Who: Sonam Kapoor
She’s a Household Name In: India
She’s On Our Radar Because: We love a girl who can rock a custom-made Dolce & Gabbana gown and a traditional saree. That’s just what Kapoor, daughter of Slumdog Millionaire star Anil Kapoor, did at Cannes, where she generated buzz as a L’Oreal brand ambassador for India alongside Freida Pinto and Aishwarya Rai. As a Bollywood diva, Kapoor can act, dance, and sing, but it’s her personal sense of style off-screen that has made her a fan favorite in her home country. She was named Best Dressed at Cosmopolitan India’s Fun Fearless awards in 2012, and wowed in a Viktor and Rolf nude bodysuit on the June 2013 cover of Vogue India, who voted her this year’s Most Stylish star.
Kapoor caught the eye of Jean Paul Gaultier, who sent her a fabulous bustle dress to wear at the Cannes premiere of The Artist in 2011 when no other international designers knew her face. Needless to say, the look made a splash and these days she’s invited to the front row at Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Elie Saab’s fashion shows. Last year at Cannes she wore a vintage-inspired red velvet Dolce & Gabbana dress (she says she “digs” vintage fashion) with jewels woven into her hair, and went dark and dramatic in Alexander McQueen at the closing ceremony.
What really makes Sonam shine, though, is classic Indian fashion. Kapoor told Vogue India that her first style inspiration was seeing the models backstage at one of her mother’s (a former fashion designer) shows. “I always walk two red carpets for Cannes and make it a point to wear an Indian outfit on at least one occasion,” she told Bollywood World. This year, that was her glittering white saree by Anamika Khanna—who is also the actress’ best friend—and a statement nosering that many stars probably wish they'd had their hands on for this year's Met Gala. Kapoor, who is a self-described bandage dress hater, went the opposite direction at the L’Oreal soiree in a black Shehla Khan dress called a lehenga — an Indian garment that, styled by the star, comes across as anything but staid and traditional. “I don’t think Indian clothes or makeup is subtle. I think Indian women like the whole idea of being made up. Indian girls love the drama,” she says. This drama was on full display at a private dinner by Roberto Cavalli during last year’s Paris Fashion Week, to which she wore an ornately patterned dress with an air of bohemian royalty. Apparently, we’re not the only ones taken with her Indian fashion sense: “I attended an outstanding Chanel show that was inspired by Mumbai and Jaipur. The clothes had such beautiful embroidery,” she told Film Fare.
Whether she’s in a beaded saree or a bell-shaped gown, Kapoor exudes a self-assured beauty, and that’s what her style is all about. As she puts it, “I’m constantly committing fashion faux pas, but I make it work because I’m confident about what I wear.”