Richa Chadha: I Don’t Read Fashion Reviews Because They Get Personal
Honestly, our start to the interview was not all that good with miscommunications happening all around but we were soon to realise that sometimes a warm, welcoming smile can make all the difference in the world. THAT was our first impression of this beautiful and talented person we know as Richa Chadha; an acclaimed yet surprisingly friendly and grounded actress. And she made sure that we left with even higher regard for her.
Busy (and probably hassled, though she did not quite show it) as she might have been with back to back interviews during this one particular media interaction session for the promotions of her new web series, Inside Edge, the actress had ample time for smile’s and hi’s and hello’s for anyone who crossed her. Incidentally, this serious actress has a really fun and lively side to her that’s easy to fall in love with, something we found out while waiting in queue for our turn to have a quick chat with Richa.
A couple of video interviews later, she sat herself on the couch ready for yet another round of questions, this time from MFG. Her broad, friendly smile, which was still in place, made sure to melt away any inhibitions that might have gripped us earlier and led us into an easy tete-a-tete. Excerpts from MFG’s conversation with this wonderful woman…
What is the worst fashion advice you’ve ever received from anyone?
The worst fashion advice I’ve ever received is to try everything at once and I think I did. And it didn’t work.
Would it make it to one of your biggest regrets?
I don’t regret it so much. Now I just laugh about it but at that time I felt quite bad.
What’s the best fashion advice you’ve received and implemented?
The best fashion advice I’ve received and implemented would be this one stylist who told me ‘with your personality, we don’t have to do too much. So keep it classic, simple and elegant because less is more on you.’ And it works. And I’ve found out that when I’m comfortable in what I’m wearing, I tend to look good otherwise I look really scary on the red carpet like when I’m trying to hold my breath or something. Also, flash lights make me really nervous.
You’ve ever been on a worst dressed list though!
No? I don’t know, I don’t really read reviews… fashion reviews I don’t read.
I don’t read reviews because I feel very few people are qualified to be giving true, honest fashion reviews. I feel like we have imbibed a very West Coast, Californian culture of dissing people very often where people get personal about what others are wearing and start commenting on their personal life or their body type much more than fashion. Recently, someone forwarded me a review (of a pic) where I was reaching for something in my bag and the review specifically used a violent term that indicated I had a desire to show off the brand of the bag which if you look in it is very elitist. And it’s not a good message to give out if you are a media house. So you see, there are two sides to every coin; I understand when you say ‘you must read reviews’ but this is the reason why I don’t. Because I don’t want that negative, septic tank-like mentality to influence me.
You realise there might be one negative but there will also be a hundred positive reviews.
It’s not about negative reviews, but subconsciously, I think, a lot of fashion reviews give out this idea that if you wear a bigger brand or if you are really skinny, only if those conditions are met are you beautiful or are you fashionable. I don’t want people to feel at a disadvantage because there’s a bag that they can’t afford. I don’t want women who are really skinny to not feel endowed or women who are on the heavier side or bigger to feel conscious about fashion or be told that ‘hey, you can’t wear a bodycon.’
Moving back to our list of questions… What is the oldest piece of clothing in your wardrobe?
The oldest piece of clothing I have in my wardrobe is a hand-knitted sweater made by my grandmom whom I never really met. I received it in 1986 but it may have been knitted even before that.
What is the newest addition to your wardrobe?
The newest piece I have is a t-shirt that says “crew sexist” that I ordered online. Someone was coming down from US so I ordered it and they are bringing it for me. It’s a Nasty Gal t-shirt.
If I go through your wardrobe right now which label will I see the most?
You’ll find labels that people don’t really wear here like a Cynthia Rowley or Adrianna Papell. I like those clothes because they are kind of understated. At the same time, you’ll also see a lot of quirky pieces that I’ve picked up during my travels across the world. I’m quite proud of them because they are very unique and it’s something that no one else will have. I hate this homogenization of fashion where everyone ends up looking the same.
Any affordable high street brands on your recommendation list?
I don’t know about affordability but if the quality lasts then you don’t feel so bad; you know stuff keeps coming back in trend so it’s kind of an investment. But I actually love Topshop and I love River Island. Unfortunately, you still don’t find these brands in India. As for Zara, H&M and Forever 21, I’ve identified in which countries these brands are the best like Zara is amazing in Europe and H&M is best in Sweden because that’s the birth country of the brand, so they have crazy variety. And I’ve found a good collection at Forever 21 whenever I’m in Singapore, Malaysia.
One accessory you just can’t do without?
I’m actually without any accessory most of the time; I’m a very laid back kind of a person. But if I had to (pick one), I think it would be this one pair of diamond earrings which are again heritage, so I’ll pick those.
What is your favourite shoe style?
Oh, I love shoes; I have a shoe fetish. I have this large shoe closet full of really quirky, weird, spiky, crazy, netty shoes. And yeah, I’m quite proud of that collection.
Do you have a favourite in that collection?
I have! (These are) actually, shoes that I haven’t used till now because I love them so much, I just want to keep looking at them. You know those Vivienne Westwood shoes with big heart motifs and they look really amazing and cute. But I haven’t worn them yet.
Your red carpet looks are usually very bold and experimental but your promotional looks are mostly classy. So which one reflects your personal style more?
Like, every girl, I wake up feeling differently on different days. So if I’m happy on one day you’ll see me in a floral dress but if I’m feeling a little bit on the edge about something, you’ll see me in a power suit. If you see me around on the street I’d probably be wearing a onesie with a bag of vegetables or on my cycle going somewhere. So when I’m out and about doing stuff then comfort is the priority.
So you’d say you’re a moody dresser?
Completely! I mean I can identify what my style is but I don’t think I ever want it to be predictable.
If you have to describe your entire wardrobe in one word, what would it be?