ELLE Style Awards 2015


ELLE Style Awards 2015

Winners of the ELLE Style Awards 2015 show us what a strong selfie game looks like

By ELLE team  December 29th, 2015

Designer of the year
GAURAV GUPTA
Gupta blazed into 2015, his 10th anniversary in the business, with a retrospective show at Amazon India Fashion week Fall/Winter 2015-16, which saw him bring back his classic sari-gowns, menswear-inspired tailoring and 3D-esque metallics. He followed that up with a stellar Amazon India Couture Week collection but revved up his game to a whole new level for his finale show at Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2015-16. Models clad in icy embellishments, carved volume and gigantic ruffles swerved in and out of large-scale circular runway where the windswept head of a goddess held centre stage. “I wanted to be true and instinctive. I just wanted to create magic for myself,” he says. He wildly overshot his (and our) expectations.

Label of the year
AM.IT
Amit Hansraj and Amit Aggarwal are long-time collaborators; Aggarwal’s eponymous Indian couture label is backed by Hansraj’s marketing expertise. But with their diffusion line AM.IT, which debuted at Amazon India Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015-16, the pair has created a singular, brave brand of fashion. AM.IT upcycles everyday items like plastic straws, toys and bindi sheets into covetable pieces that feel pleasantly ahead of their time. “I really think we can redefine fashion as we see it today,” says Hansraj. Their second showing at AIFW Spring/Summer 2016 of gamcha blousons, rejigged denim and sporty woven nylon put paid to all doubts about the wearability (and saleability) of their product. The gamut of textures speak of Aggarwal’s love for scavenging, or as he explains it, “giving the old a new life in a contemporary setting and changing the language of design." 

The all-rounder
SABYASACHI MUKHERJEE
Heavy-duty couture collections, a diffusion line and a creative collaboration with a shoe maverick — there is little Sabyasachi hasn’t tried his hand at (and aced) this year. Sabyasachi by Sabyasachi, his diffusion line, which debuted at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2015, was all about shifting the focus from his bridal hits. It had easy jumpsuits, sequinned shifts and tiny cholis. “I wanted there to be something for everyone: a big girl, a skinny girl, something for day, something to go clubbing in,” he says. This was also the year of Sabyasachi’s special brand of sexy. “We’ve gone risqué and stayed traditional at the same time.” A collab with Christian Louboutin produced teetering, ornate footwear for his Amazon India Couture Week show, which was also startling for its darker-than-ever glamour. 

Best capsule collection
PAYAL KHANDWALA
Khandwala’s work is easy to identify. Look for a mix of minimalistic lines, bold blocks and easy volume. And in her limited-edition festive line that she launched in September, the designer worked her signature elements with Benaresi weaves to create rich occasion wear that is also simple and quiet. “Lots of research and an ongoing dialogue with artisans helped us understand the limitless possibilities of the indigenous craft sector in our country,” she says. The mix-and-match capsule collection, with the opulence of brocade and jewel tones, was tempered with progressive ideas of layering: a turmeric lehenga paired with fine pleats, a floor-sweeping shirtdress in parrot green and a cropped gilet you can easily wear with your sari.

Best prêt debut
ANAMIKA
Legions of Anamika Khanna fans rejoiced when she put up her first AnaMika show at Amazon India Fashion Spring/Summer 2016. Khanna’s “Indian at heart but international in spirit” prêt line features sartorial staples in their most simplified avatar. The white kurta billowed, the pyjama got a tracksuit stamp and the sari became an easy throw-on. “The idea was to bring Indian shapes out of the ‘occasion’ wear closet to everyday life,” she says. Teva sandals with your salwar? In AnaMika’s universe, they are a match made in heaven.

Champion of textiles
SANJAY GARG
“Who would’ve imagined a day when textiles would be opening Fashion Week?” Garg says of his 2015 collection dedicated to Mashru textile that flagged off AIFW in October. His own contribution to the country's piqued interest in weaves, warp and weft is unmissable. “Value addition doesn’t come through surface embellishment alone. For me, it is about innovating on the loom; enhancing the skill set of the weaver himself,” he explains. So he spread the silken textile in all its versions (striped, floral and spotted) across modest shapes that were reminiscent of the Kutchi abha, Kashmiri phirans and the kimono, propelling the ever-evolving idea of how modern India dresses.

The prize winner
SUKET DHIR
A quiet but solid presence on the Indian menswear scene, Dhir made waves when he won the International Woolmark Prize Regional Final (Menswear) in July. What cinched it for the designer, who will go on to represent India, Pakistan and the Middle East at the finals in Florence next month, is his thorough, craft-intensive approach to wool. The winning gradient blue ensemble featuring a sharp blazer and oversized, relaxed trousers was pieced together in Telangana (where ikat weavers worked with wool for the first time), Dharwad, Chhindwara and Jaipur. The painstaking crafting of each of his pieces is only apparent if you take the time to look. But his biggest achievement, Dhir insists, is making wool versatile. “We managed to make it tran-seasonal, so it would work through 10 months of the year.” Here's to feeling cool and fuzzy at the same time.

