Riddhi Doshi, email@example.com
When Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, the fashionista of Bollywood played the hip and stylish Aisha in the eponymous 2010 movie, she looked every bit convincing. In real life as well her panache, elegance and style come second to none. The European couture label Ralph and Russo’s show stopper at the Paris Fashion Week, in 2017, and Cannes red carpet stunner is the luxury world’s sweetheart.
Since 2008, Sonam has been the face of L’Oréal Paris, her first endorsement contract ever. She supported the Montblanc campaign in 2009 alongside her father, actor Anil Kapoor. She bagged the IWC Schaffhausen deal in 2017, shot for premium luggage Traworld’s ad campaign last year and signed on Chopard Parfums in April this year. She and her husband, Anand Ahuja, also feature in the recent digital ad campaign of Los Angeles Tourism.
The National Award-winning actress (For Neerja in 2016) defines luxury as something that is not necessarily expensive, but that’s of good quality, sensual, something that smells good and feels good. “You can wear a pair of jeans like couture. You are the person who defines luxury,” she says.
For the Padman (2018) actress, the same principle holds while selecting the brands she works with. “I use whichever brands I endorse. Whether it is L’Oréal, Snickers, Coalgate or any other. I understand that these brands are used by the common man as well. I am very responsible as an artiste and as a human being. I do not endorse anything that I don’t believe in. Similarly, I will not do any movies I don’t believe in,” says Sonam.
That said, her choices are bold and unconventional both on-screen and off-screen. In her latest release, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, this year, she dared to play a lesbian character. At Cannes last year she didn’t shy away from flaunting her bridal mehendi, pairing it with a tulle dress hand-picked from the studios of celebrated American designer Vera Wang. Whatever she does become a style statement. Her henna hands got her much attention from fashion magazines across the globe. “I don’t take fashion seriously,” says Sonam. “As soon as you start taking yourself and all this seriously, the charm will fade away. For me, it’s just for fun. Every outfit is an adventure and a way of expressing myself,” she says.
One of her greatest adventures must have been walking the ramp as the showstopper of Ralph & Russo’s 2017 fall/winter Haute Couture collection showcase, at the Paris Fashion Week. “It was one of those really epic things that I’ve done,” says Sonam. “I was wearing a beautiful gown, but it was heavy, and so was the jewellery. I was thinking: ‘I hope I don’t fall on my face.’”
A favourite of the style police, Sonam has never faced a fashion failure, not even when people raised concerns about her entrepreneurial venture, fashion brand Rheson, in 2017, with her sister Rhea Kapoor. The lack of design in Indian fashion design made her start the label, a venture she holds close to her heart and dedicates much time to.
“Fashion, especially fast fashion, is very consumer based. Having said so, I like to attach some authenticity to it. My sister and i don’t do anything half-heartedly. We create original designs that we would wear ourselves.”
She is a more cautious businesswoman than an actor. “With Rheson, I am slightly more practical. We concentrate on designs that our customers need, giving them the best. As an actor, I’m a little more selfish. I’m only thinking about my character, what I will learn, and how I can grow as an artist and as a person,” says Sonam.
From waiting tables at a Mexican restaurant in Singapore, for extra pocket money, as a student, to now becoming a top actress, whose worth is reported to be Rs94 crore, Sonam has come a long way.
Q&A with Sonam Kapoor Ahuja
How would you define your style sense?
I would say I am like Sybil (A character with multiple personalities from Flora Rheta Schreiber’s 1973 bestseller Sybil). That’s why I became an actor because I get to be a different person every day. My style is bohemian. I like to wear clothes which are loose, flowy and free-spirited. That’s my personality.
What fashion advice would you give our readers?
Be yourself; be comfortable — dress for the occasion, and the weather.
Which is your favourite timepiece?
“I got a watch when I was 16, one at 18 and another at 21. My mom would always ask me to choose between a pair of earrings and a watch, and I would always choose a watch. I’m such a traditionalist when it comes to watches; even if I have to wear something that counts my steps or something like that, I always have to have a watch too.” I like IWC’s Da Vinci model, in white gold, paved with diamonds.
What is your favourite food?
I used to be vegan, and now I’m predominantly vegetarian. If it’s ethically produced, then I do eat egg or dairy. I like to consume good quality, fresh and well-sourced food. At one point, I used to like all the new, experimental restaurants. However, honestly, I’ve eaten so many different cuisines in so many different countries that I’m now leaning towards organic, healthier and simpler food that’s seasonal. It tastes the best if it’s fresh and is excellent for the body as well.
Where is your food paradise?
Delhi and London. I think the food scene in London is exploding with fabulous restaurants. Another favourite is Singapore.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I love pizza, but it must be a good gourmet pizza. In my profession gluten is the devil, but I love bread. I’m very fond of Italian food and always on a lookout for places that make good pizza bread.
What is your fitness schedule like?
I follow a routine of cardiovascular exercises with weight training exercises for six days a week. I like mixing my workouts and do a combination of yoga and dancing as well.
Which are your favourite holiday destinations?
I love Bora Bora’s beaches, the mountain of Mont Blanc, the spas at Six Senses Resorts & Spas in Thailand and Queenstown, New Zealand.