EXCLUSIVE: Celeb stylist Akshay Tyagi on the Harry Styles approach to styling, decoding Bollywood stars’ style
In a tete-a-tete, celeb stylist and costume designer Akshay Tyagi discusses the challenges in men’s styling, what it takes to put forth the best version of oneself and a lot about fashion & style.
Celebrity stylist and costume designer Akshay Tyagi is a graduate from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Canada who carved a niche for himself in Bollywood as an A-class stylist, working with top-notch actors giving them the true essence of style in their authentic form. He kicked off his career in Bollywood after moving back to India in 2011. Tyagi worked with the expert fashion stylist and costume designer, Anaita Shroff Adajania as an assistant in Krrish 3, Bang Bang, Finding Fanny and later branched out independently working with South star Mahesh Babu, Varun Dhawan, Sidharth Malhotra and so on and there was no looking back since then. In an exclusive tete a tete, Akshayi Tyagi defines the style statements of the B-Town stars, shares some interesting styling tips and much more.
1.How do you redefine masculinity in fashion?
Fashion trends go up and down and there is also a cultural aspect and context to blend with one’s personality to look into in this case. Be it Hrithik Roshan pulling off a red tuxedo, Varun Dhawan wearing a tone on tone, pink or floral outfits, or having Sidharth Malhotra pair a floral print shirt with his off-coloured suit, it's about convincing your client to carry off certain styles that may seem edgy or redefining. Also, it requires to see which personality tends to be more colourful and playful and which personality tends to be classic and driven.
2.Who are your favourite celebrities to work with?
I have quite a fortune to work with a lot of amazing people. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Siddhant Chaturvedi and would like to revisit that. And working with Varun is always amazing. In actresses, I would say Tara Sutaria. It was pretty interesting to translate her hot girl image to a very simple character in Marjaavaan. Most recently, I worked for Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui with Vaani Kapoor, which was a progressive and daring project to take on and I hope will be well received.
3.How challenging is men’s styling compared to women’s, considering the limited fashion options?
I think it has changed extensively. Men also have a lot of accessories and a lot more playful silhouettes, thanks to the changing fashion atmosphere. There is no denying that options are limited comparatively but there are actors ready to pull off gender blurring styles. We can always try to add up soft elements like ruffles, like the kind of approach Harry Styles has taken or adding pearls and things that are borrowed from the women's fashion world that end up working well with male physique and personality.
4.How do you define the style statements of the following stars you have worked with?
Sidharth Malhotra- He is a person of military and athleisure style combined very well.
Varun Dhawan- I feel he is very athletic and loves ‘80s driven, vintage fashion.
Siddhant Chaturvedi- He is very cool, neo-modern and someone who prefers younger silhouettes.
Armaan Malik- He is someone who has managed to go from a boyish image to young and cool fashion territory.
My signature is tone on tone styling which I tend to speckle in all the characters I work with.
5.How do you describe your personal style?
I would like to call it comfy chic. I am often on the set or travelling, jetting between places, sourcing and hence I prefer travel-friendly, easy-going styles. Comfortable clothing like soft fabrics, denim, cosy footwear as I’m always on my feet and my main hero of the OOTD is a cool pair of sunglasses, which often gets stolen and I keep buying more.
6.What according to you are the must-have fashion essentials in every man’s wardrobe?
For sure sunglasses, a good watch, a great pair of sneakers, a black suit and a great shirt that you can put on just like that with denim or trousers, a good belt, a good utilitarian bag and also a nice evening-friendly crossbody bag.
7.Which is your favourite style that is underrated?
I would say being natural is the most underrated style. Being mindful of alterations and fit, no matter what it is - jeans, trousers or suit, a perfect fit is always a classic style that I always wish to see on-trend.
8.What do you think of sustainable fashion and what are your favourite go-to sustainable brands?
Sustainability is essential at this point and has always been. It’s really important to support sustainable brands that speak to your true core. Harago is a new menswear brand that I think is really cool, SMR Days and Pero are a few of the many brands that I think are super-amazing. Moreover, the idea of repeating clothes should be more encouraged and pushed forth for an ultimate sustainable approach towards fashion.
9.How do you bring out the best version of one through styling?
Individuality is the newest trend that everyone is embracing. Whatever your body type is, you should be dressing your best to that. As stylists, we are supposed to see that, highlight and bring forth the best version of one. With men, there is this whole ideal body type, six-packs and biceps and I think it's about owning the look with their individual sense of style rather than just flaunting their oiled body.
10.Tell us something about your upcoming projects?
I’m midway through a Mahesh Babu film which is really exciting, as, for the first time, we have crafted up a new and different look for him. I recently finished a few projects, including Satyameva Jayate 2 and am really looking forward to it. When it comes to cinema, our job is to transport people into a different place and work for it without any judgments. Moreover, my wonderful team and my guide Anita and my colleagues like Lakshmi Lehr, Saman Ratnasi and Sukriti Grover, who all are doing great with their job inspire me to work, pushing me to give my best.
ALSO READ: Olivia Wilde and ex Jason Sudeikis granted protection from alleged stalker who referred to Harry Styles
Gayathri PR is a Fashion Communication graduate from NIFT who likes to express her ardent love for all things beauty and... Read more