From Delhi to Paris, Manavi Dang is slowly building a name with her creative projects. Most recently, the 30-year-old styled a Spring/Summer 2022 film for Louis Vuitton. Last year, she did costumes for French music duo Polo & Pan’s video release featuring Call my Agent star Thibault de Montalembert.
Manavi started her journey in 2012 as an intern at the Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi, working on Yoko Ono’s first exhibition in India. Cut to 2016, when she moved to Paris to study lingerie design. “While I enjoyed working in art, I wanted to discover other avenues. I would always dress up to make an impression on others. But lingerie — the foundation of any outfit — was the only thing I would wear just for myself,” says Manavi.
She then worked as a junior designer at Chantelle, one of the oldest lingerie houses in France. And during her free time, Manavi started assisting notable stylists like Malina Joseph Gilchrist, Imruh Asha for a Jacquemus look book, and Wil Ariyamethe for a Lancôme advertisement starring Julia Roberts.
Here, Manavi talks about her forever fashion favourites. Excerpts from her interview with Tata CLiQ Luxury ahead of The Luxe Life 2 that will be live through March 11–15, 2022:
How did you become interested in styling?
Manavi Dang (MD): I assisted Malina Joseph Gilchrist, who is the women’s style director of T: The New York Times Style Magazine. I was also a part of the team led by Priyanka Kapadia for Vogue India’s cover shoot with model Nidhi Sunil. And working with Imruh Asha, now the Fashion Director of Dazed & Confused, taught me the importance of having a perspective. No shoot, team, or location is ever the same; it is always a new experience — and I love that.
Where do you find inspiration?
MD: Fine arts and performing arts. My mood boards, of late, have references from filmmaker David Lynch, artist Atul Dodiya, and figurative painter Francis Bacon. My recent playlists include jazz, grunge, and techno.
A style icon you look up to?
MD: Grace Jones. She is a fashion provocateur who subverted the notions of gender through her androgynous style during the 1980s and continues to inspire today.
A piece from your wardrobe you are in love with now?
MD: Right now, a pair of Helmut Lang leather pants. It is a part of my daily uniform. I can wear it with everyday staples or dress it up with a one-shoulder top.
What was the idea behind your film for Tata CLiQ Luxury?
MD: I intended to highlight the style of South Asians living in Paris instead of following trends. The film shows how they use fashion as a means of self-expression.
How would you describe French style?
MD: Even when it is loud, it is muted. People tend to stay true to themselves rather than following trends.
Another city you love for its style?
MD: I love Berlin’s dark, anti-fashion vibe.