As Vidya Balan’s Shakuntala Devi hits Amazon Prime tonight (midnight), we look back at the actor’s promotional looks, and how she went all #VocalForLocal…
A couple of weeks into this global pandemic, a lot many people began to realise that what we need to do now, more than ever, is to think and react upon the choices we have been making. Now is an opportunity to look back on the choices we have been making, as collective humanity, and reconsider what we define and categorise as needs and wants. Secondly, what’s also important, as consumers is to buy ethical and local. Every single business has been impacted by the Novel Coronavirus. While big brands like Gucci, Prada and so on, have the back support of their previous earnings, smaller brands (those that Vidya Balan chooses to support) don’t have that luxury. Of course a brand like Gucci will be affected, but it’s very unlikely that it will run out of business. Smaller brands might just. We hope they don’t but one never knows.
In times like these, we have Vidya Balan leading change. When has she not lead change, though? Singlehandedly, Balan gave rise to a genre of women lead films, and now we hope that her way of e-promoting Shakuntala Devi will make other actors and stylists opt for more Indian brands. It’s a long shot, but what are we without hope. So here we are, talking about Vidya Balan’s wardrobe from the promotions, which consists of sarees, kurta sets, maxi dresses and a lot more.
There’s nothing wrong in wearing a fancy brand, but the time is such that smaller brands need our voices and they need them now. Out of Balan’s choices, Jaipur and Mumbai based Punit Balana is one of the big designers she has worn while promoting her film, but it’s a sustainable, local brand, and hence qualifies for Balan’s #VocalForLocal campaign. And the same applies to Sanjay Garg’s Raw Mango.
When we asked Vidya Balan what made her make this choice of supporting home grown brands, she says, “The pandemic and the lockdown was a time of realization. I saw how many small businesses and brands were suffering losses. It was then I had the idea that I want to promote these lesser known names through my film promotions.
“Pranay [Jaitly] and Shounak [Amonkar] were well in tune with my vision, since they felt the same. Admist the chaos, the quest began to find these brands who were supporting the textile tradition of India and those who needed the promotion. The wardrobe has been a range of established designers whose support to sustainability has been strong, to small/medium businesses, upcoming designers and even directly from the artisans. I wanted to be quite casual in my dressing, since I wasn’t stepping out. They found me jumpsuits to maxi dresses and separates that spoke fashion but were most importantly comfortable.”
I saw how many small businesses and brands were suffering losses. It was then I had the idea that I want to promote these lesser known names through my film promotions — Vidya Balan
Balan’s stylists, of Who Wore What When, are known for promoting homegrown brands. Over the years that they have been in the industry, you always see them pushing the women they style to wear sustainable and local labels. On making the decision of sourcing only local labels for Balan (for Shakuntala Devi promotions), Pranay Jaitly says, “The past few months of us staying at home have made us realise the difference between want and need, while we have further understood sustainability and the craft our country has to offer. When we started working on the promotions of Shakuntala Devi with Vidya Balan we knew we wanted to support her in the initiative of #VocalForLocal.”
Shounak Amonkar adds, “Being supporters of homegrown brands gave us the opportunity to explore many such small businesses, weaver clusters and sustainable products while planning her promotional looks, from buying sarees at the grass-root level to reusing jewellery and blouses, we have put together a wardrobe which is sustainable in all ways.”
While it’s difficult to talk about each single outfit (that will also make this a VERY long article), we picked our favourite 10 looks to talk about, while listing the others. Having said that, we love each of the looks, but this is just something we have to do…
You know it – Punit Balana is a personal favourite designer. The Kahaani actor opted for an indigo blue kurta set from Punit Balan’s latest collection, The Royal Bagh. Made of woven silk chanderi, by natural methods of tie and dye and then dyed in organic indigo, this Punit Balana kurta set is as ethical and sustainable as clothes can be!
For her latest outing, Vidya Balan opted for a pale pink saree (her USP) from Raw Mango. The saree features hand painted leaves and flowers, that have been transferred to the organza silk saree using digital technology. Balan teams up the saree with a poplin cotton blouse and minimal jewellery from Shri Paraman Jewels. We love the subtlety of this look!
