We caught up with mother-daughter duo, Kalyani Saha Chawla & Tahira Tara Chawla; founder, Rezon Luxury Silverware and Director, Montage Arts & Account Executive, A. I. P. R, respectively. Read on to know their style mantras.
Define style: Kalyani: Inherent and distinctly yours. You either have it, or you don’t.
Tahira: A reflection of your personality. It takes a while to find your own personal style today because most people just follow trends.
On being HELLO!’s Most Stylish Mother-Daughter Duo: Kalyani: Tahira has developed a very cool style of her own, which I appreciate. It feels good to be clubbed with the cool one!
Tahira: I feel honoured, of course, even though mum will agree I dress like a junglee a majority of the time!
Being stylish VS being fashionable: Kalyani: Fashion is transient; style is inherent.
Tahira: Style is innate, while being fashionable is just following the trends of the time.
Personal sense of style: Kalyani: It’s pretty adventurous. As I get older, I’m more conscious of what is age appropriate and what is not, but I never want to lose the edge!
Tahira: My personal sense of style is quite versatile, but on most days, I try to find a balance between trying to look cool and trying to look chic.
Style motto: Kalyani: Always look your best. You need to respect yourself before impressing others!
My style icons: Kalyani: At the risk of sounding like a Miss India, my grandmothers shaped my style. One is distinctly Bengali and the other bought me my first bikini when I was 13 because she thought the Italian store manager was cute! They taught me elegance over everything else. No matter what you wear, be elegant. That’s my mantra.
Tahira: My mother is my style icon because I think my versatile style comes from her. She always looks so chic and can make any boring outfit look interesting.
Favourite designers or brands: Kalyani: I love Japanese brands. They always have an edge mixed with a classic touch, like Sacai, Setchu, Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto. I like a lot of European brands, too. I wear Indian designers on the basis of occasions, mainly Anamika Khanna, Gaurav Gupta, Rose Room Couture, Rohit Bal, Varun Bahl and Cue. And I find Lovebirds the best for travel!
Tahira: I love Y/Project, Supriya Lele, Dilara Findikoglu, 16Arlington and Loewe at the moment and, of course, Anamika Khanna. I’m forever in awe of her work.
Inherited sense of style: Kalyani: My dadi was a huge reason for my sense of style. Even though she wore a saree all her life, she got me fashion magazines from all over, and our in-house tailor would make us garments from magazine cutouts! She shopped a lot for me during her travels. Her Tangail sarees and jewelled hairpins are my precious possessions. Then there’s my mother... She exported children’s garments and stitched our clothes since we were babies. There was French knot embroidery and cross stitch on our frocks. We wore them with Mary Jane shoes and French lace socks. These women helped me develop my distinct sense of style.
The most luxurious item in my closet: Kalyani: My first luxury buy was a black, velvet Lady Dior bag with gold charms, bought on my first trip to Paris. I’m a huge Galliano fan and, of course, Lady Diana. I saved up for a year to buy that bag way back then!
Tahira: It would probably be one of my mum’s vintage saddle bags that I stole!
A recent style indulgence: Kalyani: AK-OK pieces. I live in them! They’re stylish for any occasion and so well priced.
Tahira: A vintage Versace leather jacket I bought from a store in Paris last week.
Three style mistakes women make: Kalyani: Wearing makeup that doesn’t suit their skin tone. Wearing body-hugging clothes; it requires a certain panache, not shape. And not investing in good underwear!
Tahira: I’d say each individual’s style is personal, but I dislike the parachute pants trend.
Shop till I drop: Kalyani: I love to shop in India. You get everything here! There’s so much available and so much talent for both Indian and western clothing. And online for the rest!
Tahira: Fleamarkets and vintage furniture shops have the most unique pieces, in my opinion. Vintage stores in East London, Paris and Milan are where I’ve found so many of my wardrobe staples.
The most stylish restaurants: Kalyani: Tetsuya in Sydney. It has the best ambience, and every course was served by the best-looking waiters. The food, too, was top class!
Tahira: The Sessions Arts Club in London.
Three trends that are enduring: Kalyani: The saree, the little black dress and a classic white shirt.
Tahira: A white shirt with jeans and black boots.
Work is worship: Kalyani: With Rezon Luxury Silverware, I found a niche in the market for design-oriented basic interior items and of utility — from a caviar bowl and exquisite bar sets to thalis and stunning centrepieces. I also do a lot of gifting for weddings,which is a big market.
An heirloom piece I’d gift my daughter: Kalyani: My entire wardrobe! It’s years of curated pieces and is extremely precious!
I’m happiest wearing: Kalyani: A saree.
Current fashion obsession: Kalyani: Boxy blazers worn as dresses.
Items I overuse: Kalyani: My COS workwear.
Tahira: My black combat boots.
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!