Vandana Luthra, founder-mentor of VLCC, a Delhi-based beauty treatments and weight management company, is quite the poster lady for her line of business. Perfectly turned out in traditional Indian wear and Western suits, she likes to assert her sense of style through her choice of jewellery and accessories.
"Churidars, especially in pastel colours," she says, "are my favourite, and I like cuts that emphasise the fabric, especially handloom weaves and classy silks." Madhu Jain, the Delhi-based designer and textile revivalist, is a huge favourite of Luthra’s for saris, especially to wear to office (Rs 6,000-Rs 10,000), while it is Sabyasachi Mukherjee for the dressy occasions. "I love his cotton saris especially, and their contrasting blouse, which have an excellent fit," says Luthra, adding that they remind her of Meena Kumari, her favourite actress. "I love the Kolkata designers — Sabyasachi, Anamika Khanna, and others. They have a great sense of style." As for her Westernwear and business suits, she picks a lot from Nakul Sen.
Luthra is very particular about her accessories. "I wear a lot of costume jewellery, long and chunky earrings, bracelets and rings." She gets them from Amouage, a store at South Extension, Delhi (everything under Rs 10,000). "All my polki diamond jewellery, however, comes from my jeweller in Kolkata."
While all her leather overcoats, skirts and jackets, are picked up from the Jitrois store in London, for shoes and bags, Luthra’s favourite is Bottega Veneta (Rs 150,000-200,000), not just because "they use the finest, softest leather", but also because the Italian leather brand also has a line of bracelets to go with its clutches and bags. "I love to match at least one item of jewellery with my purse."
Luthra also has a few Judith Lieber clutches (around Rs 125,000), which she likes to carry with her Western wear. Regular bags to lug around in the day Luthra picks up from Santushti (under Rs 2,000).
"I am not into splurging lakhs on a bag. I look for brands, but value for money is important. I have bags that are 20 years old. They last because I like to keep them well."
Jimmy Choo, Roberto Cavalli and Botega Veneta are her choices when it comes to footwear. "I have big feet, a size 41, and I am very particular about my shoes. Right now, I am wearing a delicate Chanel strappy sandal, covered with net. I don’t like covered shoes. They should be stylish and ladylike," she adds, besides, of course, "matching the dress".
Moving to perfumes, Luthra says she is partial to French perfumes made for Arabic women, brands like Amouage and Whistle "because Indian women are very similar to Arabic women". Black Orchid by Tom Ford is a favourite, and so are Marc Jacobs’s latest launch Lola, Gucci’s Envy and Estee Lauder’s Cinnabar. "I love to mingle three-four perfumes."
The one thing that Luthra says she’s definitely not into are gadgets. "I need help even with the TV. In the business we are in, where personal touch is so important, I think this entire culture of marking mails to everyone, even office colleagues, is pointless and reduces efficiency." Even so, Luthra uses a Blackberry, the latest Bold model and an iPod Touch for her music.