Saanchi Gilani is one of the fashion industry's most sought-after Fashion Stylist and Curator. Her take on fashion is casual, yet chic. Her wardrobe is a reflection of her appreciation for Indian craftsmanship and upcoming talent, coupled with high street and premium brands.
You majored in Anthropology and had little to do with fashion while studying, how did your love affair with fashion begin?
I get this a lot because anthropology and fashion have nothing to do with each other. I think my love affair with fashion began when I was a teen. I would flip through magazines because I couldn't read a magazine properly back then as I was so amused with the graphic and pictorial representation of fashion. I would cut out all the pictures to make the largest collage. I think that's where it began. I also applied to a fashion school, Fashion Institute Of Technology, and I got in. But my parents were very keen on me doing something more conventional. Not that anthropology was, but they thought at least let me get a degree in a typical Business College. And then decide whatever I choose to do. I grew to stay true to myself because I would come back from college every summer to do a fashion internship
Where all did you work in the fashion industry?
I started working as an assistant to many freelance stylists because I came back from college every summer and assisted them. I knew the way to get a job in fashion finally was to build my resume. I got lucky because there were different stylists doing celebrity styling, editorial styling and more; I got to put my hand everywhere and see what worked for me. By the time I graduated, my parents had agreed that I knew what I was doing and had found my passion. I was lucky enough to work with Tanya Ghavri, Sanjana Batra, Reliance and I also assisted in Housefull 4 as a fashion stylist.
What are a few things on your checklist for the styling process?
I try my best to get to know my clients at a surface level, their personality, what works for them, and figure out their preferences like whether they are more fond of accessories or textures. I also believe that it's essential to consider their body type, built, height and skin tone. Often, skin tone plays a significant role in the color scheme of the clothing as I feel like certain colors enhance or turn down the way you carry yourself.
Are there any hard fashion no’s on your list? Are there any trends you’re not fond of?
In fashion, there aren't any hard no's! What works today doesn't necessarily work tomorrow. It's not much about trends but more about your style; I feel like it keeps evolving. But right now, I think I'm a little particular about how I style textures because I believe there's a thin line between perfect and messy. I don't believe in over-accessorizing my clothes and trends that I don't love are animal prints, popcorn shirts and wearing leggings as pants.
How does one define their personal style?
I'm not that big on experimenting because I have found my personal style. But I do still try and push the envelope on days. I think you should constantly keep testing and see what's working for you. The number one thing is you have to be confident! For the longest time, I wouldn't say I liked sneakers; I felt like my ankles looked even skinnier with them. So, take your time and see what's working for you and then own that style. It doesn't have to be a trend because sometimes, even being out of style can be your style. I would say find your style, don't find the trend.
Do you have any tips to glam up work from home outfits?
I would categorize this in two ways. One is when you are not presenting, and you're just getting on video calls on and off through the day. For that, I would say accessorize a little, put on a nice pair of earrings, or wear a nice high neck top because I think it's essential to dress the part when you're working. If you are presenting, put on a blazer and even if you're not getting on a video call, put on your work clothes because it gives you confidence.
What is your take on how bridal couture shifted through the last year?
I think the one obvious thing was experimentation. I saw a bride recently wear a pantsuit for her wedding. I think there was more room for experiments and unconventional dressing and for it to be accepted. Due to the smaller crowds, people got the confidence to do unconventional things.
What does being a stylist entail? Do you have any piece of advice for professionals looking to grow in the fashion industry?
Being a stylist entails choosing the clothes, finding your style, being comfortable and confident. I think for budding stylists, I would suggest going all out and experimenting. Do bridal, editorial, personal and celebrity styling; give it you’re all! Once you figure out your calling, stick to it. It’s hard drawing the line between what your personal style as a stylist is and what the other client needs. The way I look at it is when somebody is hiring you as a stylist; they like your style. I hear them out and figure out what works for them. Entail your knowledge about fashion, which can always make the outcome better, because then two minds come together.
What is the difference between personal styling and shoot styling?
Celebrity styling incorporates more of a mood board, whereas personal styling is more of a human mood. There are many aspects in celebrity styling: sometimes, it's editorial styling, a red carpet look, or a personal style for an event. When it comes to editorial and red carpet looks, you have to figure out the needs of the brand/ celebrity. In personal styling, there’s more interaction with the person involved. They're two different things, in one you're working out what the person wants, and in the other, you're working out what the brand/celebrity needs.
Do you have any factors that you consider before you source clothing from a brand?
The one thing that has become important is accessibility. It would help if you had accessibility with the brands you're sourcing clothing from because sometimes we work under tight deadlines and you may want to change the outfit on short notice. Also, I consider the styles and the availability because there are times where you may like something, but it's not available.
What was the turning point for you in your career?
I had two turning points. One was when I worked with Tanya Ghavri, that helped me a lot. The second was when I worked as the stylist for the Reliance brand because it was completely different, but I learned so much.
Name four homegrown labels that you're in love with and shop regularly from.
Essgee, Eleven.O.One, Anokhi and Gur Organics.
What is one styling tip that works wonders for all body types?
I think loose clothes! It’s something that a healthy and a skinny person can pull off. Play it right; if you are thin, add a layer to it and if you are on the healthier side, put on a belt and accentuate your waistline.
Can you name three people that inspire you?
Professionally, my best friend Masoom, she's just all there with her female energy; Personally, Pernia because she's just a solid person and in fashion, Lydia Tomlinson.
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