Model of the year
POOJA MOR
Even a dream debut at the Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2016 show back in May did not prepare the Indian beauty for the resounding success she would find on the international Spring/Summer 2016 runways. “It is overwhelming,” says Mor, who walked for more than 15 shows, including Givenchy’s first-ever New York appearance, Alexander McQueen in Paris and Dolce & Gabbana in Milan. Easily the season’s breakout star, Mor (who has previously been spotted in the pages of ELLE) was cast for the LV showing within a week of her landing in New York.

Couture crusader
MANISH MALHOTRA
Lending his powerful voice to a conversation about gender-based violence, Malhotra presented his Blue Runway collection at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2015, in association with the World Bank, UN Women and ELLE. The designer eschewed his signature dramatic designs for subtlety: dainty Gara-like embroidery, beaded fringe, flowy fabrics in soothing tones of blue, mixed with pale yellow and white. The gentle palette kept the focus on the cause. Malhotra says, “No human being has the right to hurt another, and women are most at risk. I want to do what I can.”

SONAM KAPOOR
Actor
ELLE loves: Fiercely testing fashion waters, Kapoor has been spotted doing everything from owning a feathered Elie Saab (memes and all) on the Cannes 2015 red carpet to channelling pin-striped pantsuits #LikeABoss. Always happy to play dress-up (or down, in this case).

PERNIA QURESHI
Entrepreneur & actor
ELLE loves: The fashion darling and founder of Indian e-tailer Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop favours “clean, feminine” designs for her personal wardrobe. Her red-carpet looks switch effortlessly from sexy cutout gowns to classic embellished lehengas, and are always accompanied by an impeccable blowout.
“Lola by Suman B is one of my favourite finds of the year” 

RHEA KAPOOR
Producer & stylist
ELLE loves: The fashion force behind sister Sonam Kapoor’s diverse looks, the Anamika Khanna-obsessed stylist and producer almost always goes the monochrome way — regardless of whether she’s turning the heat up with a low-cut blazer or playing it safe with a plain white T-shirt and jeans. And sneakers, don’t forget the sneakers.
“My personal style is easy, classic with shades of sexy”

KIRAN RAO
Film-maker
ELLE loves: Rao has single-handedly championed the idea that anti-fits, flats and reading glasses can be uber cool. Especially when worn with an undercut. She swears by “Bodice pants, Obataimu tees and péro anything,” and can’t wait to give the colour-blocked wares of label-on-the-rise, Miuniku, an outing.
“I love the almost Samurai-esque vintage Yamamoto coat I bought in  Berlin, this year”

NEHA DHUPIA
Actor
ELLE loves: Dhupia’s off-duty style swings from COS smocks to Armaan Aiman bomber jackets, and is just as experimental as her red-carpet style — think a solid block of yellow Payal Khandwala or a P.E.L.L.A translucent robe dress. “I believe in having fun with clothes,” but she won’t take any credit for it. “My stylist Sohaya Misra understands my body and me to the T.”

JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ
Actor
ELLE loves: The button-cute actor’s personal style is never short on fun — cheeky tees, extra-large frills and bold colours combine perfectly with her strong selfie game. She also makes a case for comfort dressing — we’re already sold on joggers and fanny packs.
“I never have anything to wear but first let me take a selfie” 

VICKY KAUSHAL
Actor
ELLE loves: Kaushal doesn’t play by Bollywood rules when it comes to film choices or personal style. His flowered sweatshirt and slim, distressed jeans impressed us just as much as the tan double-breasted suit — complete with floral lapel pin — he pulled off oh-so-well at Cannes 2015. 

ANUSHKA MANCHANDA
Musician & actor
ELLE loves: There’s never a dull moment with Manchanda. Her eclectic style always has a boho-edge to it — she’s rarely without her festival-style Chelsea boots, she rocks the hell out of a caped suit and she occasionally wears a septum ring (no biggie). Other staples? “I’ve OD-ed on M.A.C’s Ruby Woo this year.” 

CECILIA MORELLI PARIKH
Entrepreneur
ELLE loves: Parikh’s sleek, solid separates are always accented by a bold detail: a statement necklace here, standout stilettos there. But even contemporary concept store Le Mill's co-founder and Bombay’s best arbiter of taste slips up sometimes: “My grandmother threw away my overly expensive and overly ripped blue jeans. She saved me from the biggest fashion faux pas I could have made.”
“My style is just like the melting pot that is my life. A bit of English sarcasm, some French cool, New York severity, Italian flair and Indian bling” 

PETER D’ASCOLI
Textile & product designer
ELLE loves: Those signature tortoiseshell specs and slicked-back hair shouldn’t distract from D’Ascoli’s impeccable print clashing: his ties, button-ups and jackets each tell a different story. His inspo comes from “glancing back at historical influences while running towards the future.”
“My style essentials? My churidars, my glasses and my assistant, Bagatelle”

ALLIA AL RUFAI
Stylist
ELLE loves: Slogan tees, skinny jeans, It bags, sexy shoes — Rufai’s “effortlessly au courant” wardrobe is envy-inducingly perfect. Not to mention she also has legs for days, honeyed skin and the best breakfast pictures.
“This year’s Balmain x H&M collection was one I hoped for way back in 2012. Some wishes do come true!”

MAITHILI AHLUWALIA
Entrepreneur
ELLE loves: Nobody does volume like glocal haven Bungalow 8’s Ahluwalia: she could teach a masterclass in glamorous draping, and she’s not shy about bringing a bold print into the mix. Always take her advice on the next big thing: right now it’s “Ace & Jig, for pushing the boundaries of handwoven weaves with modern cuts.”

