Costume design of Cocktail

Anaita Shroff Adajania


“I aim to make my characters look believable” – Anaita Shroff Adajania

They are the most stylish people. Veronica, Gautam and Meera. Each on their own. The movie Cocktail is proven to be the heady mix of fashion and entertainment. Anaita Shroff Adajania, costume stylist for the movie and fashion director of Vogue, made Deepika Padukone, Saif Ali Khan and Diana Penty look real in the roles of Veronica, Gautam and Meera respectively, in the film.

Having styled for the number of films like Dhoom 2, Being Cyrus, Everybody Says I’m Fine and Love Aajkal in the past, Anaita Shroff Adajania delves into revealing minutiae of her recent movie project ‘Cocktail’.





How excited were you being offered to style in Cocktail?

I was very excited about the film for it was about the characters based in London, having different shades of themselves and situations they go through in their lives. And western styling is my forte which made me enjoy it thoroughly.

What Homi Adajania briefed you about the characters?

Veronica – She is born and brought up in London. The kind of upbringing she has got in life, her studies, has greatly affected the way she is. She is an attention-seeker and very comfortable with her own self. She is a globe-trotter and on the way picks up stuffs which she likes. As she belongs to a rich family, she can afford whatever she wants to own.

Meera – She is a very demure and shy kind of girl. She comes out as a good girl from Delhi. She likes to hide in the crowd. She doesn’t like to show her skin much. A much understated character, you may say.

Gautam – He is a cocky Delhi boy with a good upbringing and works in a good company. He likes to have fun and is light-hearted. He doesn’t mind wearing the same clothes again.

What looks and styles you tried to give to these characters?

Veronica’s styling is contemporized. Her styling is fusion of pieces picked up from local fashion streets and high-end fashion brands. For Veronica’s character, which is played by Deepika, I have used strong and bright colours, having shiny and sequined surfaces. Her dresses are accessorised with chunk jewelleries bought from fashion streets, which is again combined with a branded accessory such as a gold bracelet from Amrapali. She carries branded bags. Her character has more universal appeal. She also experiments with her hair and makeup. For example, at one scene she is sporting open bed-head look and at the other, she is in a braid, with an exaggerated bow.

Meera is styled in a very conventional yet modern way. She wears lightweight cardigans over full sleeve shirts with jeans or chinos, in a creative way with narrow belts and flat sandals. In the beginning, she wears Indian clothes like salwar kameez but when she shifts to London, she slowly adapts the culture and western clothes combinations. She has no intentions to create fashion statement, but ends up creating a cool and casual look. Her hairstyles include a simple braid or a sweet clip.

Gautam’s styling is non-fussy and very casual. He wears a jacket with his worn-in jeans, worn-in boots, and a skinny tie. Then after hours, he lives in his tees, shorts and simple shirt jacket. However, he also invests in very basics but branded things such as Burberry trench and a workbag, a Jacket and a JLC (Jaeger-LeCoultre) watch.

What kind of research you did for the film? Was it any challenging?

Research in terms of paper and flipping through books? No. I didn’t have to do much of book-based research. I observed real life people with whom I can identify the characters. I observed how people dress up in London, what bags do they carry, and then created a mood board and worked on it.

For example, I myself could connect with Veronica’s character. I had spent most of my time in London when I was young. I just had to do a little bit of role play in my head, that what I would choose if was 20 years younger and had a body like hers.

For Meera’s character, I knew a girl who lives in Delhi. I found she could identify with Meera’s character a lot. So, I went to Delhi and met her.

Meanwhile, Gautam’s character was easy and non-challenging.

Where did you shop or source the clothes from?

For Veronica’s character, the whole shopping was done in Bombay and London. Some dresses were sourced from the brands like Dior and Chanel. Some were custom-made. I used jewellery from Amrapali.

For Meera’s character, I shopped more of fabrics and then tailor made the Indian clothes, which she wore in the film. And her western outfits were picked up from London only.

While for Gautam, most of his suits were tailor made, and other clothes such as shorts and tees were bought from London market, whereas trenches and bag were sourced from Burberry.

And the Indian clothes were taken from designers Rabbani and Rakha, Falguni and Shane, and Nikasha.

How long did it take you to get done with the costumes?

It took me couple of months to complete the research and deciding the looks.

Did you also have to coordinate with DOP and Art directors for choosing the color palette?

No. I dint have to consult them for anything. The reason was the film being shot on all natural settings and locations.

How did you take care of costume continuity?

We had costume continuity supervisor, who kept track of the dresses, bags or looks used at the particular scene to avoid the goof-ups. Homi Adajania was very strict about it and did not want any blunders to happen in the film.

How comfortable were the actors to work with?

The actors were very willing as they did not interfere in my work. They did not put up their personal opinions about what they like or what they don’t. I felt so lucky, that I got to work with the actors who trust me well. This only makes the tasks easier.

What are the factors you keep in mind before styling any character in movies?

I ensure that ‘I know the person’ that can identify with the character I am going to style. Someone once asked me, ‘Oh! You worked with Saif and Deepika for the second time!’ I answered, ‘who are they?….I know them as Veronica and Gautam’. I, literally, can walk into the store and classify the characters in reality how would they dress up and carry themselves.

Bollywood greatly influence Indian fashion. Did you have this fact in mind while you style in the movies?

When I style the actors, I simply style the characters. I think of the things that suit the characters. If the film happens to make an impact among audience for its fashion then it’s completely a by-product. I feel happy for that. But I don’t feel a need to create the trends through films.

What do you enjoy most? Editorial shoots for the magazine or costume styling for movies?

Editorial shoots, of course. It’s my baby and completely a mind-game for me. As I get to visualize and forecasts the trends, by presenting the images that people can look up to. And it’s shorter time period also. Space for creativity is very high in Editorial shoots. While in movies, one works only on the characters and their costumes are done according to their traits and personalities. Though, scope for creativity is still high here, going by the aspect of making the characters look real and believable.