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Dev Anand Bollywood's original style icon: Designers

Nivedita Sharma
4 December 2011

New Delhi, Dec 4 (IANS) Dev Anand, the style icon of 1950s and 1960s, scripted a fashion statement with his scarves, mufflers and jackets and his singnature puff, inspired by his childhood ideal Gregory Peck. The newage designers describe him as a trendsetter and a mentor who gave a fillip to Bollywood fashion.

Thanks to his good looks, further enhanced by his stylish wardrobe and on-screen romantic image portrayed in songs like 'Abhi na jao chodkar', 'Jia o' and 'Khoya khoya chand', Dev Anand had girls swooning over him. There was a time when female fans frenzy reached such a crescendo that they started sending him letters in their blood especially after seeing him in a black suit. Such was his persona that he was 'banned' from wearing a black suit in public.

'I think, he was never scared of following his mind when it came to dressing up. He was someone who took that extra mile to start up those trends which were considered bold and experimental during the 1960s. He gave mufflers worldwide recognition and that too in various forms,' designer Nida Mahmood told IANS.

'The two films which I actually remember of him where he was portrayed as the true style icons was 'Heera Paana' and 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna'. He crossed all boundaries to invent trends which were never seen before in the Hindi film industry and scarf was one of them,' she added.

Do you remember Shah Rukh Khan in 'Mohabbatein' (2000) where he is seen wrapping sweaters around his shoulders? that style was actually introduced by Dev Anand in his 1973 movie 'Heera Panna'.

Arpan Vohra says Dev saab created style 'not only in reel but also in real life. His signature strip black trousers, cap wore on one side, bright cardigans and scarves tied around his neck created sensation.'

'How can we forget his effortless attempt of wearing sweaters on shoulders, which became a rage. He was the one who invented fashion 40 years back but people still follow it whole-heatedly. He gave fresh flowers a new meaning with his movie 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna' by using it as an accessory. When we talk about retro look, the first individual which comes to our mind is Dev Anand and that's what he is known for in glamour world,' he added.

The actor was climbing the success ladder in the 1960s, which is said to be one of the most fashion-conscious periods in recent history. Apart from his wardrobe, he exercised a profound influence on the youth with his puffed hair style.

'The way he created sensation in 1960's was daring, especially his little puffed hairstyle. He was the one who started the trend of boy next-door, neat look. I will consider him as the father of fashion in the lead actors wardrobe. The kind of longevity he had when it comes to making a trend popular is phenomenal. Before him, I can only remember Prithvi Raj Chauhan,' said designer Rahul Mishra.

The realisation that no one can bring back that era in Bollywood saddens Mishra.

'I think that era will never come back because right now people are too much influenced by outside world. Rather than creating their own style, many people are looking at the West. But I would say Dev saab was the global style icon as his style and sense of dressing infected the entire world. How can we forget that at one time he was termed as the true competitor of Elvis Presley because of his hair style,' he added.

The 'Guide' star's clothing sense has not failed to inspire or motivate the current lot of designers and Abhishek Dutta says he would love to dedicate a collection inspired by Dev saab.

'I would consider him as the one who revived Bollywood in true sense through his style and presentation. The way he used vibrant colours in his wardrobe was phenomenal especially because people during that time were living in black and white period.

' In 'Guide', I saw him crossing boundaries and bringing in the entire new concept to the Bollywood fashion especially with his shirts and buttoned up look. I would definitely want to make a collection keeping his style in mind,' said Dutta.

(Nivedita Sharma can be contacted at nivedita.s@ians.in)

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