Brij Bari (at Shuffling Suitcases)
This Brij Bari saree (through Shuffling Suitcases) is one of our favourite saree looks on Vidya Balan this season. It seems like a very easy-breezy summer look, while being classy and elegant. The white and black saree just goes a notch higher with the striped blouse and the red tassels. If this isn’t a look you dig, we don’t know what you’d dig! This is a perfect 10!
arte-alter (at Shuffling Suitcases)
A Kolkata based brand goes a long way, at least for us. But after seeing this look on Vidya Balan, we’re sure it’ll go a long way for you too. The dress on Balan is “handcrafted in natural dyed indigo khadi, hand woven by khadi weaving clusters in Murshidabad, West Bengal and is paired with a hand spun hand woven khadi cotton jamdani jacket,” writes Balan in her Instagram caption. The deep blue and the subtle beige look so soothing to the eye!
Blue does seem to be a dominant colour in Vidya Balan’s wardrobe, and especially in this Label: Anushree kurta set. Print-on-print is not the easiest thing to pull off, but the Paa actor does it so well! The ensemble is an A-line kurta and straight-leg pants, crafted using silk. This kurta set has it all – block printing, hand painting and tie and dye. Because there is so much going on here, we love how the accessorising and makeup is limited.
Woven in Bengal and block-printed in Gujarat, this linen saree from Anavila is a complete winner. Last year, when Balan walked the ramp for the designer at Lakme Fashion Week, she spoke about the label and said, “For starters, I’d just like to say, I don’t just support her, I love her, her work as well. I think I got exposed to Anavila and her work, some 3-4 years ago, and I was just so fascinated because I love cotton, I love linen, and here was someone who was actually using natural textiles, making it looks so cool, so inspirational, because we have gotten used to wearing a lot of machines made fabrics, which never excited me.” This pink saree just reflects how much Balan loves the designer, believes in their craft.
After seeing this look, we’re very convinced that brown is, indeed, Vidya Balan’s colour. In this simple, classy and elegant kurta set from DOT, Vidya Balan proves that simplicity is key, and an aubergine coloured kurta which has been hand woven and hand embroidered is the solution to all your problems.
One of Vidya Balan’s most stand-out looks has to be this digitally printed saree set by Ayush Kejriwal. That it is red makes it even more perfect than it already is. “Ayush has carefully manufactured the mulberry silk to be a low waste process and mindful in the re-cultivation of the hardy tree,” Balan said in her caption. Chunky gold earrings and a cord and pearls bracelet by jewellery designer Radhika Agrawal were Vidya Balan’s go to accessories for this look.
Vidya Balan calls hand block-printing “beautiful in their imperfections”, and this wrap-maxi dress from Rivaaj is what we’d call the same! While we don’t see any imperfections, we do see the beauty of it. Floral motifs all over a cream coloured base with a green and golden border running all around the dress, this outfit is one of the most versatile outfits in Balan’s wardrobe. If you don’t want to wear it as a dress, put on a churidar and get a dupatta, and there you have an Anarkali kurta set! The choice is yours.
For one of her looks, Vidya Balan opted for this flowy cotton dress from ta’assur. The dress has block print all over and is done by artisans of Sanganeri lanes. Brown pumps, centre parting, flows hair were Vidya Balan’s choices of accessories and this is a look we would love to recreate. The dress is available for Rs 3900, and can be bought via Instagram or WhatsApp. Mamta Mehta, founder, shared with a leading website, “The block prints are made by experienced artisans of our hinterland and stitched by local craftsmen thus generating employment and livelihood. ta’assur believes that block printed motifs nurture your beauty and make you look more glamorous along with the ethnicity of the age-old technique. Fabrics are all hand block printed, done by artisans of Sanganeri lanes in Jaipur.”
Also starring Sanya Malhotra, Amit Sadh and Jisshu Sengupta in pivotal roles, Vidya Balan’s Shakuntala Devi, directed by Anu Menon releases at midnight today.
Image source: All images have been provided to us by Who Wore What When
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