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EXCLUSIVE: Preity Zinta didn’t want to wear anything over the top at Cannes, stylist Leepakshi Ellawadi spills beans

Stylists play a crucial role in the fashion world, especially for actors in the film industry. They carefully put together outfits that match celebrities, push their boundaries, experiment with trends and keep a keen eye for detail. There are several stylists in the fashion industry; One of the many names that shines is Leepakshi Ellawadi.

She is known for styling many greats like Shubhman Gill, Malaika Arora and Tamannaah Bhatia. Her most recent work is styling Preity Zinta for Cannes.

In an exclusive interview with Pinkvilla, Leepakshi talks about Preity Zinta’s styling for Cannes 2024 and more.

EXCERPT FROM THE INTERVIEW

PV: Styling for red carpet events is no small feat. Can you tell us all about BTS and everything that went into styling Preity Zinta for her Cannes red carpet?

LE: BTS is total chaos, no matter what personality we style, because you’re going counter-clockwise and bringing in samples from different parts of the world… it’s always difficult because you’re always maneuvering the samples with the team. We all work with a mood board and we also look at celebrities to see what sense of style they have, what they work with and what elements we can add and also what relevant trends we can work with, so BTS is definitely a chaos of fittings lead to delays, but in the end you have to do your best.


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PV. Did Preity Zinta have any specific advice/choice for her Cannes 2024 look?

LE: I think Preity’s brief to me was that India is in the spotlight in Cannes and she is going back after seventeen years. Preity has always been someone who has a certain sense of style that she has always carried, and she is not one to get carried away by trends and try too hard to follow one trend or the other. She is definitely open to newer choices. Her only request was that when she presented the award, she wanted to be an Indian designer and she really wanted to do something that she had not worn before. Let’s create a story behind what we wear, nothing over the top than walking in. an Indian sari like she always does.

PV. How do you ensure that the unique personalities and preferences of celebs are reflected in your styling?

LE: So, the way to ensure that a celebrity’s unique personal style and preferences are kept in mind is to understand their fashion likes and dislikes. You’re always drawn to what they always believe is the right choice in their head and what their body’s understanding is.

So if you have a good relationship and have worked with that celebrity before, it always helps to build that trust and what you need to understand is how they want to be seen on the red carpet. And if you have a good relationship with them, you can convince them for something that suits their style and also provides the right atmosphere for the event.

You should also stay up to date with the latest trends and what they can adjust about body fit, what their body shape looks like to enhance their appearance without overshadowing their individuality. I think these are a few things that with a little attention to detail can really ensure that an outfit doesn’t overshadow the personality of the artist.

PV. How would you describe Tamannaah and Malaika Arora’s personal style since you work closely with them

LE: I am absolutely in love with Malaika and her sense of style. The last 10 years that I’ve been searching I think she’s a really great person, she’s a fashionista for me and I guess I say she’s a nice person because it just kind of builds trust and makes it easier to be with her to work someone who is so fashionable. That’s why I think if you’re an easier person to work with, it helps you to create something new and you can give input to the artist and if he’s open to it, he can really try it too.

For Tamannaah I would say she is a dream to work with because she is so willing and is a stylist’s muse that she would try anything and even after 12 or 18 hours of shooting would give you as much enthusiasm as you are doing you fit in with her. I am really lucky to work with such people who trust my taste and with Tamannaah we try to experiment and even if sometimes the outfit doesn’t look great and we say let’s try it, let’s see, she is more than willing to bend over backwards and make things happen.

PV. Can you tell us about a particular look you created for one of the celebrities that you’re particularly proud of and what made it stand out?

LE: One look I am definitely proud of is one we did for Kareena in 2022 for Karan Johar’s bling party. I had put together a look by Paco Rabban for Kareena and the theme was bling… it was a sheer metallic dress that not many people wore at the time, but it was understated in a place where everyone looked like a shiny disco ball, because that was the theme.

We paired it with Gucci strappy 630cm heels, and she kept her makeup very simple with kohl in her eyes, which balanced the outfit. We put some kind of sheer bodysuit underneath and it was one of my favorite looks that I’ve done in the past because she looked so sexy and at the same time it wasn’t too loud which is my style and she shone under the light and Saif was in a white tuxedo and I really think they were in the spotlight as a couple that night.

PV. You have also styled current Cricket heartthrob Shubman Gill. How would you describe his personal style statement and his ability to pull off a look?

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LE: I think Shubman is a very cool guy who is doing very well in her career. He has eyeballs and he has the attention of brands, so right now he also has a lot of attention from the fashion world. So what I’ve noticed is that he’s extremely experimental and he’s still discovering his personal sense of style, but that’s how you start and open yourself up to different types of fashion. Right now his style is very hip because he follows a lot of Korean artists and singers from the West… I would say he is also quite fun and he likes to play with his fashion style… also his favorite brands are Amiri , off-white and Balenciaga. That’s his personal sense of style he leans towards.

When it comes to style and innovation, Leepakshi Ellawadi shines like a star in the game of creativity and perfection.

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