PRANAV MISHRA
Fashion designer
ELLE loves: It’s hard to keep up with Mishra’s (one half of sport-luxe label Huemn) facial hair status, but his wardrobe staples are constant: extra-short trousers, ’30s waistcoat and easy jersey — a blurry line between gentleman and rake. “I would say my style, this year, has learnt to be at ease,” he says.

ANTARA MOTIWALA
Stylist
ELLE loves: The star menswear stylist describes her style as, “fun and effortlessly cool with a touch of sexy". A street style paparazzo’s favourite, she’s often spotted in Arpita Mehta, Nikhil Thampi and Dolce & Gabbana, worn with a sultry smile and flashes of skin.
“I’m very into the ankle and maxi lengths and lot of fitted forms” 

PRARTHNA SINGH
Photographer
ELLE loves: A peek behind the lens, and you’ll find that Singh is as cool as the subjects she usually shoots. Lots and lots of Bodice, low-key jewellery, classic kicks — think New Balance (she’s currently living in her 373’s) and Converse — basically “functional, fun, simple and chic.”
“I’m really into the fact that I can now wear brocade pants to a wedding and a khadi sari-dress to a music festival” 

AISHWARYA NAIR
Food & wine consultant
ELLE loves: The Leela Hotels’ in-house culinary expert is as attached to her vintage fur as Margot Tenenbaum, wears Shivan & Narresh resort saris like sundresses and swears by Lancôme’s Hypnôse Doll Lashes mascara. Full on glamourama, but “with diverse and often incongruous elements composed for a bit of fun.”
“The cinched-waist Balmain dress I wore to celebrate my engagement was my favourite 2015 fashion moment” 

GAUTAM SINHA
Accessory designer
ELLE loves: Sinha’s sartorial vibe is best described as “curated comfort,” just like his Nappa Dori duffel bags. He wears his Muji basics, canvas sneakers and a hat as his uniform, but he’d love the challenge of nailing a pastel blue suit some day.

GURSI SINGH
Fashion designer
ELLE loves: With his signature man bun and beard, paper-crisp cottons and oversized pants, Singh (half of minimalistic label Lovebirds) looks straight out of a white-bordered Scandinavian fashion zine. No frills for him — “My style is mostly monochromatic, boxy and functional. I try to cut out everything unnecessary.”
“My essentials include a navy Acne Studios sweatshirt, vintage Levi’s and Nike shoes” 

SIDDHARTH DHANVANT SHANGHVI
Author & photographer
ELLE loves: Shanghvi wears crisp white shirts and pairs them with everything from tuxedos to Nehru jackets, but keeps things interesting with an extra open button (or three). The man behind his look? “My tailor in Candolim, Masterji. No label, but gosh, what style.” 

SMITA LASRADO
Model
ELLE loves: Lasrado’s jet-setting wardrobe is a mix of Parisian tomboy and Bandra kitsch, with underlying tones of thug. “I never like to look completely put together. I find it boring,” she says, who wouldn’t bat an eye before pairing super-dressy N°21 satin mules with baggy ripped jeans or topping an export-reject sundress with a baseball hat (so Isabel Marant!).
“A Saint Laurent evening dress, a second-hand army jacket and my Giuseppe Zanotti MJ-inspired ankle boots are my current favourites” 

ASHIESH SHAH
Interior designer & architect
ELLE loves: Shah’s sartorial style is spiffy, sharp and recently seduced by Indian wear elements. “The patiala pant is a current favourite,” he reveals. The impeccable taste he displays in his projects (case: Le Mill’s high-ceilinged blanc Colaba store) is shared with his wardrobe. “Le Labo’s Santal 33, a black Shift sweater and my Apolis tote bag are things I can’t do without.” 

R BURMAN
Photographer
ELLE loves: This shutterbug is your classic urban prepster — “although sometimes I do like my public school upbringing to influence my dressing”, says Burman. Walk through his wardrobe and you’ll find blue button-downs, suede monk-strap O’Keeffe shoes and a truckload of baseball hats.
“I wore a hat that said ‘Halal’, geared to counter Islamophobia, almost everywhere I visited overseas”

APARNA BADLANI
Entrepreneur
ELLE loves: Nobody wears Rishta by Arjun Saluja’s androgynous designs better than multi-designer store Atosa’s co-owner, Badlani. But then she also wears Amit Aggarwal’s linear looks and Kallol Datta’s anti-fits with equal ease. “I don’t usually like to restrict myself to only one sensibility, or style,” she says. 

PRIYA SACHDEV
Entrepreneur
ELLE loves: You show luxury e-tailer Rock N Shop’s Sachdev a gold lamé skirt, a canary sheath dress and scalloped frills, and she’s most likely to say “challenge accepted”. Also expect to find tons of Stella McCartney, Victoria Beckham, Céline and soon Delpozo (“loved their S/S 2016 collection!”) in her wardrobe.
“This year, I experimented with wearing leather, which I didn’t think I would ever be able to carry off”

SANA REZWAN SAIT
Entrepreneur
ELLE loves: Rezwan Sait prefers black and white, but it’s never basic. Example: the embroidered Rahul Mishra she wore earlier this year — “I love the contrasting texture on a monochrome look." The sustainable-fashion-focused Indelust founder’s impeccable eye for proportion and detail ensures she always stands out. 

