The Stars of Style [A-G]

Actors impacting Indian fashion and style

Film still of Aamir Khan in Ghajini (2008)Original Source: Allu Aravind, 'Tagore' B. Madhu & Madhu Mantena (Prodcuers)

AAMIR KHAN

1980s - Present

Aamir Khan works fastidiously not only when it comes to his acting but also in creating and styling his characters; characters that evoked a sense of relatability. A few of Aamir Khan’s looks such as his goatee in Dil Chahta Hai (2001) and his yellow, knotted shirt and neck scarf in Rangeela (1995) became a rage amongst his fan following. His well-built body and chiselled torso in Lagaan (2001) and Ghajini (2008) set an admirable precedent for actors and young men across the country.

Aamir Khan (1990s)Museum of Design Excellence

Character Actor

Aishwarya Rai in Devdas (2002)Original Source: Bharat Shah

AISHWARYA RAI BACHCHAN

1991 - Present

Regal Elegance

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has rightfully carved out a niche for herself as one of the most stylish and elegant actors in the national and international film industry. From her traditional, embellished lehengas, ornate saris, and heavy jewellery in the period film Jodha Akbar (2008) to her modern look comprising ripped skirts, shorts, skimpy cropped blouses and fitted bodysuits in Dhoom 2 (2006), Aishwarya Rai Bachchan set a standard of splendour that continues to be desired by many. 

Akshay Kumar (1990s)Museum of Design Excellence

AKSHAY KUMAR

1991 - Present

The Quirky Khiladi

Along with the diversification of his film oeuvre, Akshay Kumar has adopted more daring and quirky ensembles into his wardrobe. Since his entrance into Bollywood in the 1990s, Akshay Kumar’s style has evolved significantly from printed shirt and bright red pants in Hera Pheri (2000) to his trendsetting cowl neck shirt in Khiladi 786 (2012), both of which created a stir in the world of fashion.

Alia Bhatt (2019) by Sunhil SippyOriginal Source: Sunhil Sippy

ALIA BHATT

2012 - Present

Substantially Ours.

Beyond Alia Bhatt’s charming exterior lies a sense of assertiveness and vigour that recurrently astonishes her audiences. Through her relatively simpler costumes, such as the salwar kameez in Udta Punjab (2016) and Raazi (2018), kurtas, jeans, and headscarf in Gully Boy (2019), the stark white sari in Gangubai Kathiawadi (2022), to the effervescently elegant chiffon saree clad Rani in Rocky aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani (2023) Alia Bhatt brings a globally palatable style to Bollywood fashion. Her compelling, confident persona facilitates her seamless integration into the lives of her characters and the styles they adorn.

Film still of Amitabh Bachchan in Agneetpath (1990)Museum of Design Excellence

AMITABH BACHCHAN

1969 - Present

From the kurta-wearing, paan-chewing attire of the ‘Angry Young Man’, to the bell-bottom pants, dapper suits and leather jackets as ‘Bollywood’s Shahenshah’, Amitabh Bachchan is one of the few actors who successfully and effortlessly, appeals to many different worlds. Beyond his simple white kurtas in Anand (1971), denim on denim casual look in Sholay (1975), and his pristine white suit in Silsila (1981), it is Amitabh Bachchan’s individualistic style-not to forget his iconic hairstyle- that garners numerous imitators and admirers.

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Amitabh Bachchan, 2000s, From the collection of: Museum of Design Excellence
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Anil Kapoor (1980s)Museum of Design Excellence

ANIL KAPOOR

1977 - Present

The Quality of Flair

Anil Kapoor’s panache and penchant for experimentation has defined the actor for decades. From his iconic bucket-hat in Mr India (1987) to high-waisted trousers, denim on denim outfits - often paired with aviator sunglasses - and pristine suits touched with colourful pocket squares, Anil Kapoor continues to be a leading inspiration of Indian mens’ style.

