Style is her game

Deck up

Sabina Halder

Do you know what Badlapur, Finding Fanny and Sacred Games have in common? It’s not an actor or director, but the young and talented stylist Sabina Halder. Though bitten by the fashion bug early in life, and being influenced by her fashion designer brother, she continued to complete her studies and work in the corporate sector. But, when she realised that styling was her true calling, she decided to take a plunge into the world of fashion and is a name to be reckoned with in the glamour industry today.

Fashion foray

“I studied and interned in the US. That’s when I happened to meet Anaita Shroff Adajania, who liked my work. Her husband Homi was making Finding Fanny at that time and I came on board,” she recalls. Since then, there has been no looking back for Sabina as she has worked with the who’s who of the film industry like Chitrangada Singh, Arjun Rampal and Karthik Aaryan. Be it for movies, red carpets or the now popular airport looks, many actors swear by Sabina’s talent. “For movies, I work as a costume designer but for other events like red carpet appearances, I work as a stylist,” she reveals.

With the latest project in her kitty being the highly-talked about Sacred Games, she has been the go-to person for renowned actors from the Netflix series like Saif Ali Khan, Radhika Apte and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, too.

“A film is a director’s vision. The script is given to us and my work is to seamlessly project how a particular character is going to look on the screen. I have been pretty fortunate to do some good movies with strong characters, which have a lot of layering,” she says. “Styling for such movies is not always about fashion but how real can the character get. So, we go to actual places to see how things are. There are times when people tell me that the clothes didn’t catch their attention and I tell them I am glad,” she laughs. “If I end up doing something that is visually distracting for a powerful movie, it means I haven’t done a good enough job.”

 For Finding Fanny, a movie based completely in Goa, Sabina spent a lot of time in the coastal paradise. “The locals there have a great taste in fashion. On Sundays, they dress up very nicely to go to church and pay attention even to the smallest of details. Many of them even stitch their own clothes,” she is all praises. While during the shoot of Badlapur in a small locality in Pune, Sabina was ecstatic to see the people of the area wearing the same clothes as the characters.

 But the world of celebrity styling isn’t as rosy as it seems. “There have been times when I’ve had to take outfits to the tailors for last minute changes. I’ve ended up tired and exhausted. As a stylist, you have to be driven and up for challenges all the time. You can’t make excuses or let people down last minute. You have to work whether it’s a weekend or not and ensure that you are sensitive towards everyone, be it actors or filmmakers.”

Comfort is king

 Her inspirations range from Anaita and Aki Narula to brother-sister duo Niharika Khan and Arjun Bhasin. Some of the celebrities that she would love to style are Aamir Khan and Imtiaz Ali. “Of course, I’d love to work in Imtiaz’s movies, too!” she gushes. Sabina’s fashion tip for all is to never compromise on comfort. “When you go to a place like London, you see 10 people wearing the same outfit in 10 different ways, but with us, it’s not the same because Indians are highly inspired people. We just need to keep our comfort in mind, whether we are a rock star or a CEO,” she says.

Having worked with many corporates over the years, Sabina says everyone loves to look good these days. So it’s not just celebrities who opt for a stylist. “If you are the head of your work, wouldn’t you rather be the face of it, too? So take professional help and get your visual game up. Think of it as an investment.”

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