SUMIT TAGRA & JITEN THUKRAL
Artists
ELLE loves: Thukral and Tagra’s patterned suits and slightly eccentric auras may mildly distract you from their kooky art. They’re also one of the early adopters of the suits-with-sneakers trend but you’ll never know what they have up their checked sleeves next. “We prefer to move away from trends, which are both progressive and restrictive,” states Tagra.
“We love Comme des Garçons, Tiger shoes and our tailored suits” 

ELTON FERNANDEZ
Make-up & hair artist
ELLE loves: Unusual prints, folk jewellery and relaxed silhouettes define Fernandez’s look. Having great hair (and eyebrows) doesn’t hurt, either. His current go-to accessory: “My moustache.” 

ASHITA MISQUITTA
Communication manager
ELLE loves: “I’ve discovered the comfortable confidence of androgynous dressing,” says Misquitta, for whom a buttoned-up white shirt and pleated pants = armour. And the finishing touches to her easy, louche look, where Indian design, high-street labels and vintage finds meet? Dramatic stud earrings, an Hermès bag and a cashmere scarf. 

SABINA CHOPRA
Fashion strategist
ELLE loves: A powerful presence on the Indian frow, Chopra’s singular style is easy to spot — statement necklace, power prints, comfortable wedges and starkly middle-parted hair.
“My style is uncluttered and it has gotten even simpler, this year”

MIA MORIKAWA
Fashion designer
ELLE loves: 11.11/eleven eleven’s doll-faced Morikawa is a textile aficionado, sports Birks with her silk bandhanis and is really into churidars — “the drawstring plus tapered leg and bunching at the bottom equation really works for me.” The Japanese designer’s wardrobe hits also include rejigged antique kimonos, Korra jeans and Osborn shoes.
“Considering the sensory function of hair — that long hair detects movement in the environment — I’ve decided to grow mine out” 

CHARU SACHDEV
Entrepreneur
ELLE loves: Sachdev’s city-girl style is classic, uncomplicated and always high luxury, just like the mix you'll find at her Kitsch stores. For evenings out, she has just one rule: “I need my high heels!”

PADMA LAKSHMI
TV host & author
ELLE loves: Whether Lakshmi is chanelling “classic bohemian gypsy” or “haute couture pirate”, it will always have sex appeal. She’s proof that chefs can have their cake and eat it too.
“I loved my dress [by Romona Keveza] for the Emmys this year. It felt like liquid gold poured on” 

NEELAM GILL
Model
ELLE loves: It’s ladies like Gill who make 'model off-duty' an aspirational trend of its own. She is the poster girl for casual insouciance with her wardrobe of tough monohcrome basics, baseball hats, thigh-high boots and an above-average Tupac Shakur obsession. 

KUNAL NAYYAR
Actor & author
ELLE loves: Nayyar’s edgy downtown threads are a far cry from the shady ’80s Bollywood style he sports on The Big Bang Theory. You might be surprised to find that Nayyar’s off-screen look has a little bad-boy appeal: tousled hair and leather jackets and blazers over rock-star jeans.

SALONI LODHA
Fashion designer
ELLE loves: Lodha is effortlessly chic but always with a playful twist — floral midi-dress with striped extras, Royal-Guard red blazer with thick shoes and a derby hat that says hello. Not to mention being the perfect model to pull off her own signature prints.

AZIZ ANSARI
Actor & comedian
ELLE loves: Ansari isn’t your typically schlubby, hoodie-clad comedian. Instead, he favours slim-cut suits by the likes of Band of Outsiders, sleek leather jackets, and, of course, great kicks.

FREIDA PINTO
Actor
ELLE loves: Slumdog days are over: Pinto’s championing of up-and-coming designers and penchant for bright colours in modern, sharply structured pieces leaves us always wanting to know what she’ll wear next.

WARSI AHLUWALIA
Designer & actor
ELLE loves: Ahluwalia is always cool and quaint in his narrow, jewel-toned suits, printed pocket squares and utterly elegant turban, “It is more of a uniform,” he says. “Esquivel [who makes my shoes] knows that I’m only interested in dusty pink suede. My tailor knows it is cotton and linen for summer, and wool for the winters. The same silhouettes, for shoes, shirts, suits — over and over again.”
“I know the designer, Esquivel, who makes my shoes; the tailor, J.Mueser, who makes my suits and the people that make my jeans, APC. It is consumerism that is just a little more considered” 

MAWI KEIVOM
Accessory designer
ELLE loves: Keivom’s “eclectic with punk undertones'” outfits are an explosion of diverse colours and textures that come together like pieces of a puzzle.
“I wear my three-inch creepers and Prada sunglasses every day, no matter what look I’m rocking that day”

MINDY KALING
Actor & writer
ELLE loves: The Mindy Project star's maximalist, figure-hugging, unapologetic style is where colour-blocking, patterns, and prints can coexist with ease. Why fall back on a little black dress when you have a spotted hot pink one instead?

PRIYANKA CHOPRA
Actor
ELLE loves: Chopra keeps it classically sexy on the red carpet, but when she’s out and about, she’s all about a pared-down street aesthetic of graphic tees, skinny jeans, Dior sunnies and vertiginous boots. Her personal style only adds to her kickass presence on-screen.

