Art collector & founder of Mash & Shalini Passi Art Foundation, Shalini Passi talks to us about her style icons, wardrobe must-haves, and more…
Style to me is: An extension of my personality. I feel my style is essentially classic. I don’t believe in following trends. I have clothes in my closet that are years old, and I style them differently each time I wear them.
On being HELLO!’s Most Stylish Art Connoisseur: I’m immensely honoured. I’ve hosted eminent guests from various walks of life, like Roberto Cavalli, many dignitaries, politicians and royalty from across the globe, as well as great artists and architects like Thomas Heatherwick. It enables me to meet such incredible humans who have accomplished so much in their field.
Being stylish VS being fashionable: Being stylish is equivalent to having one’s own sense of identity. Style is timeless. On the other hand, being fashionable is equivalent to being trendy.
My personal style: It’s extremely eclectic! I like to mix and match a lot of textures, fabrics and genres. I enjoy pairing antique and costume jewellery with different kinds of handbags and contemporary belts. I like to add a twist to my outfits. Most of the jewellery I own holds some meaning to me.
Style motto: To me, style is an ability to express oneself through dressing. It’s an art in itself. What you wear is what you are!
My most recent style indulgence: I’ve always enjoyed wearing Alaïa belts. Last season, I collected them in various colours, which I have been pairing with my sarees. I think it’s quite indulging.
My style icons: There are several women whose style has inspired me. From Gayatri Devi and Audrey Hepburn to my mother, each had a unique sense of style that I adored. Whatever they wore became iconic.
Three enduring design trends: 1. Mixing contemporary art with classical furniture; 2. Textured walls; 3. Good landscaping integrated into the architecture of the house.
Favourite designers: Among international names, my favourites would be Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana. On top of my Indian list of favourites would be Manish Malhotra, Rohit Bal, Gaurav Gupta and Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna.
Shop till I drop: Paris and Milan are my favourites for clothes and accessories, but London and Berlin for some incredible art.
The most stylish restaurants: Arpège and Septime in Paris and Clove Club in London.
A stylish home: My home is an eclectic collection of art and design pieces from the world over. What makes it truly special is that it’s very personal to me. Each piece was collected with an intention, with some purpose. Each work fits the other like a jigsaw puzzle. And most importantly, it’s a reflection of me.
Three fashionable items women must own: 1. A beautiful, classic watch; 2. A structured, tan handbag; 3. A hat.
Wardrobe must-haves: Every woman should have a saree, a navy blue jacket and blue denims.
Inherited sense of style: Yes, I inherited a fragment of my style, especially my sarees, from my mother and grandmother. They wore a lot of traditional weaves and chiffon sarees, which I admired.
I’m happiest wearing: Colours like whites, powder blues and pinks. Dark colours are never my go-to.
Current fashion obsession: That would be animal prints, especially leopard prints.
Items I overuse: Definitely skincare products! Which, I guess, is a good thing.
An overrated trend: Sneakers with everything are extremely overrated, as well as over-styled celebrities.
My most prized possessions: My vintage Lanvin gowns and belts.
Three style elements that spruce up a party: 1. Stunning décor; 2. Flowers; 3. Stylishly done up lighting and chandeliers; they play a vital role in setting the tone of a party.
Work is worship: As the founder of the Shalini Passi Art Foundation, my responsibilities are directly tied to upholding the vision of the organisation. It’s rooted in supporting and encouraging experimental art practices that define the contemporary aesthetic of India’s visual culture, manifesting in all fields of art — modern art, craft, design, architecture, fashion and jewellery. This entails overseeing the conceptualisation of art projects and exhibitions, as well as promoting emerging practitioners and budding modern art galleries.
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s November 2022 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!