ELLE Closet Confidential: Inside The Artistic Wardrobe of Rithika Pandey

I call myself an appreciator of the arts because while I truly love admiring art, more often than not, I’m not fully aware of what it is I’m admiring. What I love about art is that it’s a reflection of the creator and their personal style. It tells the stories they wish to tell and in the process we’re gaining an insight into their deepest thoughts. Creating and admiring art are both intimate affairs. Staring at a painting is almost like intertwining myself with its maker and there’s no better way for me to truly know them. 


Sitting across from Rithika Pandey was a surreal experience in itself, she speaks of her creations and her personal style like they’re one and the same. She finds meaning in colour and prints and it reflects in the way she dresses.

As a contemporary visual artist who has now done 5 solo shows and numerous group shows across India and the world, Pandey describes her works as alternate worlds rooted in the ethos of adventure, transformation and recovery. In a candid chat with ELLE, she takes us through her style evolution and how its journey has evolved with her art. 

Comfort and Openness: Key Fashion Philosophies

She gravitates towards loose, flowing garments made of linen and silk that allow her to feel free and unencumbered. “I really value openness and softness. And the clothes that I buy for myself have to carry those values,” she explains. Her favourite pieces include a white linen shirt with flared sleeves and dark green bell-bottoms that make her feel graceful. 


These clothes, along with her snake-shaped ring—a powerful statement accessory—help her maintain a state of pure feeling, essential for her creative process.

The Watermelon Suit: A Symbol of Empowerment

Among the many treasures in her closet, one piece holds particular significance: the watermelon suit. This striking co-ord set, reminiscent of the Palestinian flag, became a symbol of empowerment during her first spoken word performance at the India Art Fair. “When I wore that, I not only felt good in my own body, I felt empowered,” she recalls. It was a revelation, showing her that clothing is not just about trends but about embodying one’s true identity.

Historical Influences: A Fusion of Past and Future

The Secret

Historical influences also play a significant role in her style. A painting titled “The Secret” features a protagonist wearing a headpiece inspired by an ancient Egyptian headdress. “A lot of my headpieces are inspired by ancient Egyptian paintings and the headdresses that were worn by pharaohs and queens,” she shares. This blend of ancient and futuristic influences encapsulates Rithika’s vision for the future of fashion—a vision where history and innovation collide.

Moods and Wardrobe: A Reflection of Self

Her wardrobe is carefully curated to reflect different aspects of her personality and moods. Earthy tones and asymmetrical silhouettes ground her amidst the chaos of Bombay, while ornamental, printed pieces express her artistic blossoming. “I’ve kind of divided my wardrobe into different sections,” she explains. “There is this one section which is just plain clothes with earthy tones that make me feel grounded… The second category is the more ornamental, when I feel very artistic.” This duality is a central theme in her closet, where every item serves a purpose, whether it’s to root her in reality or to let her spirit soar.

Also read, Marianna Mukuchyan Speaks To ELLE About Motherhood, Raising A New Generation Baby & Getting Back To Work Post-Pregnancy

- Fashion Writer

More From

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content