Ayushmann Khuranna (2022)Museum of Design Excellence

AYUSHMANN KHURRANA

2004 - Present

Cracking the Code

Unafraid of taking on unconventional roles in films such as Andhadhun (2018), Badhaai Ho (2018), and Gulabo Sitabo (2020), Ayushmann Khurrana’s eccentric off-screen outfits too aim to challenge fashion conventions. Sequins, patterns, materials, textures, colours and quirky accessories are elements that often constitute Ayushmann Khuranna’s original ensembles.

Film still of Dev Anand (1954)Museum of Design Excellence

DEV ANAND

1946 - c.2000

Known for subverting gender norms through his fashion choices back in the 1950s and 1960s, Dev Anand garnered hoards of imitators with his unique flair and charm. His avatars often wore sweaters and jackets in shades of pink and red, with a scarf - previously noted as a ‘feminine garment’ - tied around their necks. Dev Anand’s looks hinted at an attempt to design a new identity that combined parts of the western British Raj and parts of newly-independent India.

Still of Dev Anand, 1946 - 2011, From the collection of: Museum of Design Excellence
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Deepika Padukone at Cannes Film Festival (2019)Museum of Design Excellence

DEEPIKA PADUKONE

2005 - Present

Deepika Padukone has established herself as a prominent force in the film and fashion industry through her modelling stint and iconic roles in blockbuster movies. Her retro outfits in Om Shanti Om (2007), her elaborate, traditional attire in Padmaavat (2018), and her modern, contemporary looks in Gehraiyaan (2022), showcases a versatility which few can embrace as gracefully.

Film still of Deepika Padukone in Bajirao Mastani, 2015, Original Source: Tiger Sharma & Kishore Lulla (Producers)
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Deepika Padukone in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, 2013, Original Source: Hiroo Yash Johar, Karan Johar & Apoorva Mehta (Producers)
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Film still of Devika Rani (1920s)Museum of Design Excellence

DEVIKA RANI

1928 – 1943

The First Lady of Indian Cinema, Devika Rani, set the standard of beauty and grace for not only early Hindi film heroines but also women in pre-independent India. In addition to her perfectly shaped eyebrows and western-inspired hairdos, the shimmery blouse she wore during the historic four-minute kissing scene in Karma (1933) and her printed, cotton saris attire in Acchut Kanya (1936) paved the path to a refreshing and new identity in Indian fashion.

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Dharmendra (1960s)Museum of Design Excellence

DHARMENDRA

1960 - Present

Garam Dharam

Dharmendra set the benchmark for on-screen muscular, rugged, handsomeness. Whether it was pristine suits, casual shirts, or, occasionally, sans shirts, Dharmendra’s robust masculinity allowed for sartorial experimentations that [successfully] combined both traditional and western wear.

Film still of Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia in Bobby (1973)Original Source: Raj Kapoor (Producer)

DIMPLE KAPADIA & RISHI KAPOOR

1973 - Present
1970 - 2020

Right from her debut film Bobby (1973), Dimple Kapadia became a fashion sensation with her bold, progressive looks. Her ensembles in the film primarily consisted of short skirts and midriff-bearing blouses, the most popular being the polka-dotted blouse paired with a navy blue pencil skirt which took the Indian sartorial world by storm.

Still of Dimple Kapadia, c.1980, From the collection of: Museum of Design Excellence
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From oversized sunglasses in Bobby (1973) to tracksuits in Karz (1980), Rishi Kapoor started several trends through the 1970s and 1980s. Through jackets, mufflers, and printed double-knit sweaters, Rishi Kapoor brought new looks to India’s winter wear wardrobe. He was also popularly known for introducing bell-bottom pants - initially considered a female garment - into the Indian sartorial treasury. These ‘hippie’ pants were subsequently adopted by numerous Indian men, and have also made their way into contemporary vogue.

Rishi Kapoor, 1970s, From the collection of: Museum of Design Excellence
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Govinda (1990s)Museum of Design Excellence

GOVINDA

1986 - Present

Ala Re!

Govinda has created a robust indigenous fashion genre that is unique to himself and his massive fan following. Leather jackets affixed with numerous zips and buckles, vibrant floral or animal print shirts, and retro shades are central fashion elements to Govinda’s characters. His unconventional clothing combinations and embellishments have made him a trendsetter right from the 1980s to today. 

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