Bollywood is slowly and unmissably becoming a powerhouse of fashion, and a large part of the credit goes to the hard-working, talented and on-trend stylists, who work round the clock curating the best of the trends for their celeb clients.
Ayesha Merchant from Mumbai is one such celebrity stylist, who has dressed and given makeovers to many Bollywood actresses. She’s had her fair share of glitz and glamour but always manages to stand out with her distinct style. She’s also launching a fashion line that promises to be everything Trendy and Edgy (watch this space for more!)
Our contributor Asu (who also happens to be her assistant stylist – and a partner in their latest venture) walks us through a typical day in the life of a celeb stylist – from conceptualizing to sourcing.
Hi Aesha, tell us about yourself and the journey that’s led you here
I’ve been styling for 10 years in India and 3 years before that in New Zealand. I was a visual merchandiser for 4 years in an Australian clothing company, and happened to sell everything I dressed in the windows. That’s when a stylist asked me to assist her with a few shoots, so I came to India for a year and work took off from there; got to work for big campaigns like Lakme, Dove and some more, so decided to stay on!
So tell us about today’s shoot!
I’m working with a Bollywood actress to help re-invent her image. I plan on giving her a new fresh look which will combine international style with traditional elegance.
What are the brands you have in mind for the shoot?
The usual favorites like H&M and Zara for the international trendy look, and Dolly J for the Indian touch. These brands are simple yet elegant which is the theme we’re going for.
Sourcing Day 1
How do you usually prep before a shoot?
The most important thing is to create a mood board. This sets the tone for the shoot. I then approach designers, coordinate with the celebrity’s manager for their input. Always remember to give yourself at least 5 days before the courier from designers reaches you.
You seem so zen, are there any concerns you have about this shoot?
Unfortunately, our schedules up to the day of shooting don’t coincide so we won’t be able to do a trial for the looks (with the Bollywood actress). She’s a great sport though, and we work very well together, so I’m feeling confident it will be a success!
You seem to be going from strength to strength! What advice would you give someone trying to step into this world?
Work hard and center yourself. It’s a long but fulfilling road to success. I would also encourage all the newbies to take up any jobs they get initially to gain exposure and experience. As they say, any exposure is good exposure (haha!)
Share some of your favorites with us
Fav Fashion Person at the moment: Nikhil Mehra from designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil
Your Go-To Look for this Party Season: I believe in keeping things simple with a bright lip and great statement accessories
Your Fashion Must–Haves: Coordinated glitter knitwear sets
What’s next for Ayesha: Taking Image Consultancy to the next level
Check out Aesha’s video from our Mumbai launch party – as she shares her favorites with the fam!
For all the aspiring fashion stylists, hope you found this article useful. Do share your Questions/Feedback in the comment section below!