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Feature: Mumbai star-stylist Shaina Nath


Super stylist Shaina Nath with client, actress Madhuri Dixit-Nene

Super stylist Shaina Nath with client, actress Madhuri Dixit-Nene


This stylist reignites the fashion world of Bollywood and beyond. 


By: Hina P. Ansari


With her feet firmly planted in the world of international cinema and global stage productions, fashion stylist/entrepreneur, Shaina Nath is the first to admit her foray into the fashion world was clearly by accident. But it all makes sense. Through the years, she honed her artistic skills by being an assistant director with some of the biggest names of Indian cinema today. She honed her marketing skills by handling promotional responsibilities in the film post-production world and of course mastered the visual world while working with the late noted Indian painter M.F. Hussain on his own film directorial debut Gaja Gamini (2000) as well as the accompanying coffee table book The Genesis of Gaja Gamini.



In a world where multi-tasking is the mantra, this Mumbai-born and raised style connoisseur tapped into her fashion sense when she was responsible for designing costumes for second and third lead actors in the various films she worked on. Her sense for the aesthetics did not go unnoticed and went on full display when she became the personal stylist for a Bollywood icon looking to make a comeback. Madhuri Dixit-Nene was her subject. And that has catapulted Shaina into expanding her styling expertise to the bridal world, being the go-to expert for brides and grooms who are looking for someone who can finesse their fashion for their big day.


We sat down and chatted with this multi-faceted image-maker about the world of Bollywood, style tips and how to she keeps herself real in the glitz and glamour of Mumbai’s fashion scene.



What made you decide to get into this particular niche industry in the fashion business?


I have always been passionate about clothing and more specifically, style. It is part of the first impression one makes. I didn’t plan or make a conscious decision in a styling career. It just happened. I think it’s destiny.



Who inspired you when you were just starting out? Who are you inspired by today? If inspirations have changed explain why so.


My mom & my dad. They have and will always be my truest inspiration. Through them I have learned that hard work and dedication never goes unnoticed.


Madhuri in Anju Modi and jewellery by Aquamarine

Madhuri in Anju Modi and jewellery by Aquamarine


What are the most important fashion tips/messages that you want your clients to adhere to?


It’s very simple. For me, my client’s comfort is top priority, and I work around that. That is the one tip I give everyone: Decide on wearing what you are comfortable in, and leave the rest to me.



With the advent of social media and the crossovers that has been happening in the worlds of fashion, music and the entertainment industry as a whole, the world of the stylist has become increasingly competitive. What makes you stand out from the pack?


We all have our individual tastes so whatever criticism comes my way, I take it very positively and strive to do better. I am very thankful to the Almighty and to the people who have been very appreciative, encouraging me to the point of making a Fan Page on Facebook for me. I hope to continue growing as a better stylist and as a better person. I’m not here to compete.



Celebrities are often seen as sources of fashion and style inspiration. And the savvy fashionista understands that professionals behind the scenes usually package their style. You being that stylist professional what advice would you give in terms of creating the clients look.


It all depends on the projects I am working on and the restrictions I can work within. As a stylist, I think it is important to remind myself that my role is there to bring out the most striking features of my clients. Even more through choice of outfits and accessories, which also incorporate colors, tones, patterns, cuts whilst remaining within the theme and shoot’s restrictions. Seeing the transformation of my client, looking confident and happy means a lot to me.


Madhuri as celebrity judge on TV's "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa" (india's version of Dancing With The Stars) wearing Gaurav Gupta with jewellery by Bina Goenka

Madhuri as celebrity judge on TV's "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa" (India's version of Dancing With The Stars) wearing Gaurav Gupta with jewellery by Bina Goenka


I recall that the whole stylist concept is relatively new in Mumbai. The product of the overall marketing and business of the celebrity. How has it changed for you as an observer as well as someone who works in the industry?


I don’t take fashion seriously. I do follow trends but at the same time I am not burdened by it. I think we are in a time when everyone understands the importance of packaging one’s self well, and that one’s appearance can have direct impact on the level of success you achieve in life. The concept is still very new in Mumbai and in India as a whole, but it’s catching up really fast with women and men from all fields and it’s not just restricted to actors and actresses.



