In case you’ve been looking for lessons on effortless dressing, look no further than the CEO of Culinary Culture Raaj Sanghvi. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about his discreet style, and one that’s hard to admire. Here, we decode the fashion rules that the young Sanghvi abides by, the men whose style he admires, and the valuable lesson his father taught him.
HELLO! Loves: Sporting his signature beard and shades, Raaj has mastered the art of embracing an effortless and casual swag like few others. Think of who else can rock up in a tee and denims, and still look like he’s just stepped off a runway in Milan...we’ll wait.
HELLO!: When did your interest in dressing well begin?
Raaj Sanghvi: “My father [Vir Sanghvi] has an obsessive passion for bespoke suits. I remember when I was in school, he would often fly to London to get his suits tailored on Savile Row. The whole process would take months of fittings and travel, but it was worth it for him in the end. He taught me the difference between ‘made to measure’ and ‘bespoke’ at a young age, and it sparked my interest in dressing well.
Later, it was perhaps my time at the University in Montreal and working in New York that opened up a new world of style for me. Just walking around The French Quarter in old Montreal or the Fashion District in Manhattan, or visiting small boutiques in SoHo was an education, and I believe it helped me develop my own style.”
H!: What’s your signature look?
RS: “I value a classic understated look and my go-to is usually a crisp white shirt and perfect fitting indigo jeans, both of which I get custom-made to my size by the Bombay Shirt Company [his wife Mallika’s family business]. My shoes alternate between comfy sneakers and beige or tan Loro Piana loafers. I never leave home without a watch and sunglasses.”
H!: What are some pearls of fashion wisdom you received that you’ve never forgotten?
RS: “Less is more. My father taught me the importance of investing in timeless pieces that can last a lifetime.”
H!: An heirloom that’s been passed on to you that you’ll forever cherish?
RS: “A vintage watch that my grandfather wore. It came with a handwritten note from my mother on my 18th birthday, asking me to look after it well. For many years, I was so intimidated that I never actually wore it. Now, I often wear it, but I am still careful with it. I will forever cherish it and hope to pass it on to the next generation.”
H!: Brands that a man simply cannot go wrong with.
RS: “For suits, I am old-fashioned and trust the craftsmanship of Italian tailoring from brands like Canali and Armani. My Indian formals are made by Raghavendra Rathore or Anita Dongre for their superior quality and service standards. For accessories like ties and pocket squares, you can never go wrong with Hermès. I’m quite fussy about tees; I own around 25 black T-shirts from Banana Republic that fit me perfectly.
I love the elegance of Berluti’s leather Oxfords and the plushness of Loro Piana suede loafers. My two favourite classic scents are Grey Vetiver by Tom Ford and Eau de Hongrie by Fragonard (sadly, it’s only available in France). As for watches, nothing beats the versatility of a Rolex Submariner or the elegance of the classic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.”
H!: One thing you never leave home without?
RS: “A watch. A wristwatch adds a touch of elegance and personality to every outfit and is often the first thing I notice when I meet someone.”
H!: Men whom you admire for their style and why…
RS: “Tom Ford, whose personal style is effortless, confident and eternally captivating. Closer home, men like Ratan Tata, Nikhil Kamath and Sabyasachi Mukherjee stand out for seamlessly blending classic elegance with a contemporary sensibility.”
This is an excerpt from an interview from HELLO! India’s November 2023 issue. To read the full interview, check out the latest issue right here.