Designing is a freedom of expression ~ Eshaa Amiin
It is designer and a stylist who make the characters come alive in a film. Esha Amin who has given a stylish life to Akshay Kumar and Amy in the new film ‘Singh in Bling’ is here in a candid conversation with Pandolin. Catch her talk about her journey in the film industry, the various looks in the film and much more.
Singh is Bling is my first film and since it is Akshay Kumar and a huge project, it was a brilliant start. After graduating from NIFT as a fashion designer, I started working as a designer with a European Fashion House and moving from there, I traveled a lot and started working as a stylist too. Bollywood styling came in from there and eventually I ventured out independently and started off with celebrity styling. I have also styled for about eight International pageants for Miss India, out of which four of them have won the crown. Apart from that, I was the panelist for Miss India for about two years and also worked for an entire pageant, which included styling and grooming the girls for photo and video shoot.
And, very recently, around six months ago I started my label called Eshaa Amiin label. It is a high street prêt effortless European western wear.
How do you distinguish styling models, prêt and couture, commercial wear, and designing for films?
Each of them is very different, styling for models is more about getting the trends right, you need to be more bang on about fashion because models are generally very perfect when it comes to their body type you don’t really need to think much. Actresses on the other hand, they all differ in terms of body type. We also need to keep in mind certain things when we dress them up, like where are they going, who are they meeting. The image of the actress also needs to be kept in consideration along with the event she is going to attend. The other thing to consider is the requirement of the client or the shoot and their body type, so we dress them up accordingly. In case of a model, if it is an editorial or a fashion shoot, it is more about getting the trend bang on.
But if you are talking about beauty pageant and models, trust me, that is a different ball game altogether. Though the girls are perfect frame in terms of body type, beauty pageant is not about the trend it is more about making the contestant stand out and assuring that she grabs more attention than her competitors. There the idea is to make her look more appealing, which is a priority more than sticking to trends and fashion. Of course, trend is something we always keep in mind like a certain color of the season. We ensure that when we plan their pageant wardrobe, we do have that color coming in somewhere. Also, we have to consider the contestant’s skin tone, height, built and accordingly we give them clothes, which will compliment their body type. So, that way styling a model for an editorial and styling a model for a beauty pageant are two different things.
Designing is a freedom of expression, for me it is more about converting my ideas into realities. I am predominately a designer, so designing has been in me for a very long time, and designing is something that comes very naturally. I do both designing and styling, which was also applicable to the film. A lot of it was designed, a lot of it was custom made, so it was a mix because that was the best way to get what exactly we had in mind.
While working on the film did you plan on creating a trend or trade mark style that Akshay could start?
Yes, that was the idea. Akshay has played a sardar before, so for this film we had to try something new and different, yet keep it in his character and upbeat in terms of style. Akshay is brilliant to work with, in spite of being a super star he is extremely sweet and co-operative, I really look up to him and I have learnt a lot from him. And throughout the film Akshay Sir, Prabhu sir’s & Ashvini’s inputs at each stage have really helped me to think and do better and eventually it all turned out to be very satisfying. Be it his cool Indian rural wear or his effortless western causal, I think on Akshay it all worked fabulously. I feel very fortunate to have work with them.
Did you get inspired by the look in ‘Singh is King’ for Akshay’s character in ‘Singh is Bling’?
No, not at all, in fact, the idea was to do something different from what people have seen him earlier. First the turban is a mandate that we can’t change. In Singh is King he had a mix of Indian wear and western wear. Here the whole point was even if you do an Indian wear we tried to keep it a little edgy and different. We played a little with his cool and buoyancy character. We tried something new, even with the turbans we tried various styles of turbans, we did a lot of research on what kind of turban can be worn by him and what cannot. And of course, Akshay himself had a lot of knowledge on this topic, so we had various look like the typical pagari type of turban, we played with various prints and colors, we also played with interesting embellishments and accessories on the turban. All of that was very thoughtfully done, very authentically planned.
Did you take any references for styling?
Yes, a lot of research and references was done. We also talked to people from that community to help us understand the things that we can and cannot do before we experimented. You know, there is a saying, ‘Know the rules before you break it’ so, knowing what is allowed and what is not was important because whenever it is about history or culture you need to be very careful that you don’t hurt people’s sentiments.
How consistent is the styling through the film or are there multiple looks?
There has been a huge variation in a way Akshay’s character goes through the film. It starts from him being this cool effortless sardar in which he is wearing interesting rural clothes like patialas and harems, some really interesting Indian wear. From there the film moves on to Goa where the look changes and he enters a little bit into the western zone, but again with a touch of the rural styling, like he is wearing jackets with some jersey harem and low slouchy pants and again we have tried some interesting things, he has worn dungarees in the film. There are also patches that are in Romania, there is a nice dream song in which he is wearing tuxedo and then there is the whole song, ‘Singh and Kaur’, the climax song of the film where he is dynamic and is seen in dhotis and liquid gold. So, it is all interesting and edgy and the style is all cool, yet with a lot of minute details in terms of trend. There is a big variety in terms of style and different than what he has worn before.
What kind of colours and fabrics have you used in the film?
Colours in Punjab were very earthy and neutral moving into few dash of colour. In Goa it was slightly preppy and fun with more pop up color coming here and there and then in Romania his look was matured. So, he had jewel tones like emerald and wine colors coming in along with white and blue and these are more of suits and jackets or tuxedo.
So moving onto Amy how would define the look you adopted for her?
Amy is a very beautiful girl and is a great actress, but clothes do make a huge difference. She is also the glam factor in the movie, her clothes in the film were not too girly, they were cool, stylish, and very European considering that we had to make sure that she looks her part as she is playing a girl from Romania who is landed in Goa. She has a lot of stunts and action in the film, which shows that she is a tough girl and is playing a don’s daughter. It was more of high street very urban with a mix of femininity and sexiness. Bold, smart, and high street styling sums up her look.
We have seen her in a red monokini, a very Baywatch kind of an entry moving into an absolutely tom boyish look where she is wearing tartan check shirt and pants and doing action. Then we move into her scenes in Goa, in songs she has fun clothes, then there is ‘Mahi Aaja’ where her clothes are flowy, surreal and some sexy gowns and of course in the patiala her look is more Indian, yet again very young and very fresh, it is minimal and simple yet very stylish and aesthetically planned. So her colours are more fresh and her whole Romania part is really edgy. Then there is the ‘Singh and Kaur’ song where she has gone bling with some sexy Indian wear like a crop jacket with mirror work, she is also wearing a dhoti sari, a cool concept in terms of Indian wear. So we have shown her in various looks and style.