Designer of the year
GAURAV GUPTA
Gupta blazed into 2015, his 10th anniversary in the business, with a retrospective show at Amazon India Fashion week Fall/Winter 2015-16, which saw him bring back his classic sari-gowns, menswear-inspired tailoring and 3D-esque metallics. He followed that up with a stellar Amazon India Couture Week collection but revved up his game to a whole new level for his finale show at Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2015-16. Models clad in icy embellishments, carved volume and gigantic ruffles swerved in and out of large-scale circular runway where the windswept head of a goddess held centre stage. “I wanted to be true and instinctive. I just wanted to create magic for myself,” he says. He wildly overshot his (and our) expectations.

Label of the year
AM.IT
Amit Hansraj and Amit Aggarwal are long-time collaborators; Aggarwal’s eponymous Indian couture label is backed by Hansraj’s marketing expertise. But with their diffusion line AM.IT, which debuted at Amazon India Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015-16, the pair has created a singular, brave brand of fashion. AM.IT upcycles everyday items like plastic straws, toys and bindi sheets into covetable pieces that feel pleasantly ahead of their time. “I really think we can redefine fashion as we see it today,” says Hansraj. Their second showing at AIFW Spring/Summer 2016 of gamcha blousons, rejigged denim and sporty woven nylon put paid to all doubts about the wearability (and saleability) of their product. The gamut of textures speak of Aggarwal’s love for scavenging, or as he explains it, “giving the old a new life in a contemporary setting and changing the language of design." 

The all-rounder
SABYASACHI MUKHERJEE
Heavy-duty couture collections, a diffusion line and a creative collaboration with a shoe maverick — there is little Sabyasachi hasn’t tried his hand at (and aced) this year. Sabyasachi by Sabyasachi, his diffusion line, which debuted at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2015, was all about shifting the focus from his bridal hits. It had easy jumpsuits, sequinned shifts and tiny cholis. “I wanted there to be something for everyone: a big girl, a skinny girl, something for day, something to go clubbing in,” he says. This was also the year of Sabyasachi’s special brand of sexy. “We’ve gone risqué and stayed traditional at the same time.” A collab with Christian Louboutin produced teetering, ornate footwear for his Amazon India Couture Week show, which was also startling for its darker-than-ever glamour. 

Best capsule collection
PAYAL KHANDWALA
Khandwala’s work is easy to identify. Look for a mix of minimalistic lines, bold blocks and easy volume. And in her limited-edition festive line that she launched in September, the designer worked her signature elements with Benaresi weaves to create rich occasion wear that is also simple and quiet. “Lots of research and an ongoing dialogue with artisans helped us understand the limitless possibilities of the indigenous craft sector in our country,” she says. The mix-and-match capsule collection, with the opulence of brocade and jewel tones, was tempered with progressive ideas of layering: a turmeric lehenga paired with fine pleats, a floor-sweeping shirtdress in parrot green and a cropped gilet you can easily wear with your sari.

Best prêt debut
ANAMIKA
Legions of Anamika Khanna fans rejoiced when she put up her first AnaMika show at Amazon India Fashion Spring/Summer 2016. Khanna’s “Indian at heart but international in spirit” prêt line features sartorial staples in their most simplified avatar. The white kurta billowed, the pyjama got a tracksuit stamp and the sari became an easy throw-on. “The idea was to bring Indian shapes out of the ‘occasion’ wear closet to everyday life,” she says. Teva sandals with your salwar? In AnaMika’s universe, they are a match made in heaven.

Champion of textiles
SANJAY GARG
“Who would’ve imagined a day when textiles would be opening Fashion Week?” Garg says of his 2015 collection dedicated to Mashru textile that flagged off AIFW in October. His own contribution to the country's piqued interest in weaves, warp and weft is unmissable. “Value addition doesn’t come through surface embellishment alone. For me, it is about innovating on the loom; enhancing the skill set of the weaver himself,” he explains. So he spread the silken textile in all its versions (striped, floral and spotted) across modest shapes that were reminiscent of the Kutchi abha, Kashmiri phirans and the kimono, propelling the ever-evolving idea of how modern India dresses.

The prize winner
SUKET DHIR
A quiet but solid presence on the Indian menswear scene, Dhir made waves when he won the International Woolmark Prize Regional Final (Menswear) in July. What cinched it for the designer, who will go on to represent India, Pakistan and the Middle East at the finals in Florence next month, is his thorough, craft-intensive approach to wool. The winning gradient blue ensemble featuring a sharp blazer and oversized, relaxed trousers was pieced together in Telangana (where ikat weavers worked with wool for the first time), Dharwad, Chhindwara and Jaipur. The painstaking crafting of each of his pieces is only apparent if you take the time to look. But his biggest achievement, Dhir insists, is making wool versatile. “We managed to make it tran-seasonal, so it would work through 10 months of the year.” Here's to feeling cool and fuzzy at the same time.

Model of the year
POOJA MOR
Even a dream debut at the Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2016 show back in May did not prepare the Indian beauty for the resounding success she would find on the international Spring/Summer 2016 runways. “It is overwhelming,” says Mor, who walked for more than 15 shows, including Givenchy’s first-ever New York appearance, Alexander McQueen in Paris and Dolce & Gabbana in Milan. Easily the season’s breakout star, Mor (who has previously been spotted in the pages of ELLE) was cast for the LV showing within a week of her landing in New York.

