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'My mom taught me fashion'

The author peeps into Sonam Kapoor's coveted closet and finds out the designs that the style diva swears by

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She gets customised pumps from Salvatore Ferragamo, a rare honour for an Indian actor, joining the famed legacy of style icons like Marilyn Monroe, and Madonna. And nobody gets it as accurate and so often as does on the red carpet, whether it is the seasoned or greenhorn Vidya Balan.

"I never feel any pressure to be on the top of my game, maybe that's the reason why I am always on mark. I always try to be myself and have fun with my look. So, no I have never been pressurised to be fabulous always; I try and be just me, never someone else, or try too hard to impress," says Kapoor. Her favourite designers include Shehla Khan and Kolkata-based Anamika Khanna.

While most actors hire stylists to tell them what looks good on them and what doesn't, Kapoor has the eye of a marksman - she reads about fashion, travels, and if you ask her the eras that have influenced her style she will tell you in a flash, "The era I like the most is the 1950s and 1920s; Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby look with flapper dresses, very Carey Mulligan," she says. She also loves the corseted dress with "those flouncy things", which she believes suit Indian body types. "I love coiffed hair, stockings, I love feeling like a woman. I also admire greats like Katharine Hepburn, who in the 1930s was the first woman to wear trousers and make them so fashionable. Then in the '60s there was Audrey Hepburn, with her pearls, pleated skirts and high-waisted trousers; it was an era of fabulous clothes and path-breaking looks which went down in history, always to be remembered," she smiles.

Interestingly, Kapoor owes her sense of aesthetics to her mother, Sunita, a former model and fashion designer, who is now a jewellery designer. "My mom has amazing taste; she loves Indian art, embroidery, garments and fabrics. It is because of her that I appreciate traditional weaves and prints, warp and weft, but western knowledge and inputs are all self-acquired. Of course, the germ of it is all my mother, and because of her I know the difference between tussar, zari, French chiffons, phulkari, vegetable block printings, jamevar, which a lot of girls my age will probably not care or know about," she says. "I think I understood Western fashion through vintage movies (I love Gregory Peck) that I used to watch as a kid, whether it was Roman Holiday or Breakfast at Tiffany's. So I merged western and Indian values to create my own style," she adds.

Few know that the Kapoor house is filled with the choicest art and artifacts, owing to Sunita's interest in colours and all things beautiful. "My mom picks up the best art that you can see scattered all over the house. I too am an art lover like my sister, Rhea, who is also one of the most stylish women I have ever met. Fashion is art, and I love art," she beams.

Kapoor calls herself a family-oriented person, and if her mom has taught her how to choose her clothes wisely, her father, actor Anil Kapoor, has taught her "to be satisfied and happy, irrespective of the pitfalls destiny has in store for you. He always used to tell me, 'as long as your conscience doesn't prick you, you will always be young!' I think that's the secret of his eternal youth," she concludes.

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