits both. It brings alive the personality of the brand and helps establish a style statement for the star or a specific character the actor is trying to popularise.”

Apart from the above two, actor Fardeen Khan, after severing ties as brand ambassador for clothes brand Provogue, is set to launch his own line. Model-actor Milind Soman is even working with designer Madhu Jain to revive handicraft in Kashmir.

The stunning Malaika Arora of “Chaiyya chaiyya” fame has been turning down lucrative offers to sign up as brand ambassador by the dozen. She wants to bring out her own clothing line that will be an extension of her identity.

The linkage between film stars and fashion goes way back. In a nation where film stars are often equated with god, the kings and queens of celluloid have known to influence millions of people who try to think, dress, walk and even talk like them.

There were times when an entire generation of girls would style their hair in line with the hair-do of the leading female actors.

Young boys would ape clothes and even mannerisms of leading actors. Mothers of girls getting married would take posters of films to their tailors for getting wedding trousseaus made.

But at the same time some of the clothes that actors wore were so outlandish that even the most ardent fan would never follow suit. The thought that film stars could get into the clothing industry was once inconceivable.

“Today more than ever before fashion and showbiz go hand-in-hand,” says model-actor Samita Bangargi who launched her Fall Winter collection some four months ago.

Samita got involved in the clothes business after she was asked by a jeans brand to design for them. She was quick to recognise the potential in the trade and launched her own brand.

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Given the increasing importance of revenue from brand placement in films and merchandising, the synergy between stars and fashion is set to increase many folds.

According to reports, in 2006 brand cameos earned around Rs.800 million and as a result, even small- and medium-budget movies as well as animated films can hope to cash in.

The figure is projected to climb to Rs.2 billion this year and reach Rs.8 billion in 2010.

Last year, Farhan Akhtar’s “Don” tied-up with international men’s wear brand Louis Philippe, besides others like Tag Heuer watches, Motorola, Garnier, Citibank and Oakley sunglasses. The long list of brands piggyback riding on “Krrish” included ITC’s John Players.

Siddharth Roy Kapoor, senior vice-president, UTV, says that while branding does not contribute significantly to revenues yet, it has enormous potential.

“After 2006’s success story, more FMCG brands and durables have woken up to the power of movies as a means to push their products. Companies are increasingly opting for joint promotions.”

For UTV’s upcoming film “Goal”, Reebok worked closely with the film’s costume designer to create outfits for the cast.

Besides helping to promote the movie with a media campaign, Reebok would also highlight its association with the movie.

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As Bollywood is turning from gratuitous dance scenes and melodramatic romance to gritty storylines, actors are sporting more realistic looks. The men especially are experimenting with their on-screen look like never before.

Though our actors are yet to go in for drastic moves like Charlize Theron did in award-winning film “Monster”, but at least some are going the extra mile to look the part.

Aamir Khan leads the pack with his drive for perfection. Recently, he grew a moustache and gained weight for his title role in “Mangal Pandey” and then he lost the kilos to play a college boy in “Rang De Basanti”.

After stunning audiences with dramatically different looks in “Krrish” and “Dhoom 2”, Hrithik is now growing a beard for the period look needed for Ashutosh Gowarikar’s “Akbar-Jodha”.

Even Abhishek Bachchan has been growing his hair for “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom” and “Drona”. No more fake wigs and beards for these guys.

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