Couture crusader
MANISH MALHOTRA
Lending his powerful voice to a conversation about gender-based violence, Malhotra presented his Blue Runway collection at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2015, in association with the World Bank, UN Women and ELLE. The designer eschewed his signature dramatic designs for subtlety: dainty Gara-like embroidery, beaded fringe, flowy fabrics in soothing tones of blue, mixed with pale yellow and white. The gentle palette kept the focus on the cause. Malhotra says, “No human being has the right to hurt another, and women are most at risk. I want to do what I can.”

SONAM KAPOOR
Actor
ELLE loves: Fiercely testing fashion waters, Kapoor has been spotted doing everything from owning a feathered Elie Saab (memes and all) on the Cannes 2015 red carpet to channelling pin-striped pantsuits #LikeABoss. Always happy to play dress-up (or down, in this case).

PERNIA QURESHI
Entrepreneur & actor
ELLE loves: The fashion darling and founder of Indian e-tailer Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop favours “clean, feminine” designs for her personal wardrobe. Her red-carpet looks switch effortlessly from sexy cutout gowns to classic embellished lehengas, and are always accompanied by an impeccable blowout.
“Lola by Suman B is one of my favourite finds of the year” 

RHEA KAPOOR
Producer & stylist
ELLE loves: The fashion force behind sister Sonam Kapoor’s diverse looks, the Anamika Khanna-obsessed stylist and producer almost always goes the monochrome way — regardless of whether she’s turning the heat up with a low-cut blazer or playing it safe with a plain white T-shirt and jeans. And sneakers, don’t forget the sneakers.
“My personal style is easy, classic with shades of sexy”

KIRAN RAO
Film-maker
ELLE loves: Rao has single-handedly championed the idea that anti-fits, flats and reading glasses can be uber cool. Especially when worn with an undercut. She swears by “Bodice pants, Obataimu tees and péro anything,” and can’t wait to give the colour-blocked wares of label-on-the-rise, Miuniku, an outing.
“I love the almost Samurai-esque vintage Yamamoto coat I bought in  Berlin, this year”

NEHA DHUPIA
Actor
ELLE loves: Dhupia’s off-duty style swings from COS smocks to Armaan Aiman bomber jackets, and is just as experimental as her red-carpet style — think a solid block of yellow Payal Khandwala or a P.E.L.L.A translucent robe dress. “I believe in having fun with clothes,” but she won’t take any credit for it. “My stylist Sohaya Misra understands my body and me to the T.”

JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ
Actor
ELLE loves: The button-cute actor’s personal style is never short on fun — cheeky tees, extra-large frills and bold colours combine perfectly with her strong selfie game. She also makes a case for comfort dressing — we’re already sold on joggers and fanny packs.
“I never have anything to wear but first let me take a selfie” 

VICKY KAUSHAL
Actor
ELLE loves: Kaushal doesn’t play by Bollywood rules when it comes to film choices or personal style. His flowered sweatshirt and slim, distressed jeans impressed us just as much as the tan double-breasted suit — complete with floral lapel pin — he pulled off oh-so-well at Cannes 2015. 

ANUSHKA MANCHANDA
Musician & actor
ELLE loves: There’s never a dull moment with Manchanda. Her eclectic style always has a boho-edge to it — she’s rarely without her festival-style Chelsea boots, she rocks the hell out of a caped suit and she occasionally wears a septum ring (no biggie). Other staples? “I’ve OD-ed on M.A.C’s Ruby Woo this year.” 

CECILIA MORELLI PARIKH
Entrepreneur
ELLE loves: Parikh’s sleek, solid separates are always accented by a bold detail: a statement necklace here, standout stilettos there. But even contemporary concept store Le Mill's co-founder and Bombay’s best arbiter of taste slips up sometimes: “My grandmother threw away my overly expensive and overly ripped blue jeans. She saved me from the biggest fashion faux pas I could have made.”
“My style is just like the melting pot that is my life. A bit of English sarcasm, some French cool, New York severity, Italian flair and Indian bling” 

PETER D’ASCOLI
Textile & product designer
ELLE loves: Those signature tortoiseshell specs and slicked-back hair shouldn’t distract from D’Ascoli’s impeccable print clashing: his ties, button-ups and jackets each tell a different story. His inspo comes from “glancing back at historical influences while running towards the future.”
“My style essentials? My churidars, my glasses and my assistant, Bagatelle”

ALLIA AL RUFAI
Stylist
ELLE loves: Slogan tees, skinny jeans, It bags, sexy shoes — Rufai’s “effortlessly au courant” wardrobe is envy-inducingly perfect. Not to mention she also has legs for days, honeyed skin and the best breakfast pictures.
“This year’s Balmain x H&M collection was one I hoped for way back in 2012. Some wishes do come true!”

MAITHILI AHLUWALIA
Entrepreneur
ELLE loves: Nobody does volume like glocal haven Bungalow 8’s Ahluwalia: she could teach a masterclass in glamorous draping, and she’s not shy about bringing a bold print into the mix. Always take her advice on the next big thing: right now it’s “Ace & Jig, for pushing the boundaries of handwoven weaves with modern cuts.”

