A ‘past forward’ to fashion

Last Updated: Sep 29, 2010, 13:48 PM IST

Kakoli Sengupta

Akshay is next the Sunil Dutt and Aishwarya mirrors Dimple Kapadia. Bollywood is once again under the retro arrest with broad belts, polka dots, long collars and bellbottoms. With retro repeating itself at the Box Office, (the memories of ‘Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai’ still fresh and ‘Action Replayy’ is all set to hit the big screen) the trend is finding its new connoisseurs day by day. In fact, some even claim that retro never goes out of fashion!

It was ‘past forward’ to the golden era of 60s and 70s, when the ace designers Vandy Mehra, Ala Madhu and Kanchan Kapoor decided to style the effervescent beauties as evergreen divas. The golden age of glitz, glamour and style was recreated as Mehar Bhasin looked as ravishing Zeenat Aman, Amarpeet Wahi as angelic Vyjayanthimala, Kimi Tej as sensuous Parveen Babi, Menakshi Dutt as seductive Helen and Nikhita Tandon as bubbly Neetu Singh.

Sporting a typical Neetu Singh style shift mini-dress and two ponytails, Nikhita recalls,” When I was a kid I used to watch a lot of Neetu Singh-Rishi Kapoor films. I loved her cute, vivacious, bubbly look. She was always hep but never bold”

Styling the typical look of the yesteryear actors and also keeping the wearibility quotient in mind definitely did not come handy for designer Vandy Mehra as she reveals, “The whole collection had a specific mood and yet were minimalistic.“ Bringing retro back to fashion was an uphill task as the designer elaborates, “Every garment had to be character specific. I also had to choose every character very carefully. For example I knew Mehar had the right body language to carry the Zeenat look, Amarpreet had the attitude like Vyjayanthimala and Bubble had a lot of style like Babita.”

A head gear for Kimi (Parveen Babi), ponytails for Nikhita (Neetu Singh) and a typical hair band for Kanchan (Sharmila) made the collection all the more reminiscent of the past. But past soon comes forward and present recedes backward in the world of fashion as it comes to a full circle. However, with retro it’s different, believes model Mehar Bhasin.

“Retro never goes out of fashion. It is always reinvents itself with stilettos, platforms, big belts sometimes toned down or improvised upon,” says Mehar, who had to spend hours at the gym to get a slender frame like Zeenat. The obsession with retro never seems to fade in the world of fashion and so does in Bollywood, both going hand in hand, often influencing each other in myriad ways.

In 70’s they did so and so does it now. Akshay sporting a long mane and Aishwarya a polka dotted top in their forthcoming ‘Action Replayy’ mirrors the same. A few weeks back, ‘Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai’ had a similar effect and so did ‘Om Shanti Om’ in the past. The retro grip which the fashion and Bollywood is under is hard to loosen.