Trust celebrity stylist Leepakshi Ellawadi to string together stylish outfits wherever she goes. From dressing stars like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Akshay Kumar, and Vicky Kaushal to slaying it on social media with stellar images, the costume designer makes a mark every step of the way. In a conversation with Travel+Leisure India & South Asia, the luxury consultant reveals her favourite city to shop from, most fashionable city, and more. By Ralan Kithan
Excerpts from the interview with Leepakshi Ellawadi:
T+L India: As a costume designer do you draw inspiration from your travels?
Leepakshi Ellawadi: Yes! I think there’s so much to see in the world and there’s so much to be inspired by. When you go to a new place, you realise why certain costumes or certain clothing came into that region and transformed. There’s a lot to learn from the rest of the world. Travel plays a very key role in my career and my life.
T+L India: Which is the world’s most fashionable city and why?
Leepakshi Ellawadi: Milan. [The] people [there] are very nonchalant about their fashion style. I think style comes to them very naturally—from the way they wear a simple white shirt and jeans to the right pair of shoes, everything seems very tailor-made. They pay attention to the details of what they’re wearing.
Men [of Milan] try a lot of fashion as well, which is very exciting to see! You don’t have to go to a club or to a bar to see nicely-dressed people. You see fashion everywhere, even out on the streets. There’s so much to be inspired by in Italy; I draw a lot of inspiration from Italian fashion. I interned under a designer in Florence, a menswear suit-maker, for over a year because I was very fascinated by Italian menswear.
T+L India: Which city do liking shopping in?
Leepakshi Ellawadi: Convenience-wise, I think London is the best city to shop. It gives you enough variety of designers from all over the world. It has the right mix—from couture to ready-to-wear. It’s a city where fashion hits very quickly. If it’s for a client, then London is the most convenient place to shop from. Otherwise, if you leave it to me to shop for very eclectic, cool brands, then it’s definitely Paris and Milan.
T+L India: You were in Milan recently. What did you like most about the city?
Leepakshi Ellawadi: I’ve been going to Milan for the last 15 years and I think I love every corner of the city. It’s full of great food and great fashion. Italy is one of my favorite countries and I’m very influenced by their fashion, culture, architecture, art, food…everything!
T+L India: Which is your favorite restaurant and cuisine?
Leepakshi Ellawadi: Italian cuisine is one of my favourites. Mediterranean is my second favorite. I have a couple of favourite restaurants in Italy and in the Middle East.
T+L India: What kind of a traveller are you? Laidback or an active explorer?
Leepakshi Ellawadi: I am both. When I know where I’m travelling, I am laid back. And if it’s a new destination that I’m exploring, I become an overactive explorer. I make a list of things and places to go to. I research, buy a travel magazine. I travel light. I try to make my travels more exciting by booking places at last-minute. [By doing so] you might stumble upon a place that you really like. I’ve done a lot of travel all by myself and it’s been exciting!
T+L India: Your happiest travel memory?
Leepakshi Ellawadi: Travel makes me extremely happy and I’ve been fortunate enough that I get to travel a lot. My work also involves a lot of travel. I ensure I take enough breaks in a year to travel and explore the list of places that I want to visit.
T+L India: What’s on your travel bucket list?
Leepakshi Ellawadi: I want to go to South America and explore the entire region. Amazon is also on my list.