PRANAV MISHRA
Fashion designer
ELLE loves: It’s hard to keep up with Mishra’s (one half of sport-luxe label Huemn) facial hair status, but his wardrobe staples are constant: extra-short trousers, ’30s waistcoat and easy jersey — a blurry line between gentleman and rake. “I would say my style, this year, has learnt to be at ease,” he says.

ANTARA MOTIWALA
Stylist
ELLE loves: The star menswear stylist describes her style as, “fun and effortlessly cool with a touch of sexy". A street style paparazzo’s favourite, she’s often spotted in Arpita Mehta, Nikhil Thampi and Dolce & Gabbana, worn with a sultry smile and flashes of skin.
“I’m very into the ankle and maxi lengths and lot of fitted forms” 

PRARTHNA SINGH
Photographer
ELLE loves: A peek behind the lens, and you’ll find that Singh is as cool as the subjects she usually shoots. Lots and lots of Bodice, low-key jewellery, classic kicks — think New Balance (she’s currently living in her 373’s) and Converse — basically “functional, fun, simple and chic.”
“I’m really into the fact that I can now wear brocade pants to a wedding and a khadi sari-dress to a music festival” 

AISHWARYA NAIR
Food & wine consultant
ELLE loves: The Leela Hotels’ in-house culinary expert is as attached to her vintage fur as Margot Tenenbaum, wears Shivan & Narresh resort saris like sundresses and swears by Lancôme’s Hypnôse Doll Lashes mascara. Full on glamourama, but “with diverse and often incongruous elements composed for a bit of fun.”
“The cinched-waist Balmain dress I wore to celebrate my engagement was my favourite 2015 fashion moment” 

GAUTAM SINHA
Accessory designer
ELLE loves: Sinha’s sartorial vibe is best described as “curated comfort,” just like his Nappa Dori duffel bags. He wears his Muji basics, canvas sneakers and a hat as his uniform, but he’d love the challenge of nailing a pastel blue suit some day.

GURSI SINGH
Fashion designer
ELLE loves: With his signature man bun and beard, paper-crisp cottons and oversized pants, Singh (half of minimalistic label Lovebirds) looks straight out of a white-bordered Scandinavian fashion zine. No frills for him — “My style is mostly monochromatic, boxy and functional. I try to cut out everything unnecessary.”
“My essentials include a navy Acne Studios sweatshirt, vintage Levi’s and Nike shoes” 

SIDDHARTH DHANVANT SHANGHVI
Author & photographer
ELLE loves: Shanghvi wears crisp white shirts and pairs them with everything from tuxedos to Nehru jackets, but keeps things interesting with an extra open button (or three). The man behind his look? “My tailor in Candolim, Masterji. No label, but gosh, what style.” 

SMITA LASRADO
Model
ELLE loves: Lasrado’s jet-setting wardrobe is a mix of Parisian tomboy and Bandra kitsch, with underlying tones of thug. “I never like to look completely put together. I find it boring,” she says, who wouldn’t bat an eye before pairing super-dressy N°21 satin mules with baggy ripped jeans or topping an export-reject sundress with a baseball hat (so Isabel Marant!).
“A Saint Laurent evening dress, a second-hand army jacket and my Giuseppe Zanotti MJ-inspired ankle boots are my current favourites” 

ASHIESH SHAH
Interior designer & architect
ELLE loves: Shah’s sartorial style is spiffy, sharp and recently seduced by Indian wear elements. “The patiala pant is a current favourite,” he reveals. The impeccable taste he displays in his projects (case: Le Mill’s high-ceilinged blanc Colaba store) is shared with his wardrobe. “Le Labo’s Santal 33, a black Shift sweater and my Apolis tote bag are things I can’t do without.” 

R BURMAN
Photographer
ELLE loves: This shutterbug is your classic urban prepster — “although sometimes I do like my public school upbringing to influence my dressing”, says Burman. Walk through his wardrobe and you’ll find blue button-downs, suede monk-strap O’Keeffe shoes and a truckload of baseball hats.
“I wore a hat that said ‘Halal’, geared to counter Islamophobia, almost everywhere I visited overseas”

APARNA BADLANI
Entrepreneur
ELLE loves: Nobody wears Rishta by Arjun Saluja’s androgynous designs better than multi-designer store Atosa’s co-owner, Badlani. But then she also wears Amit Aggarwal’s linear looks and Kallol Datta’s anti-fits with equal ease. “I don’t usually like to restrict myself to only one sensibility, or style,” she says. 

PRIYA SACHDEV
Entrepreneur
ELLE loves: You show luxury e-tailer Rock N Shop’s Sachdev a gold lamé skirt, a canary sheath dress and scalloped frills, and she’s most likely to say “challenge accepted”. Also expect to find tons of Stella McCartney, Victoria Beckham, Céline and soon Delpozo (“loved their S/S 2016 collection!”) in her wardrobe.
“This year, I experimented with wearing leather, which I didn’t think I would ever be able to carry off”

SANA REZWAN SAIT
Entrepreneur
ELLE loves: Rezwan Sait prefers black and white, but it’s never basic. Example: the embroidered Rahul Mishra she wore earlier this year — “I love the contrasting texture on a monochrome look." The sustainable-fashion-focused Indelust founder’s impeccable eye for proportion and detail ensures she always stands out. 

