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Bollywood Superstar Deepika Padukone on the Power of Patience
BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed speaks with the BoF 500 cover star about the ups and downs of her personal and professional trajectory and what the West needs to understand about India and its rich, diverse culture.
Deepika Padukone, one of Bollywood’s highest-paid actors, started her career as a former professional badminton player before appearing in her first film, “Om Shanti Om,” in 2007, for which she won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. In 2017, she crossed over to Hollywood with the action film “XXX: Return of Xander Cage.” More recently, she’s become a force in fashion as a global brand ambassador for Louis Vuitton, Adidas, Levi’s and Cartier.
Padukone grew up far from the limelight and was an outsider to both the film and fashion industries. Setting herself up on the global stage as a young Indian woman, she had to combat preconceptions at every corner, she said.
“Of course, the hustle is much harder [as an outsider]. You've got to wait much longer for the right opportunities,” she says. “But also, from my perspective, the gratification is so much more.”
This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed speaks with the actor and BoF 500 cover star about the highs and lows of her career and why India needs more recognition from the West on the global stage.
Padukone said her heritage is fundamental to who she is and how she represents herself on the global stage. “I just feel like India has so much to offer and I’ve been able to do everything that I do, just being Indian and being based out here,” she says. “In a way that feels authentic to me and to who I am.” Padukone says Indians are still stereotyped — especially in Hollywood. “You are the scientist. You are the computer geek. You are the taxi driver. You are the therapist. You are the owner of a convenience store,” she says. “I’ve had my fans ask me why I’ve not done more [global] movies. But that’s not what I’m settling for, because I am — and we are — so much more than that.” Padukone says fashion brands need to understand more about India’s rich heritage. . “It’s extremely diverse. It’s not one India, it’s many Indias,” she says. “And as Indians, we’re also extremely proud of our history, our culture and our heritage.” After being diagnosed with clinical depression, Padukone felt the need to open up conversations about mental illness in India. “No one in India had spoken about it like this before, and it felt to me that there was this huge burden on our country’s shoulders that everyone was dealing with, but dealing with silently,” Padukone says. Padukone advises having patience for people who want to achieve their dreams. “I think the one thing that isn’t given enough importance to me is the power of patience,” she says. “Everything is instant gratification, but if there’s one thing that has worked for me it has been to be patient.” Additional Resources:
Deepika Padukone: The Bollywood Star That Fashion’s Megabrands Are Betting On: With India set to become the world’s third-largest fashion market, Bollywood’s most-popular actress has become a global brand ambassador for the likes of Levi’s, Adidas, Louis Vuitton and now, Cartier. In an exclusive interview with Imran Amed, she opens up about her global ambitions — and what the fashion world needs to understand about India. Deepika Padukone Is Cartier’s Newest Ambassador: The Bollywood actress and BoF 500 cover star signals the French jewellery house’s ambitions to broaden its reach among Indian consumers, both domestically and abroad. To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link.
Marine Serre Questions the Fashion Industry’s Practices
The French designer, known for her embrace of eco-futurism, speaks to BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed about the evolution of her namesake brand and explains its deeper purpose.
Designer Marine Serre has long had an affinity for evoking the apocalyptic in her work, a tendency that became particularly resonant during the pandemic. Serre spent lockdown reflecting on her time in the fashion industry and asking how it can change. Now, she has pledged to use her brand and influence to break the fast fashion cycle and build sustainable supply chains.
On this week’s BoF Podcast, we revisit Serre’s conversation with BoF’s Imran Amed discussing the evolution of her eponymous sustainability-focused brand for the post-pandemic world.
Despite the limitations of the pandemic, Serre did not steer away from her goal to prioritise sustainability at the heart of her brand. “From now to four years ago, I'm just walking the same way. I never really disassociate creation from process,” she says. Serre believes that consumer needs have changed. When people go to buy her clothes they consider the brand’s supply chain as well as the aesthetic. “I'm trying to relinquish that part of what was carved out is a luxury and de-link myself with fast fashion and growth,” Serre explains. Known for her use of discarded and recycled fabrics, Serre says she has grown less shy about doing exactly what she wants to do in fashion, revising peoples’ ideas of preciousness and creating garments out of materials already imbued with meaning. “I think the goal of the company is to question the fashion industry,” Serre says. To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link.
