Fashion and celebrity stylist Kushal Parmanand jokingly refers to himself as an “Indian fashion industry fossil!” And considering he’s got over 10 years of experience under his belt, we get why (well, kind of!). His foray into the industry was one most can only dream of — he kick started his career with revered couturiers Abu Jani & Sandeep Khosla after which he moved on to working with Nandita Mahtani. Styling came knocking his way in the form of a Fashion Directorship at Seventeen India, followed by stints at L’Officiel India, L’Officiel Homme, Hi!Blitz and most recently Noblesse India. His stellar repertoire also boasts of styling Bollywood beauties like Bipasha Basu, Sonakshi Sinha and Sonali Bendre among others. We engage the stylist du jour in an exclusive tete-a-tete!
Luxemi: How did you foray into fashion? Is it something you always wanted?
Kushal Parmanand: My foray into fashion was actually by default. I come from a family of two generations of engineers and they obviously wished for me to continue their legacy. After trying to pursue an education in computer science and management studies for two years, I finally landed at Fanshawe fashion school in June 2000 to pursue my true calling. I remember wanting to be in fashion, a designer in particular, since I was in 8th grade. Rohit Bal was my idol then.
Luxemi: You have worked with some of the country’s top stylistas — right from Sonam Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor to Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif. Who are your personal favorites?
Kushal Parmanand: I think I have the biggest crush on Bebo (Kareena Kapoor)! She is undoubtedly my favorite. She is extremely easy going and a breeze to work with. Most celebrities today know what works for them and are quite fashion focused. Having worked with many of them editorially over the years I feel that working collectively and keeping common interests in mind helps get the best out of a shoot!
Luxemi: Who are some of your favorite Indian and international designers?
Kushal Parmanand: Wow that is a very tough and long list! I love the work Riccardo Tisci does for Givenchy couture. This seasons in particular; I am loving key pieces from Balenciaga, Monique Lhuillier and Vionnet while Elie Saab, Dior, Valentino and Lanvin remain eternal favorites. On the Indian front I love different designers for their varied focuses. Anamika Khanna, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Gaurav Gupta are my favorite veterans. From the younger lot I am partial to Kallol Datta, Sailex and Nachiket Barve.
Actually I feel fashion is a bit fickle in that sense — every season you are bound to love that someone a little more purely because their showing tugged at your heart strings more than the others.
Luxemi: Autumn-Winter ’13 Indian wear trends that ought to be tried this season? Also tell us about the top colors one must have in their wardrobe?
Kushal Parmanand: Monochrome continues to be a huge trend this season. Punk and vintage inspired fashion is also big. Think of smaller ways to include them in your traditional wardrobe. Red is THE color to be swearing by — not only is it one of our most traditional colors, it also looks lovely on Indian skin. Make sure to experiment with interesting updos and accessories for a refined look.
Luxemi: Style icons who carry Indian wear beautifully?
Kushal Parmanand: I think Deepika (Padukone) looks great in Indian wear. She has an inherent grace about her, almost like royalty. Apart from her I think Kareena (Kapoor) looks her best when she is in a sari.
Luxemi: Your favorite picks from Luxemi.com?
Kushal Parmanand: Laila Motwane’s lehangas, the coral wrap kurta from Nikasha, saris by Neeru Kumar and jhumkis from Amrapali are my top picks. The wine salwar with shell embroidery, Foil Printed “Club” Pallu Saree by Satya Paul and Flowing Net Anarkali with Embroidery by Kisneel are also great options.
Luxemi: If one has only 10 minutes to put together an Indian look, what should be their go-to?
Kushal Parmanand: The chotu sari (one with a shorter hemline) is a great option.
Pre-pleated saris and sari gowns are easier to drape, making them ideal go-tos as well. If neither works for you, there is always the humble salwar kurta which has many interesting variations this season. I personally always steer towards a minimalistic look. Finish it off with a dash of a strong lip and a messy braid or updo — absolutely perfect when you’re on the run!
So take it from the man who knows best and make these quick tweaks to your desi closet. Trust us when we say that these simple additions will go a long way!
Praachi Raniwala for Luxemi