Heirlooms

Style Capsule: Devki Bhatt On What Makes Style Last Forever

Take note: the devil is still in the details and diamonds, according to this Indian-American stylist.

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Jewellery: Om Jewellers

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Devki Bhatt embodies contemporary glam. The stylist, consultant, writer and pharmacist has a knack for sprinkling a little stardust over everything she does – and quite frankly, she does a lot.  

With a list of celebrity clients that span from the eternal Aishwarya Rai to the spunky Radhika Apte, the Lexington-based multihyphenate is most well-known for her work in the fashion industry. But when away from the glitz and the glamour, her style reflects her identity as an Indian-American. She is someone who is comfortable existing at intersections: eastern elegance meets western influence, traditional upbringing with a contemporary lifestyle, the young embracing the old. She is often celebrated for her anomalous sense of style, “What excites me about fashion is the fact that it’s ever-evolving. And that’s exactly what I love about what I do. I’m always growing into it. And there is really no defining moment.” 

She represents the kind of modern woman that every woman aspires to be: clever, powerful, intelligent, motivated, and unafraid to be ruthlessly herself. 

Let’s start with a lesser-known fact. Surprise us?

People don’t realize that I’m also a pharmacist. I come from a family of physicians, so medicine was an obvious career path. I have an undergraduate degree in biotechnology and a doctorate in pharmacy. And then there was fashion where there wasn’t an actual moment of revelation. I just grew into the industry and went with the flow. I love that you never have the same day twice. It’s different every single day. 

What would you say is the one accessory that reflects your personality?

If I had a choose one accessory, it would probably be a ring because it could go with anything and everything – plus you can wear it all the time. It’s small, its versatile, and it doesn’t cry out for attention. It’s something that stays with you.  

I would choose a natural diamond ring with a princess cut because it’s structured and it’s clean. That is my style summed up in two words. I like clean lines and simple styles.   

Who is your style inspiration?

The key influence that has shaped my style today is my grandfather. He always made it seem like the way you dress impacts how the world perceives you, and that has always inspired my personal style. A white kurta was his staple look. He wore a white knee-length French collar kurta with a matching pant every single day. There is something about the way he dressed that made him seem more refined with age. Because of that, I have noticed a sudden decline in my will to submit to trends. Instead, I have started reusing many of my longstanding and beloved pieces. I also wear things that truly resonate with me rather than feeling the need to experiment.  

Over the course of your career,
could you name a project you’d consider a styling triumph?

My favourite outfit was Taapsee Pannu’s look for the HT Style Awards. She wore a pair of sequin pants paired with a white collared shirt, and finished out her look with layered necklaces which offset her naturally curly hair. What I loved about this look is it was rooted in her true personality, she’s a natural star. It was not overdone, it was just right – clean, simple, and elegant. 

What is the most crucial element of a good outfit?

My personal style is actually very simple and comfortable. But I consider jewellery the full stop to the whole look. It’s what completes it. It adds a personal touch and a sense of character to an outfit, and also shows effort.  

Jewellery has become an extension of my memories and my heritage, so it has become easier for me to incorporate pieces into my personal style more now than ever before. The best thing about jewellery is that you have a plethora of options. If you take a statement piece like one with real diamonds, you can mix it with different clothing options to make it appropriate for an everyday outfit or a special occasion. You can make it a part of your daily life.  

Do your think your style has changed since you moved to the US?

II think there’s a lot more freedom here. In the US, people are more inclined to express themselves through fashion. India is still limited in that sense, where most aren’t dressing for themselves but to please the people around them. I do hope to see this change over time. 

Could you name an item from your wardrobe that you would never part with?

It would have to be my diamond earrings. They were given to me by my grandmother and are a pair of accessories that I will always cherish. My sister and I would always fight over her beautiful jewellery, so she came up with a great solution. Every time there was a piece that we loved, she would use it to create two new and unique items that were completely different from what it started out as. So, if we loved a necklace, she’d have two sets of earrings made with one for each of us to make sure it was fair.  

It’s something that I’ve always considered so thoughtful, and these are natural diamond heirlooms that have been given new life. I’ll always hold that memory close.