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“Style should be classy, elegant, and understated”

Shalini Chauhaan
That’s Riddima Kapoor Sahni in conversation with Shalini Chauhan.
We saw Riddima Kapoor as a star child, then as a model and finally as a fashion designer. Can we know more about the multifaceted woman behind all these roles?

I am a very simple girl, very normal, and an extremely blunt person. In fact, at times, I say things without really thinking that lands me into trouble. I believe in honesty and simplicity.

Born into Bollywood's first family (the legendary Kapoor family), one would have expected you to join the film industry. What made you turn a fashion designer and not an actor?
I was never inclined towards movies…always wanted to be part of the other side of the glamour world. Therefore, I chose fashion.

Can you share with us, some of your most precious childhood memories?

I remember going to my grandparents’ house in Chembur over the weekends and spending so much time with them.

Every Sunday, my brother and I used to go with our friends to Big Splash (then) and after that to the famous South Indian Udipi Gita Bhavan in Chembur with my grandfather (Raj Kapoor). I really miss him a lot.


Any specific turning point in your life that made you what you are today?

Everything happened very gradually and at the right time. I was sent to school and college in London. Then, my marriage happened I finally landed becoming a fashion designer.

How would you define your personal style?

Classy, elegant, and understated! Sometimes, I don’t mind a little bit of bling but it has to look elegant.

When did you launch your label? What is your prediction for fashion trends going forward this year?

My label ARA is two years old. Currently, I am supplying to a store called Kraze in Dubai. I do women’s wear, party clothing, and prêt. Predictions according to me would me long tunics worn with leggings. Very chic, smart, and stylish but also casual at the same time!
How would you define an "ARA" Woman?
An ARA woman is one who is stylish and not afraid to experiment with clothing. She is able to carry off everything (a simple ARA kurti) with a lot of poise and elegance.

Where and who do you draw your inspiration from?

I am my own inspiration.


In your opinion, who are the five best dressed and five worst dressed celebrities of India today?

Five best dressed - my mother (Neetu Kapoor), Haseena Jethmalani, Preity Zinta, my father (Rishi Kapoor), and Sonam Kapoor. I can’t think of anyone badly dressed.


What are your favorite Indian brands and which are your favorite international brands?

Indian – Tarun Tahiliani, Surily Goel, Manish Malhotra, Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla, Malini Ramani, and Gauri & Nanika. Amongst the international brands, I would say – Dolce and Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Sky, Chanel, and Evil.


What advice would you give to the young style-conscious woman of today?

Don’t try and ape anyone. Be yourself and wear what you are comfortable in.


What difference would you like to make to the fashion industry?

Our fashion industry needs NO changes. It’s perfect as it is. We have a lot of talent around us. Today, our designers are being recognized on an international level too.


How do you look at life? Is it a celebration or a conscious path with do's and don'ts?

Life is beautiful. It’s full of surprises. Live it to the fullest.


How do you look at relationships? Is it important to listen to your heart?

One needs to be practical. The feeling of Mills and Boons are there in the books only. We live in a real world. There is nothing wrong in following your heart but one must be practical and not blinded by love.


On a personal level, how did you meet your husband? How does it feel to be married into a “non-filmy” family?

I met my husband in London 11 yrs ago when I was studying there and he was visiting his friends. Today, I am the happiest married to him. He is very loving, caring, and a great human being. Filmy family or non-filmy – at the end of the day it’s about companionship and the partner you share your life with.

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