Priyanka Chopra Jonas's Fashion Evolution, According to Longtime Stylist Ami Patel
One look at Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s Instagram feed is a testament to the fashion force that the actress is. There she is sitting front row at Paris Couture Week, taking risks at the Met Gala, making everyone (us, included) do a double take at Cannes Film Festival, and grabbing headlines with her wedding wardrobe. Considering that Chopra Jonas’ career straddles two continents, it’s only a given that the geniuses dressing her do, too. While many are familiar with her partnership with celebrity stylist Mimi Cuttrell, the movie star works closely with a personal stylist back home for her appearances in India: Ami Patel.
“I still remember the first time I met Priyanka — it was at L’Officiel India’s (where I was the fashion director at the time) Bollywood issue shoot at designer duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla’s home in Mumbai,” reveals Patel. It was August 2007. “The following year, Salvatore Ferragamo approached me to recommend an Indian celebrity for their ‘Shoes for a Star’ project and I knew it had to be Priyanka! She had a busy calendar so we waited until February 2009 to shoot with her in Florence.” This eventually went on to pave the way for the duo to start collaborating on the actress’ promotional wardrobe the following year.
“Priyanka’s vibe had always been sexy. So we did a lot of draped dresses, sheer saris and strapless jumpsuits in the beginning. A gold lamé Gaurav Gupta sari was the first look I styled her in,” she says, adding that Chopra Jonas’s love for the silhouette is well-documented in InStyle’s July issue too. For Patel, it turned out to be an exciting time to work with the actress who, already a box office sensation in India, was charting her way to Hollywood stardom. A white strapless Gauri & Nainika gown for the Grammy Awards in 2012 with vintage waves was one of the first international red carpet looks the stylist curated for her. Another gown by the same Indian label — a monochrome one-shoulder gown with a red band on a bare back — for Toronto International Film Festival 2014 remains one of Patel’s favorites to date.
As Chopra Jonas continued to up the ante professionally, Patel helped reflect that bravado in the actress’ style sensibility. “Priyanka’s personality and her fashion choices have always been in sync. At her core, she’s a risk taker. An original. As her career evolved, she became even more fashion-forward, increasingly gravitating towards bold looks. ‘Never seen before’ quickly became the norm.” Cases in point? Patel throws it back to a Toni Matičevski neon orange asymmetrical gown and Elena Perseil hoodie dress, both not your average red carpet go-tos, which the actress wore in January 2015 for that very reason.
Ask Patel about Chopra Jonas’s closet front-runners, and she quips that the winners generally balance comfort with unconventionality. Pantsuits, coordinated separates and monotones are no-brainers. Put her in a well-tailored silhouette, and it’s the only 101 in power dressing you’ll ever need. “We did head-to-toe fuschia pink in sharp separates by Sergio Hudson for a promotional event and a neon lemon yellow Safiyaa cold shoulder pantsuit for a celebrity talk show. Both looks were quintessentially PC: very cool-girl-meets-girl-boss.”
Ruffles, peplums, grays and anti-fit looks, on the other hand, are best avoided in her case. As far as accessories are concerned, statement pendants (particularly with her Indian wear), layer-friendly styles and diamonds truly are her best friends. Chopra Jonas is not so much about the brand as she is about the fit and finishing. “Her choices are not based on who it’s by; that always comes later. Priyanka prefers the look to have a thought behind it. For instance, I sourced a powder blue jacket with embroidered bees for a Bumble shoot, and she instantly said yes to it because of the connect.”
VIDEO: Priyanka Chopra Jonas On Making It In The U.S. and Blending Two Cultures
According to Patel, Chopra Jonas’s penchant for throwing challenges her way is what keeps their long-standing partnership from getting boring. (“It’s usually something where she has to look amazing on a time crunch!”) The actress’ Internet-breaking mega wedding to Nick Jonas in Jodhpur, India definitely tops that list. Patel received the news over a routine WhatsApp conversation, with less than two months to put this bridal wardrobe together.
The brief for the main Indian ceremony was clear: matte, tone-and-tone embroidery, and red. The stylist worked closely with designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee to curate the look. “Priyanka loves personalized touches, so Nick’s name was embroidered on the belt in Devanagari script. Her kaleeras [ornaments tied to the bride’s bangles] too were customized, featuring motifs meaningful to the couple,” reveals Patel. “Priyanka did not want to be a typical bride. She wanted to set a new standard, show girls that you can do it your way.” That just about sums up our powerhouse cover girl’s M.O. — be it at the altar, on the red carpet, or in life.