When I first decided to interview an actress for BarelyVogue, I can’t think of any one else but Lakshmi Manchu. Apart from being a fantastic actress with an admirable journey in the film industry, She has a great sense of style and I am always fascinated by her outfit choices. I love the fact that she is a risk taker when it comes to fashion and Lakshmi very effortlessly adds character and brings life to every look she adorns.
After constantly pestering her PR, I was lucky enough to chat with her couple of months ago. Lakshmi has such a warm personality and is so much fun to talk with. More than being a star or style icon, what caught my attention was how great of a human being she is, She was very friendly and encouraging. She shared lot of fun details with me regarding her personal style, favorite shopping spots, her favorite trends and more. Read and enjoy!
BV: You have such a cool personal style, where does your inspiration come from?
Lakshmi: My dad, how great! He is always been very interested in wearing the most latest and greatest clothes with his scarfs,to his hats to his little stoles, the kind of fleece, trousers everything he has experimented. Shantanu and Nikhil, Nikhil was telling me he made 86 pairs of shirts for my dad last year.
BV: Oh wow! that is something unexpected.So it runs in the family!
Lakshmi: haha(laughs), he has more shoes than I do. And my mom, until I moved to Hyderabad when I used to visit from America. People used to say “oh my god your sarees are amazing”, “your style is so amazing”. It was all my mom’s sarees that I would modify and wear. Because I am never wearing sarees in America, why would I want to buy? She had the most amazing sarees. Whatever I wore of hers got written about. I give my mom big credit as well for it
BV: How do you feel your style has evolved in last 5 years? Does this have anything to do with moving to India?
Lakshmi: I’ve gotten more conservative I should say after I moved to India. In America, I was just happy doing what I like to do. But here it is completely different. Here the press is everywhere right up close, you got to be pretty careful about what you wear. What you wear in your lights, in your home looks different than how it will show up when you get to the venue. Because, they have different lighting. One tip I would give people is always take a picture with flash on your phone before heading out.
BV: You are photographed a lot, Does that influence the way you dress or change your decision to wear something?
Lakshmi: No, No, not at all. See I have always been interested in clothes. When people ask me what is your ultimate dream, I tell them I want to be able to wear a new dress every day. Which I totally mean because, I love the way it makes me feel. I love drapes, cuts, materials. I have lot of interest in all of that. I just like collaborating with all that together. Even what I wore for Filmfare this year was a kanjivaram saree. I don’t know if people noticed it or not but the front part was shimmer work, behind it was all kanjivaram. Also, not very many people get what I am doing but, its more for me than trying to make people understand.
BV: What are your favorite wardrobe pieces that you would never want to get rid off and why?
Lakshmi: Definitely my favorite pair of jeans and I am crazy fan of t-shirts , I have more T-shirts than anything else. A nice belt and my Victoria secrets sleep wear, like those long t-shirts. I live in them.
BV: Whats your ultimate fashion risk that you love to take?
Lakshmi: I can’t think of any, because I always want to push the boundaries from what I wore last time to this time.
BV: Favorite store in Hyderabad that you can make a quick stop for a fashion fix.
Lakshmi: Hyderabad- I don’t shop at all. I like Tarun Tahiliani, Shantanu and Nikhil , Sabyasachi in Hyderabad. Otherwise I get them from Bombay, Delhi where ever my designers are. The one designer that I really love right now is Archana Rao and her label Frou Frou .She is our very own telugu designer. I really want to encourage her.
BV: What trends are you obsessed with right now, and what do you hope never comes back into style?
Lakshmi: I hope neons would never freaking come back. I was obsessed with them, I have so many neon clothes that I can give for generations. I just hope it never comes back in style, because I am getting rid of them all . But I did have fun when it was around. Another thing that I don’t like is anything that pokes, clothes that has bead work, poky crystal work or Badla work none of that. My clothes has to be happy clothes no poky clothes. I will never wear them, you will never see me wear them. I just don’t buy them. Comfort and ease in whatever I wear is the most important for me.
I am not obsessed with any trend currently, I wear everything. I get bored too quickly to be obsessive about anything.
BV: Saw you wearing a palm bracelet in an interview. Are you digging the trend?
Lakshmi: I have been obsessed with the palm bracelet and the mid finger rings. I love the trend.
BV: How long have you been working with your Stylist Shweta Malpani? Tell us little about her and what made you choose her?
Lakshmi: I have been working with her since the Doosukeltha TV show, and before that I was my own stylist. I love that our sensibilities match and what I really like about Shweta is she pays lot of attention to detail. I don’t think the world notices but she is very particular and I like that about her. Because it is ultimately what you and how you feel right? Even the little minimalist finger ring and how many I wear or what I wear she is very particular.
BV: Who picks the outfit? How many days a head do you finalize a look? How is the process like?
Lakshmi: Some I take a while, some are last minute. For filmfare it was only a week. I had something else in mind but the dress was so heavy. I need to take another person to travel with me just to wear that dress.Thank god for FaceTime and whatsapp I get most of my work done that way.
BV: Will you start from a particular piece like shoes, jewelry or certain hairstyle?
Lakshmi: I have been again very obsessive about Cersei’s hair styles from Game of Thrones. I have been obsessed with game of Thrones period. Anything that comes with Game of Thrones, lot of braids, lot of updos. I have never done so many updos before. I have so much fun doing the braided updos.
BV: You always have glowing skin despite of your crazy schedule and your exposure to pollution, sun etc. what is your skin care regimen like or is it just good genes?
Lakshmi: It’s Cleanser, Toner and Moisturizer, called CTM. I am big on washing my face and cleansing it and moisturizing it. Before I go to sleep I wash my face and do a lot of night creams.Since your skin is rejuvenating in the night we need to take good care of it.
BV:Your jewelry is always lust worthy.Be it your dazzling Swarovski watch, your Lakshmi pendant or the enviable diamonds! Do you have a favorite jewelry designer/brand?
Lakshmi: The jewelry designer that I really love in Hyderabad is Suhani Pittie , she does lot of hers in silver but she’s got the funkified funck jewelry, I love it! I love real jewelry. I love real jewelry with funk. I work a lot with Vasundara in Hyderabad. Now I am liking a lot of Banjrang Prasad. Internationally I love Van Cleef and Arpels, Harry Winston, David Yurman. I also wear a lot of Swarovski, I feel that you have to sparkle. I bling a lot!
BV: There are so many young talented designers in India right now. Would you ever want to launch a label or have a collaboration with a designer? If so, who would you want to work with?
Lakshmi: Manish Arrora
BV: Do you ever give your husband style advice? Has his style evolved since you’ve been together?
Lakshmi: Oh absolutely! He can’t put a pant and shirt together. And he loves bright colors, so he is always trying to wear pink with blue and I am like dude, subtle it down.
BV: I need to need to ask this question as you are now a hot mama! Where have you been shopping for Nirvana lately? Do you have any favorite places to shop for her?
Lakshmi: It’s called online shopping haha (laughs) Ralph Lauren is something I really like, Splendid, Juicy Couture, Baby Dior ..hmm what else, Baby Armani. Stores that I go to are giggles. It is California based store. hmm…so mainly Online shopping.
BV: By the way, we loved her first appearance in Chanel. She is adorable.
Lakshmi: hahah(laughs)..I couldn’t just quickly give her any kind of appearance. It had to be with my Chanel pearls.
BV: And Lastly, What advice would you give your 20yr old self?
Lakshmi: Just relax, enjoy every moment. It is all gonna be ok.
images via Cinema65 and Lakshmimanchu