Meet the finalists of ELLE Graduates 2015


Meet the finalists of ELLE Graduates 2015

Five finalists pair up with celebrated style influencers to create unexpected fashion bonds

By Nidhi Jacob  January 18th, 2016

NIAMAT BAKSHI x DHRUV KAPOOR 
Athleisure, 3D textures and cheeky slogans jump out at you from Dhruv Kapoor’s work, which debuted at Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014-15. It couldn’t be more different from ex-lawyer, social entrepreneur and full-blown sartorial star Niamat Bakshi’s vibe; she counts The Row and Balmain among her go-to labels. “I’d describe my style as classic with an edge. But once I love a designer, you’ll find me wearing them throughout the season,” she says. In this case, all it took was one embellished sweatshirt dress to merge their different styles into one sporty-glam picture. “The first thing I noticed about Dhruv’s clothes was the finish, which was a pleasant surprise from a young designer,” says Bakshi. “And I loved the futuristic feel of his clothes. The use of neoprene and embellishment was a fresh take on scuba-chic clothing while retaining a certain girliness.”

ROOHI OOMERBHOY JAIKISHAN x ANAVILA MISRA
The humble linen sari is having a major moment, and Anavila Misra is headlining the movement. Having started showing on the runway only two years ago, Misra has racked up loyal followers who love her knack for muted hues, subtle shine and saris you can live in. And she can now add Jaikishan to the list: “I love that Anavila has captured simplicity with tactile luxury.” Jaikishan, a businesswoman, is a constant on best-dressed lists for her easy elegance. “Style is inherent,” she says, “I prefer clothes that are comfortable, and it doesn’t matter to me what's in or out.” Jaikishan has rarely been spotted in Indian wear, but that’s already changed since the two met. “Anavila’s linens with woven silver are chic, understated and still true to their legacy and tradition.”

KALYANI CHAWLA x RASHMI VARMA 
As vice president (marketing & communication) for Dior in India, Chawla is the strongest brand ambassador for the French fashion house. She looks like a boss, even in prim, full-skirted couture. “While I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to style, I am also conscious of the fact that I am a mother to a 16-year-old. But I still tend to add edginess to what I wear,” says Chawla. Enter Varma, a costume-turned-fashion designer and her modern Indian pieces (her sari-dress is already a signature) in khadi, kala cotton and silk and deep indigo dyes. Only three seasons old, her take on tradition is respectful, progressive, strong and not to mention, extremely form-flattering. Chawla is clearly impressed: “What I love about Rashmi’s clothes is the clever use of draping, the clean monochromatic palette and the Indo-Western look. You can dress it up with kundan-jadau jewellery or toughen it up with boots.”

NITASHA THAPAR x RINA SINGH
Singh and Thapar have more in common than they realise — a zen calm about them, for starters, along with an appreciation for the finer details, like luxurious fabric. “Rina's beautiful weaves are what make her clothes special,” says Thapar, a creative and social entrepreneur. But while she believes that “less is more” defines her aesthetic, Singh’s billowing buttoned-down dresses and cosy coats for Eka (a label she started in 2011) quite clearly benefit from more — multiple layers, lengths and textures. Thapar has readily embraced this exception: “They are comfortable, easy to wear and really do work best when layered.” 

RIDDHIMA KAPOOR SAHNI x SAHIL KOCHHAR 
Scuba blankets and carved volume are not exactly on the petite girl’s go-to list. “I tend to steer away from anything that’s too overwhelming,” says the slight Sahni, daughter of Bollywood’s first family, the Kapoors. Luckily Kochhar, who worked under Rohit Bal before starting his eponymous label in 2012, knows exactly how to walk the line between dramatic and effortless. His softly padded sculptural creations won her over with their simplicity, despite the layers of cutwork and craft. “Sahil's clothes suited my structure and were comfortable, which is my top priority," says Sahni who is currently working on a childrenswear label with her husband and understands the importance of ease and wearability. ”Besides, his textures are so different from what everyone else is doing. They look just as good off the rack as on it."

