Shop Talk: Srimoyi Bhattacharya
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!
It’s hard to meet Srimoyi Bhattacharya, fondly known as Sri, for the first time, and not take an instant liking to her. Not only is she a successful businesswoman, having built her rock-solid public relations firm, Peepul PR, all on her own, her personal sense of style is something to take note of as well.
Elegant, classy, minimalistic, with a touch of a Parisian flair, Sri has a signature personality when it comes to the clothes she dons and the jewellery she adorns — it speaks of her journey from Paris to Mumbai.
Today, Peepul is one of India’s leading fashion, beauty, & lifestyle PR firms, with brands like H&M, Raw Mango by Sanjay Garg, Manish Malhotra, Isharya, and Chandon in its kitty.
She chats with Hauterfly about her favourite shopping haunts and her personal sartorial patterns.
How would you describe your personal style?
My style mantra is feminine – mostly everyday chic with a Parisian flair. I’m a fan of dresses with detailing, in flattering silhouettes. I love wearing new talent, anywhere from Kolkata to Colombo, and am usually partial to florals or motifs.
Tell us about your earliest memory of fashion and shopping. Who was your style inspiration growing up?
I grew up in Paris, in an environment that moulded my dream to work in the fashion industry. My godmother, France Grand, who worked with many designers and fashion institutes across the world, would take me to runway shows back then in the ’90s. My first unforgettable garment was an Alaïa dress, a gift from her.
I still vividly recall my first experience at a Martin Margiela showcase that took place in a rundown depot. It was also the dawn of Japanese design in France. I was fascinated by this new aesthetic during my internship in the press service of legendary designer Yohji Yamamoto; it sealed my love for this industry.
What was the first-ever luxury item you ever bought?
My first luxury purchase (from my first working year!) was a Gucci Bamboo bag that I bought at Place de La Madeleine in Paris. I have always loved to dress up, even during my PR career in Paris.
It was a corporate environment — I would wear suits from Tara Jarmon or high street labels, paired with Indian jewels. I found the soft tinkling of my bangles a happy distraction during meetings. My personal style is all about mixing it up.
Thrifting and vintage shopping – is this something you do a lot of?
To be honest, I am yet to appreciate the value of thrift shopping – my only vintage bag is a Chanel classic handbag. I have an affinity for novelty over vintage buys.
Do you like shopping to be a social thing with friends, or is it something you prefer to do on your own?
I love taking friends to shop, but then I get too distracted to shop for myself! I usually prefer shopping on my own.
What about your favourite online shopping stores? How do you go about shopping online?
I occasionally shop at Net-a-Porter for brands that are unavailable in India, such as Aquazzura.
Model & actress Natalia Vodianova in a piece from the H&M Conscious Collection
Your favourite high street brands? Do you shop in-store or online?
My go-to high street is H&M for trend pieces or weekend casuals – I am lusting over their latest Conscous Exclusive Collection! I generally prefer shopping in-store for the experience, the fittings, and sometimes, for the personalised styling tips.
What are the items of clothing do prefer to invest in?
My wardrobe is full of shift dresses that take me from work to dinner – they are so easy to accessorise, are comfortable, and just versatile enough for a day-to-night look.
*Available at Nirav Modi stores
How about jewellery? How do you go about buying jewellery? Do you have any family heirlooms you hold dear?
I have a fetish for jewellery and I am attracted to pieces that combine traditional craft and contemporary design. I also prefer jewels that are light, yet make a statement. Delicate, yet distinct in design. There is a pearl sautoir from my mother that I hold dear, and wear with saris or dresses. And there is my cherished Nirav Modi ring, which was an anniversary gift from my husband, Sourabh.
If you look inside your closet, what are the items you have the most of?
I have too many dresses in all shapes and lengths. I need to learn to edit, even though I’m fairly unapologetic about my bursting wardrobe.
How often do you shop?
I manage to shop about every fortnight.
The thrill of the hunt – is that something you enjoy? Or are you the sort of person who knows exactly what you want?
I usually prefer no-clutter experiences and am fairly clear on what I am scouting for. I go to a store because I am looking for a specific designer or getting ready for a particular occasion. I usually buy bearing work in mind, so I can repeat my clothes in multiple settings.
Do you set a budget for shopping each month?
I do set a budget, but I am usually over budget every month. 😉
*Available at the Idli store
Do you have any default outfits/pieces of jewellery — pieces you keep going back to over and over again?
I am a huge supporter of homegrown designers who are doing fabulous work. I keep going back to Savio Jon, Kallol Dutta and Shift by Nimish Shah for their cuts and thought-through silhouettes.
Another classic favourite is Idli, a Franco-Indian label by Thierry Journo, who is based in Jaipur.
Are you a high heels or flats kinda woman?
I am a kitten heels kinda person — it’s always about comfort coupled with style.
What is the size of your closet? How do you store expensive items like couture saris, evening dresses, etc?
I have a dressing room that my husband and I share, with a majority of the space being occupied by my closet! I do have a collection of saris that I cherish but don’t wear often enough.
What about your jewellery? How do you maintain and take care of your highly-prized pieces?
I keep my precious jewels at home so that I can wear them for every occasion possible – they are kept in a box in my drawer, away from sunlight, to prevent oxidisation.
Do you get things tailored to fit or prefer to buy off the racks?
I am all about instant gratification, so off-the-rack it is!
How do you plan your daily outfits? Is there a method to the madness?
Since childhood (namely school), I’ve had the habit of planning my outfits and accessories the night before, simply because I am always late in the mornings!
What was your most recent purchase?
My recent discovery has been all things Sri Lankan; I just purchased some striking 2-finger rings with statement stones from Saskia Fernando’s jewellery line, Papillon Du Thé, and a colour-blocked teal and chocolate-hued kaftan from a young Colombo-based designer called Anuk.