You started your business by styling for leading Bollywood icon Madhuri Dixit-Nene. What drove you to be her fashion stylist?


With all due respect to Madhuri, she was known to be a bad dresser. Someone with no idea or sense of fashion and style. I wanted to change that and with determination and perseverance I think I’ve accomplished it.



What challenges if any would you encounter when styling someone so high profile as Madhuri?


Madhuri’s personality is graceful and very Indian. I think from a lot of viewpoints, a lot has to be considered. Her comfort level is extremely important for me. The challenge was finding a balance, and that’s what I think works best, so as not to look overdone.


Now you are expanding your services to bride and grooms and the bridal market. Why that particular market?


Yes, I’ve ventured into bridal styling as well. I feel that there are a lot of brides and grooms out there that need a stylist to help them for all the special occasions.  They are bound down by so many opinions from their friends, relatives etc., telling them what to do, what to wear, offering advice on what designers to go for etc., so by the time the bride and groom are ready to actually make those decisions, their own individuality is lost and it instead of being a happy occasion it turns into an errand that they want to get over with. I want to help them retain that excitement and bring out the best.


Madhuri in Anju Modi couture

Madhuri in Anju Modi couture



Tell me about your services.


I decide the looks and colors with the bride/groom keeping in mind what works best with their complexion, personality, with an understanding of their likes and dislikes, the budgets that they have. Taking all of that into consideration we pick the outfits together. Then we decide the jewellery and accessories and once we have all these in place, we work on the makeup working with various, mehndi and hair stylists. I oversee the entire process to ensure that they look resplendent for their special day while keeping true to their own vision and personalities. If the client is overseas, I work everything out by emails and actual samplings thru courier.



What is so unique about the bridal market in India?


There is so much to offer on every aspect of bridal fashion in India, be it clothes, jewellery, accessories. It’s an overload. India is so rich and magnificent culturally, that we can be overwhelmed by the variety on something as basic as the choice of fabric.


On the set of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa wearing Reza Shariffi

Madhuri on the set of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa wearing Reza Shariffi



Do you find that the bridal market now is much more influenced by celebrity or by culture (or both)?


I think it’s always a mixed bag. I come across people who want to be like or dress like so-and-so and vice versa.



How do you unwind?


I love music, listening to all kinds of music.



What part of the day best inspires you?





From where do you gather your inspiration?  


I think life as such is my inspiration, beautiful loving relationships, moments, feelings; visuals of so much color in the world inspire me.



How does social media play a part in your overall branding?


Social media is very important. It’s a global world and we are so closely connected like never before. With my Facebook Fan page I am able to connect with those who are my clients as well as those who are just fans of my work and Madhuri’s workd. Fashion itself is such a visual medium, it’s all about the photos and social media definitely provides a platform where one can interact and be part of a community.


Olay advertising campaign wearing Gauri N Nainika

Olay advertising campaign wearing Gauri N Nainika


What makes Indian (Mumbai) fashion scene so unique?


Mumbai has already made an impression on the fashion map. From classic to experimental designs, there is something for everyone here.



What makes the Indian (Mumbai) fashion forward woman unique?  


The Indian (Mumbai) fashion forward woman is very worldly, educated and definitely understands the cultural concepts and how to integrate it with the mainstream (western) world. Fusion is something that is part of the fashionista’s lifestyle here.



At the Olay Launch

At the Olay Launch


What advice would you give to up and coming fashion designers/design students/ future stylists who are interested in following this career path?


I think what makes a brilliant stylist/designer is when you always meet your client’s expectations. Whether the client is big actor/actress or is just a regular person with their own budget. The key to becoming a success is providing 100 percent service to your client and being a great listener. Also assisting a working stylist/designer is a great way to learn.



What is the best advice you received that you still treasure today?


My father always told me “Work –WORKS!”. No matter what, just keep focused, keep working and everything else will fall in it their place.

To connect with Shaina and for more information about her services feel free to visit her Facebook Fan Page. You can also contact Shaina here: www.shainanath.com .


Photography courtesy of Shaina Nath 


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One Response to Feature: Mumbai star-stylist Shaina Nath

  1. Sana says:


    Lovely interview! Please let the readers know how the stylist can be contacted, as the Facebook page does not provide these details.


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