Photographs: Manasi Sawant and Mehtab Mann. Styling: Akanksha Kamath, Arushi Parakh and Nidhi Jacob. Make-up: Priya Todarwal, Savleen Manchanda, Gursewak Singh and Saher Ahmed. Location courtesy: The Claridges, New Delhi (Sahil Kochhar)

NIAMAT BAKSHI x DHRUV KAPOOR 
Athleisure, 3D textures and cheeky slogans jump out at you from Dhruv Kapoor’s work, which debuted at Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014-15. It couldn’t be more different from ex-lawyer, social entrepreneur and full-blown sartorial star Niamat Bakshi’s vibe; she counts The Row and Balmain among her go-to labels. “I’d describe my style as classic with an edge. But once I love a designer, you’ll find me wearing them throughout the season,” she says. In this case, all it took was one embellished sweatshirt dress to merge their different styles into one sporty-glam picture. “The first thing I noticed about Dhruv’s clothes was the finish, which was a pleasant surprise from a young designer,” says Bakshi. “And I loved the futuristic feel of his clothes. The use of neoprene and embellishment was a fresh take on scuba-chic clothing while retaining a certain girliness.”

ROOHI OOMERBHOY JAIKISHAN x ANAVILA MISRA
The humble linen sari is having a major moment, and Anavila Misra is headlining the movement. Having started showing on the runway only two years ago, Misra has racked up loyal followers who love her knack for muted hues, subtle shine and saris you can live in. And she can now add Jaikishan to the list: “I love that Anavila has captured simplicity with tactile luxury.” Jaikishan, a businesswoman, is a constant on best-dressed lists for her easy elegance. “Style is inherent,” she says, “I prefer clothes that are comfortable, and it doesn’t matter to me what's in or out.” Jaikishan has rarely been spotted in Indian wear, but that’s already changed since the two met. “Anavila’s linens with woven silver are chic, understated and still true to their legacy and tradition.”

KALYANI CHAWLA x RASHMI VARMA 
As vice president (marketing & communication) for Dior in India, Chawla is the strongest brand ambassador for the French fashion house. She looks like a boss, even in prim, full-skirted couture. “While I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to style, I am also conscious of the fact that I am a mother to a 16-year-old. But I still tend to add edginess to what I wear,” says Chawla. Enter Varma, a costume-turned-fashion designer and her modern Indian pieces (her sari-dress is already a signature) in khadi, kala cotton and silk and deep indigo dyes. Only three seasons old, her take on tradition is respectful, progressive, strong and not to mention, extremely form-flattering. Chawla is clearly impressed: “What I love about Rashmi’s clothes is the clever use of draping, the clean monochromatic palette and the Indo-Western look. You can dress it up with kundan-jadau jewellery or toughen it up with boots.”

NITASHA THAPAR x RINA SINGH
Singh and Thapar have more in common than they realise — a zen calm about them, for starters, along with an appreciation for the finer details, like luxurious fabric. “Rina's beautiful weaves are what make her clothes special,” says Thapar, a creative and social entrepreneur. But while she believes that “less is more” defines her aesthetic, Singh’s billowing buttoned-down dresses and cosy coats for Eka (a label she started in 2011) quite clearly benefit from more — multiple layers, lengths and textures. Thapar has readily embraced this exception: “They are comfortable, easy to wear and really do work best when layered.” 

RIDDHIMA KAPOOR SAHNI x SAHIL KOCHHAR 
Scuba blankets and carved volume are not exactly on the petite girl’s go-to list. “I tend to steer away from anything that’s too overwhelming,” says the slight Sahni, daughter of Bollywood’s first family, the Kapoors. Luckily Kochhar, who worked under Rohit Bal before starting his eponymous label in 2012, knows exactly how to walk the line between dramatic and effortless. His softly padded sculptural creations won her over with their simplicity, despite the layers of cutwork and craft. “Sahil's clothes suited my structure and were comfortable, which is my top priority," says Sahni who is currently working on a childrenswear label with her husband and understands the importance of ease and wearability. ”Besides, his textures are so different from what everyone else is doing. They look just as good off the rack as on it."

Photographs: Manasi Sawant and Mehtab Mann. Styling: Akanksha Kamath, Arushi Parakh and Nidhi Jacob. Make-up: Priya Todarwal, Savleen Manchanda, Gursewak Singh and Saher Ahmed. Location courtesy: The Claridges, New Delhi (Sahil Kochhar)