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Interview with Celebrity Stylist Devki Bhatt : Retro Kolkata Exclusive

I don’t believe in trends. I am a strong believer in what you are and what you should wear. Your personality should always shine through. Your style is a mere extension of your personality. I am someone who believes in comfort, so for me white tee and blue jeans will always win over any trend out there.

RK : First of all, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview. First, we’d love to ask how you got to working as a stylist.

DEVKI : I have always had an inclination towards fashion even while studying Pharmacy. I saved every Vogue issue since my first purchase and spent hours ogling the imagery created by some amazingly talented people. I started celebrity styling in 2014 when TaapseePannu was just entering Bollywood. We wanted to change the norm and create our own norms instead. We wanted to focus on local and emerging talents and make this process and symbiotic rather than self-serving. I also was working at a Rue La La for their studio shoots briefly for their digital portal content.

Devki Bhatt

RK : What was one of the most elaborate styling projects that have been working with?

DEVKI : Every promotion is an elaborate project for me. Taapsee loves to experiment which gives me room to explore new facets of styling. We usually choose a theme and create all our looks around it.

Tapsee Pannu © Devki Bhatt

RK : You have a very successful career as a celebrity stylist. You’ve accomplished really amazing things in that realm. Also you style a lot of people in the public eye, do you consider yourself to be a trendsetter?

DEVKI : I don’t believe in trends. I am a strong believer in what you are and what you should wear. Your personality should always shine through. Your style is a mere extension of your personality. I am someone who believes in comfort, so for me white tee and blue jeans will always win over any trend out there.

RK : Everyone loves a good deal, what are some of your favorite places to find budget buys?

DEVKI : Call me an online shopping junky and if there is such a thing as digital retail rehab sign me up for it! I usually am browsing NET-A-PORTER (they do some amazing digital content as well), REVOLVE, MODA OPERANDI and ANTHROPOLOGIE.

Tapsee Pannu © Devki Bhatt

RK : What is your favorite item in your closet?

DEVKI : My KARLA X HANES crop tops and MADEWELL jeans (they just fit me right). I probably own one in every color.

RK : If you could choose a celebrity closet to shop in, who's would it be and why?

DEVKI : If it were someone in India, Samantha Prabhu! I think she has an amazing taste and a great sense of style. And from what I see she owns some fabulous classics.

Tapsee Pannu © Devki Bhatt

RK : What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

DEVKI : When I got to work with Mrs. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for Cannes. Talk about a dream comes true!

RK : Can you take us through your thought process in creating an outfit “style”? Is it the colors, shape, texture? What runs through your head in this creative process?

DEVKI : First is the nature of the event, second is the clients own personal preferences. Based on these two bits of information I create a look. I usually choose on piece of clothing and create a look around it. It is always about how I can make this particular piece look different from how people are used to seeing it.

Tapsee Pannu © Devki Bhatt

RK : How do you think the fashion industry has evolved since you started?

DEVKI : It has evolved tremendously in size (it's getting crowded!). But apart from that is has also grown globally. I feel cultures are blending and boundaries are being blurred. We are reaching out to the west and vice versa.

RK : Let's say you could travel back in time to one fashion era, where would you end up? What did you like about that period?

DEVKI : 1950s. Women were starting to wear clothes that flirted with masculinity while also highlighting hyper-feminine elegance. Fashion was blending the lines between feminine and masculine. I mean it was an era of women like Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn!

Tapsee Pannu © Devki Bhatt

RK : Who is your favorite designer? Why?

DEVKI : I don’t have one favorite designer. I feel fashion grows every season, bringing new talent and outlooks with it.

RK : Many say social media is very important. Just how important is it in this industry and for you as a stylist?

DEVKI : I feel social media is only as important as you make it. For me it is a place to keep my memories and work documented. It also is a great place to see amazing work others are doing. It comes with its own set of negatives however it is up to us to keep its purpose relevant to our work and life.

Gauhar Khan © Devki Bhatt

RK : What advice do you have for emerging stylists who are looking to break into the fashion industry.

DEVKI : Keep working keep connecting with people who you can learn from. I think growth in this industry is equally proportional to the amount of time and effort you put into it. And if you have lack of self-motivation then this is definitely not a field for you.

Tapsee Pannu © Devki Bhatt

RK : We (Retro Kolkata) are trying to build one single stage for all the artists, because we believe that artists are the most beautiful creation of God and geographical boundary can never break their unity and harmony. Please say something about our initiative and any special message for your followers.

DEVKI : A community is important for an artist to grow and learn. The work we do is individualistic however almost impossible without the team that is required to put it into existence. It is vital to acknowledge the need of community and the spirit of teamwork when it comes to any industry of artists. Bridging the various creative fields is when innovation truly happens, meaning we need each other to grow and move forward.

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