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Shop Talk: Malini Banerji, Fashion Director, Elle India

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Shopping is an art. While some love the process, it can be a real chore for others. For a lot of women it’s a social experience, and for some, it’s a very personal one. Regardless of how one shops, though, personal style can never be identical for two people. The way they shop, the way they style their purchases, how they decide what they need, how they store them… these are the kind of questions we often have when we think about some of the most fashionable people in the industry.

And that’s why we’ve launched the column SHOP TALK, where we identify industry influencers with a unique sense of style and ask them to spill the beans on how they think about their personal style, where they shop, what they splurge on, and their fashion weaknesses and confessions!

Heading one of India’s leading legacy magazines can’t be an easy task. But Malini Banerji, Fashion Director, Elle India, sure makes it look like a breeze. Having started out as a stylist with Cosmopolitan, Malini climbed the ranks to where she sits today, through sheer passion and hard work.

Not only is her work and career an inspiration to women across the country, but her easy-chic sense of style is too. She chats with Hauterfly about her personal fashion flair, the kind of shopper she is, and a few of her favourite haunts.


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Photo: Sachin Soni; Hair & Makeup: Deepti Jain


How would you describe your personal style?

Quirky and eclectic-vintage with a touch of subversion.

Tell us about your earliest memory of fashion and shopping. Who was your style inspiration growing up?

Lots of fashion magazine clippings everywhere and my mom — she taught me how NOT to blend in. The idea is always to be individualistic as opposed to trying to fit in.

How did your choice of work inform and influence your style in the early years?

I started out at a women’s magazine and had access to all the clothes and shoes, basically the best of everything. You learn to curate, to personalise, and to play with it.

Thrifting and vintage shopping — is this something you do a lot of?

I am not a person of excess. I am someone who will wear even my most precious thing every day –what’s the point of locking up things in a safe or waiting for a special moment? Yes, I do shop at flea markets and vintage stores, but not with an agenda; it’s usually spontaneous.

Do you like shopping to be a social thing with friends, or is it something you prefer to do on your own?

Well, shopping with like-minded friends can be fun, but so can exploring stores on your own.

What about your favourite online shopping stores? How do you go about shopping online?

I am not a huge fan of online shopping unless I am sure about the size. Usually it’s Net-A-Porter or Matchesfashion.

Your favourite high-street brands? Do you shop in-store or online?

COS and & Other Stories. I always shop from the store.

What are the items of clothing do prefer to invest in?

Shirts, shoes, and cool jewellery!

How about jewellery? How do you go about buying jewellery? Do you have any family heirlooms you hold dear?

I like statement pieces as well as minimal stuff that can be layered. My mother’s wedding jewellery is special, but can’t be worn regularly.

If you look inside your closet, what are the items you have the most of?

Lots of white for summers, lots of comfortable dresses from Eka, and lots of shoes.

How often do you shop?

I really don’t keep a tab…it’s very spontaneous.

The thrill of the hunt — is that something you enjoy? Or are you the sort of person who knows exactly what you want?

A little of both!

Do you set a budget for shopping each month?

I am not that planned with my shopping.

Do you have any default outfits/pieces of jewellery — pieces you keep going back to over and over again?

Yes, some beautiful earrings from The Line, bangles from En Inde, and a disco skirt from Shift by Nimish Shah.


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The Line Earrings

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En Inde Bangles

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Shift by Nimish Shah Disco Skirt (Rs 6,800)

Are you a high heels or flats kinda woman?


What is the size of your closet? How do you store expensive items like couture saris, evening dresses, etc?

I have 2 closets. Delicate, precious saris are usually stored in soft muslin cloth bags.

What about your jewellery? How do you maintain and take care of your highly-prized pieces?

Again, in stackable jewellery boxes that are lined with felt cloth.

Do you get things tailored to fit or prefer to buy off the racks?


How do you plan your daily outfits? Is there a method to the madness?

Purely based on my mood and how I am feeling that particular morning. And, of course, depending on the occasion.



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Chanel Mules

What was your most recent purchase?

A pair of Chanel mules.


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