By Suchita S.

Kalki Koechlin does yoga. Kalki also likes dark chocolate. This piece of random information is brought to you courtesy a very inquisitive gentleman who interviewed her before I did. Frankly, I don’t get star-struck and had it been just another press conference {I’m not particularly fond of being called “Press” either… that’s not what we do. But technicality aside..}, I would’ve expressed my, ahem, regret in the RSVP. When I was told that the incredibly talented Kalki Koechlin was going to be present at the unveiling of Grey Goose’s ‘Style Du Jour’, I had more than enough of a reason to attend. She’s known for her avant-garde roles in Dev D, Shanghai, Shaitan, so on and so forth. Typical to stereotypes enforced by tabloids, she’s also known as Anurag Kashyap’s wife. But categorizations aside, to me Kalki doesn’t seem like a rebellious, trailblazer in the choice of characters she portrays and the kind of films she’s a part of. She seems like someone who’s very ‘take it or leave it’ in her approach to films and otherwise. She knows her strengths, is confident in her choices, and isn’t afraid of doing what she wants. Her style is an extension of that; there’s personality, there’s mood; it’s exciting and then it’s boring. It’s sometimes eccentric and sometimes ethereal. Simply put, it’s real. And I found it apt that she was chosen as the face of an event that celebrates contemporary fashion.

At the conference, while most were dropping the usual ‘we’re looking forward to doing something different‘ {such an overused word, this ‘different’}, Kalki put style in perspective. For starters, she was dressed in a demure Fendi dress with a beautiful cut-out detail adorning the back and breathtaking drop earrings. She said ‘Fashion is different from style. Your style is a reflection of you, your likes and dislikes, who you are as an individual.. and it’s how you chose to define yourself.’ This sentence of hers reminded me of something Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel have said in the past. I was keen on knowing where her innate sense of style comes from and a few things in her Little Black Book, of course.

LBBD | I love what you said about style and how it’s a reflection of yourself. So where does your style come from?

KK | I think it’s my mixture, my background and where I grew up. I think everybody’s influenced by where they’ve grown up. Mine’s sort of mixed up- I went to a British boarding school in Ooty in South India, but I grew up in Pondicherry which had a very French influence. Then I lived in Bangalore for a while, and I had the theater influence. You know.. all the fabindia clothes… So I’ve got the whole mix, from bohemian to the more French-chic style. I’ve picked up styles from all over the world so I know that has really influenced me and maybe that’s why people find it hard to categorize me.

LBBD | Speaking of French-style. There’s usually an element of vintage associated with all things French. Is their any one such vintage piece in your closet that you’d like to tell {LBBD} about?

I have a jacket which is my mother’s, and I stole it from her because it’s so lovely and it has these 80’s shoulder pads and it’s velvet in this black, mauve and purple color. It’s very 80’s and was one of the first designer pieces she got made when she was in India and she had very little money that time. So it was a very big indulgence and she kept it very carefully. For me its still a very precious piece because it can’t be remade or bought and has a story behind it. I’ve seen her wear it in pictures and stuff when she was young and now I’m wearing it and people tell me I look like my mom, so it’s very personal.

LBBD | And one piece that you’d pass on to your kids…

KK | {after some thought} It’ll probably be my wedding lehenga¬†{designed by Laila Motwane} because you know I’ve worn it now and it’s just going to sit in my closet. So I want somebody to wear it you know.. I don’t want it to just lie there!

{Kalki in her wedding lehenga by Lalita Motwane}

LBBD | I think a lot of people can relate with you because everything that you do comes across as a representation of who you are and what you stand for…

KK | I don’t really think to much about it and I’d like to keep it that way. Of course, there’s alot of pressure to fit in. But I really think the only way I’ve gotten this far is because of my originality, because I offered something different to the table. If I threw that away, I’d be pretty stupid.

LBBD | Style wise, which role has been your favourite?

KK | Style-wise, it’s tough to say. Dev D was an amazing one because we got to play around so much with my look. So that was one movie where I got a lot of freedom to do my own thing. I haven’t really done a really glamourous role, and that way Zindagi {Na Milegi Dobara} was fun.. I played that very perfect, prim and proper, Chanel-wearing girl….

{Styled by the brilliant Santu Mishra, here’s Kalki wearing a Fendi dress}

LBBD | You spoke about upcoming Indian designers needing that push and support. Who are your favourite Indian designers?

I really like Gaurav Gupta… I love Nimish Shah, Preeti S. Kapoor, Sabyasachi doesn’t need a push but he’s one of my favourite designers. From Delhi, there’s also Nida Mahmood, who I really like.

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Five minutes, by the clock, is what I got to speak with her. Five minutes, by no means, are adequate to really remotely know a person. But in the spirit of Chanel, I’ll say one thing’s for sure “Those who create are rare; those who cannot are numerous.” Kalki’s creating a niche for herself, for sure. And stylishly so.