SUMIT TAGRA & JITEN THUKRAL
Artists
ELLE loves: Thukral and Tagra’s patterned suits and slightly eccentric auras may mildly distract you from their kooky art. They’re also one of the early adopters of the suits-with-sneakers trend but you’ll never know what they have up their checked sleeves next. “We prefer to move away from trends, which are both progressive and restrictive,” states Tagra.
“We love Comme des Garçons, Tiger shoes and our tailored suits” 

ELTON FERNANDEZ
Make-up & hair artist
ELLE loves: Unusual prints, folk jewellery and relaxed silhouettes define Fernandez’s look. Having great hair (and eyebrows) doesn’t hurt, either. His current go-to accessory: “My moustache.” 

ASHITA MISQUITTA
Communication manager
ELLE loves: “I’ve discovered the comfortable confidence of androgynous dressing,” says Misquitta, for whom a buttoned-up white shirt and pleated pants = armour. And the finishing touches to her easy, louche look, where Indian design, high-street labels and vintage finds meet? Dramatic stud earrings, an Hermès bag and a cashmere scarf. 

SABINA CHOPRA
Fashion strategist
ELLE loves: A powerful presence on the Indian frow, Chopra’s singular style is easy to spot — statement necklace, power prints, comfortable wedges and starkly middle-parted hair.
“My style is uncluttered and it has gotten even simpler, this year”

MIA MORIKAWA
Fashion designer
ELLE loves: 11.11/eleven eleven’s doll-faced Morikawa is a textile aficionado, sports Birks with her silk bandhanis and is really into churidars — “the drawstring plus tapered leg and bunching at the bottom equation really works for me.” The Japanese designer’s wardrobe hits also include rejigged antique kimonos, Korra jeans and Osborn shoes.
“Considering the sensory function of hair — that long hair detects movement in the environment — I’ve decided to grow mine out” 

CHARU SACHDEV
Entrepreneur
ELLE loves: Sachdev’s city-girl style is classic, uncomplicated and always high luxury, just like the mix you'll find at her Kitsch stores. For evenings out, she has just one rule: “I need my high heels!”

PADMA LAKSHMI
TV host & author
ELLE loves: Whether Lakshmi is chanelling “classic bohemian gypsy” or “haute couture pirate”, it will always have sex appeal. She’s proof that chefs can have their cake and eat it too.
“I loved my dress [by Romona Keveza] for the Emmys this year. It felt like liquid gold poured on” 

NEELAM GILL
Model
ELLE loves: It’s ladies like Gill who make 'model off-duty' an aspirational trend of its own. She is the poster girl for casual insouciance with her wardrobe of tough monohcrome basics, baseball hats, thigh-high boots and an above-average Tupac Shakur obsession. 

KUNAL NAYYAR
Actor & author
ELLE loves: Nayyar’s edgy downtown threads are a far cry from the shady ’80s Bollywood style he sports on The Big Bang Theory. You might be surprised to find that Nayyar’s off-screen look has a little bad-boy appeal: tousled hair and leather jackets and blazers over rock-star jeans.

SALONI LODHA
Fashion designer
ELLE loves: Lodha is effortlessly chic but always with a playful twist — floral midi-dress with striped extras, Royal-Guard red blazer with thick shoes and a derby hat that says hello. Not to mention being the perfect model to pull off her own signature prints.

AZIZ ANSARI
Actor & comedian
ELLE loves: Ansari isn’t your typically schlubby, hoodie-clad comedian. Instead, he favours slim-cut suits by the likes of Band of Outsiders, sleek leather jackets, and, of course, great kicks.

FREIDA PINTO
Actor
ELLE loves: Slumdog days are over: Pinto’s championing of up-and-coming designers and penchant for bright colours in modern, sharply structured pieces leaves us always wanting to know what she’ll wear next.

WARSI AHLUWALIA
Designer & actor
ELLE loves: Ahluwalia is always cool and quaint in his narrow, jewel-toned suits, printed pocket squares and utterly elegant turban, “It is more of a uniform,” he says. “Esquivel [who makes my shoes] knows that I’m only interested in dusty pink suede. My tailor knows it is cotton and linen for summer, and wool for the winters. The same silhouettes, for shoes, shirts, suits — over and over again.”
“I know the designer, Esquivel, who makes my shoes; the tailor, J.Mueser, who makes my suits and the people that make my jeans, APC. It is consumerism that is just a little more considered” 

MAWI KEIVOM
Accessory designer
ELLE loves: Keivom’s “eclectic with punk undertones'” outfits are an explosion of diverse colours and textures that come together like pieces of a puzzle.
“I wear my three-inch creepers and Prada sunglasses every day, no matter what look I’m rocking that day”

MINDY KALING
Actor & writer
ELLE loves: The Mindy Project star's maximalist, figure-hugging, unapologetic style is where colour-blocking, patterns, and prints can coexist with ease. Why fall back on a little black dress when you have a spotted hot pink one instead?

PRIYANKA CHOPRA
Actor
ELLE loves: Chopra keeps it classically sexy on the red carpet, but when she’s out and about, she’s all about a pared-down street aesthetic of graphic tees, skinny jeans, Dior sunnies and vertiginous boots. Her personal style only adds to her kickass presence on-screen.