Sunday, December 18, 2011

Did you notice AR Rahman’s tuxedos?

When AR Rahman took to stage with actor Ranbir Kapoor in the Rockstar concert in Mumbai last month, he wowed the audiences. The Mozart of Madras belted out chartbusters, but not in a fuddy-duddy kurta or a worn out shirt, but in smart, modern attire, with stoles and jackets that lent a contemporariness to his look.
Rahman was known as a man of simple sartorial tastes so far, but after Slumdog Millionaire, which propelled him on to the international league, the music maestro’s style has been going through a slow but steady change. From concerts to magazine shoots (who now celebrate him for his style and not just music) and award functions, Rahman is clad in well-thought out designer creations.
Rahul Khanna, of the designer duo Rohit Gandhi-Rahul Khanna, feels that Rahman’s style is best described as ‘non-fussy’. “Rahman wore our creations for a recent shoot for a men’s magazine. He even wore one of these suits for an awards ceremony. So yes, there has been a considerable change in his style; I think these things come with the territory of international fame,” explains Khanna.
Rahman’s personal stylist, Vijayeta Kumar says that with his increasing international appearances, his wardrobe is getting revamped. “Most functions he attends are black tie events and a dress code has to be followed. We opt for a classic tux with a black or white shirt, but we play around with the colour of the tie. The last time at the Academy Awards (2009), he wore a metallic silver tie, and this time (2011), it was a bright teal one,” she says.
Another designer to have dressed him up is Varun Bahl. He designed a white quilted bandhgala, that Rahman wore at the opening ceremony of 2010 Commonwealth Games, where he performed Jiyo Utho Bado Jeeto, the official anthem for the Games. Rahman even wore a Varun Bahl sherwani at this year’s Academy Awards performance. “I think that the formal Indian attire, be it a bandhgala or sherwani, suits him the best. But I have also designed other outfits such as a blue linen jacket, a maroon kurta and navy blue velvet jacket for him,” says Bahl.
Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee too has been a favourite with Rahman and his wife, Saira Bano. At the 2009 Oscars ceremony, Rahman walked the red carpet in a black Lanvin tuxedo teamed with a silver Satya Paul tie, before changing into a traditional black sherwani designed by Sabyasachi for his performance.
Kumar explains that the concert attire demands that he experiments with colour and accessories. “Concerts have this larger than life look and showmanship. You can’t be understated if you’re performing in front of a crowd. Having said that, Rahman is no fashion fanatic. If it looks good, fits well and is comfortable to wear, he will wear it. The only thing he truly experiments with is his haircut,” she notes, adding that each time there is an event or a concert, she brainstorms with his wife Saira to come up with a look for him.
Khanna too credits Saira. “She’s the one who takes the final call after seeing what works best on him, so it’s her keen eye that is responsible for the change,” he points out.

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