Indian men are boring: Lara Dutta

In an exclusive backstage chat before she walks the ramp at the ongoing Lakme Fashion Week, actress Lara Dutta tells Shweta Shiware it's a waste expecting Indian guys to dress stylish, and why Sush topples Ash in the style chart. Plus a wrap-up of the finale.

The backstage recesses of the show area is simmering with activity just before Raakesh Agarvwal's show, manifesting itself in an unsettling quiet before a stylish storm breaks through. Actress Lara Dutta walks in nonchalantly, and on time.

She seets herself down to get her make-up and hair done, looking comfortable in a worn-out Ed Hardy tee, ripped jeans and animal print wedges. She juggles two phones - an iPhone and a Blackberry - alligning them on the dressing table to match her line of vision.

Fashion has been a familiar playground, she admits, with international supermodels Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista, and Indian counterparts Madhu Sapre and Mehr Jesia inspiring the little Lara to preen like a model in family photographs. "I understood couture as early as 10, " she smiles before getting ready to take our volley of questions. "Shoot."

Who is the most stylish beauty pageant winner - Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai or Sushmita Sen?
Sushmita, of course. I appreciate her personal style. She doesn't believe in sticking to rules.

And what's Lara's personal style?
It depends on my mood. I am inspired by the classic styles of the 1920s, 40s and 50s. But I am not a fashion victim. I invest in pieces that stay relevant irrespective of cyclical trends.
Which designers sit in your wardrobe?
Shahab Durazi, Tarun Tahiliani and Raakesh Agarvwal. Among the international lot, if I am feeling young, it's Dolce & Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli. For classic styles, it's Armani and Valentino.

How long do you take to get ready?
If I am not walking the ramp or a red carpet, not more than 30 minutes. And that includes hair, make-up and dressing up.

Indian designers are taking an active interest in styling Bollywood films. Has style overridden substance?
My experience in modelling has helped me in Bollywood, as far as confidence with clothes is concerned. With Bunty aur Babli, Aki Narula changed the way masses dressed.

In Tashan, each character was individually styled, and the trailers looked fabulous. But the film didn't do well. A huge PR machinery was at work to promote Bebo's shoes in Kambakkht Ishq.

I've worn an expensive Alexander McQueen dress in my next release, Houseful, for all of 30 seconds. Producers understand the needs of global viewers.

They know that the audience won't go, "Kya pehna hai!" after looking at a fashionable outfit. If they (producers) are spending lakhs on outfits and accessories, they will make sure it's all publicised.                       Who makes it to the most stylish Bollywood stars list?
Sonam Kapoor makes an effort to look fashionable. I like that about her. Among men, it's Shahrukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan. They have an inherent sense of style.

Do you think Indian men need to make an attempt to dress more stylish?
Men don't really believe in taking chances. They are a boring lot (laughs).

Actors who walk for designers are handsomely paid...
I haven't charged a dime for this show. I have done it because I genuinely like Raakesh's clothes - they are avant-garde and cutting edge. Else, I walk for friends. It takes me back to my modelling days (winks).

Any fashion fetish?
I have one, a really bad shoe fetish. I can't divulge how many pairs I have. Easily over 100. Shoes matter. What sort, doesn't. So, I have everything from Kolhapuri chappals to Louboutins.