Pictures & Words: Ted Belton
We had our dear friend Neelam Ahooja in the studio recently to share with us her edit from The Row and how she plans to layer her pieces into the oncoming season.
"IT'S QUIETLY EMPOWERING AND EMBODIES ALL THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE I LOOK FOR. IT'S SOPHISTICATED BUT RELAXED, FINELY TAILORED BUT EDGY."
LET'S GET THE BASICS OUT OF THE WAY FIRST. IN THE FEWEST WORDS POSSIBLE: WHY THE ROW?
It’s quietly empowering and embodies all the elements of style I look for.It’s sophisticated but relaxed, finely tailored but edgy.The lack of any visible logos combined with muted palettes and effortless layering appeal to the most discerning stylists (old and young alike). They’re one of the few brands that cut and recut a classic black coat from season to season with subtle differences and still make me feel that I “need that one too".
YOU'RE ONE OF THE MOST THOROUGH AND PROLIFIC FASHION ENTHUSIASTS ONLINE. IT APPEARS THAT YOU LIVE PART TIME IN A FITTING ROOM, AND YOU DON'T SEEM TO BUY ANYTHING WITHOUT A GREAT DEAL OF THOUGHT. ARE YOU CONSTANTLY ASSESSING AND REASSESSING YOUR WARDROBE?
It’s not that I’m constantly reassessing my wardrobe requirements. More that my desire to create is always there. And as such, I’m looking for newness. That doesn’t necessarily translate into a purchase. It could be taking an old piece from the back of my closet and reworking it in a new way.
There aren’t many gaps left to fill. I find myself in a privileged place of being able to play. My gut is my guide. I used to shop far more impulsively when I was younger but I’ve become more disciplined. When a new collection is released, there are looks that speak to me immediately. I make a list of all the items I want and then I wait. Some items fall off and those that remain usually end up in my closet.
WHAT IS IT THAT GRABS YOU, ANYWAY? WHEN YOU'RE FLIPPING THROUGH A RACK OR SCROLLING AN ONLINE STORE, WHAT IS IT THAT ATTRACTS YOU TO A GARMENT?
Black pieces that layer easily, are soft on the body but also hold their shape. Boyish blazers. Tailored skirts with room for a belt. Oversized coats and bags. These are some of my favourite things.
IT APPEARS TO BE A GAME OF DETAILS, THE WAY YOU SWAP OUT ONE SHIRT FOR ANOTHER. YOUR STYLE IS DEFINED BY A FAIRLY NARROW VERNACULAR, BUT WITHIN IT YOU FIND ENORMOUS OPPORTUNITY FOR CREATIVITY. IS THAT THE SECRET TO HAVING A GOOD TIME WITH FASHION? FIGURING OUT YOUR THING AND STICKING WITH IT?
Fashion isn’t just functional, it’s art, and it should be fun! I think there’s something to be said about having a formula. The key is to know your shape and be willing to experiment a little. I’ve had a good amount of time to figure out what works and what doesn’t and I’m comfortable working within those parameters.
"MY GUT IS MY GUIDE. I USED TO SHOP FAR MORE IMPULSIVELY WHEN I WAS YOUNGER BUT I'VE BECOME MORE DISCIPLINED."
WITH THAT IN MIND, LET'S LOOK AT THE OUTFIT IN WHICH WE PHOTOGRAPHD YOU. CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH WHAT YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS IN PUTTING TOGETHER THIS LOOK?
This outfit is quintessentially me. A long black coat layered on top of a boyish blazer with a contrast white shirt, a tailored maxi skirt and stomping boots. The oversized clutches are the cherries on top. I love this look from head to toe and could easily wear it on repeat or peel back the layers and work each piece into a different outfit with ease.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE PRACTICALITY OF AN OUTFIT WITH IT'S OTHER QUALITIES: HOW IT MAKES YOU FEEL, HOW IT MAY EXPRESS SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF. DO YOU HAVE DAYS THAT ARE MOSTLY ABOUT PROJECTING SOME IDEA? AND OTHERS THAT ARE JUST ABOUT GETTING OUT THE DOOR?
I don’t really have impractical outfits anymore (I’ve moved far away from my days of sky high heels and pointed toe shoes). So it comes down to how I feel. My mood dictates my outfit.bIf I’m in a rush, hair a mess and makeup absent, I’ll throw on a pair of vintage jeans and I’m out the door. Otherwise, I dress not so much to convey an idea but more for the art of it. It’s an outlet for self-expression. I enjoy the process of getting dressed and I come alive when I’m in creation mode. I feel lucky I get to experiment. In The Row no less.
SHOP NEELAMS EDIT