The Debrief: How Big Brands Choose Their Creative Directors
Louis Vuitton is expected to name its Virgil Abloh successor within weeks. Lauren Sherman quizzes Imran Amed on what luxury labels think about when recruiting top designers.
Background: Louis Vuitton has spent almost a year searching for a Virgil Abloh successor after the designer died in November 2021. According to sources, Martine Rose, Grace Wales Bonner and Telfar Clemens are among the names that were considered by owner LVMH, and the decision is expected to be announced within weeks. But how do brands like Louis Vuitton even go about finding a designer?
“Without the creative energy, without that kind of excitement, there’s nothing to sell,” said Imran Amed, BoF founder and editor-in-chief.
Key Insights: While all brands have their own personality and the situations that necessitate finding a new creative director differ, the things most brands look for in a leader are similar. Executives have to consider whether they’re looking for revolution, like when Gucci tapped Alessandro Michele for creative energy and new ideas, or evolution, like when Saint Laurent tapped Anthony Vaccarello to keep its aesthetic formula after Hedi Slimane departed. A strong vision is the most important thing. But creative directors also need to have commercial sensibility and the ability to work in a corporate environment. One of Abloh’s achievements was that he managed to build a community at Louis Vuitton, and engage consumers who had been traditionally excluded by the luxury industry. Additional Resources: Virgil Abloh: Building on a Legacy: Like Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Gianni Versace before him, the late Virgil Abloh leaves a powerful legacy. What does this mean for Off-White and Louis Vuitton? Which Luxury Leadership Configuration Works Best? In luxury fashion, the right configuration of creative and commercial leadership is critical to success, writes Pierre Mallevays. To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Leadership and Legacy
Royal expert Elizabeth Holmes speaks to BoF’s Imran Amed about Queen Elizabeth II’s life and legacy — in fashion, culture and society at large.
Tributes to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch have flooded social media, television and even public parks in the days since her passing, memorialising the Queen’s steadfast leadership, but also her impeccable sense of style.
This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed speaks with royal expert Elizabeth Holmes who reflects on the influence the Queen’s record-setting reign has had on the fashion industry and the wider culture.
The Queen was known around the world for her monochromatic outfits, designed to help her stand out in the crowd. She also created a unique twist on a set formula of basics: hat, coat, bag and pearls. “I think she understood the power of clothes,” says Holmes. “She used things like the colour of her outfit, especially when she was travelling overseas to perhaps match the host country's flag.” Holmes details how the Queen had a “tremendous sort of swing of the style pendulum” from her private life, where she’d wear headscarves and tartan skirts, to her public life, wearing tiaras and gowns. “It was very important to see all aspects of royal life,” says Holmes. “Both being worthy of the glamour of royalty, but then also sensible stewards of taxpayer dollars.” Her influence also stretched outside of her sovereign powers, with the path she paved for other female leaders around the world. Being crowned Queen at just 25, she became one of the only women at the table of leadership, and she made it count. “I think the Queen sort of made it permissible to really stand out.” As King Charles III takes to the throne commentators are looking to the future of the institution. “The conversation changes a little bit now that there is a King on the throne,” says Holmes. “Understanding that the whole spotlight shifts to him and with that, the good and perhaps the criticism, too.”
Queen Elizabeth II’s Style Legacy: Britain’s longest reigning monarch has died. Her influence extended to the realm of fashion, where she invented the concept of “sartorial diplomacy.” What the Queen Means to Designers: Queen Elizabeth was an inspiration for fashion designers from Vivienne Westwood to Alessandro Michele to Richard Quinn. Will any British royal have the same influence again?
Casablanca’s Charaf Tajer on Designing for Impossible Possibilities
The designer speaks with BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed about building his own business, the power of aspiration and opening doors for people who want to break into fashion.
French-Moroccan designer Charaf Tajer is the French-Moroccan designer behind Casablanca, a business that he started with only €3,000 to tap into the growing demand for women’s resortwear, and which is now doing more than €45 million in annual revenue.
But Charaf’s rise in the Parisian fashion scene is also exceptional because of who Charaf is and where he is from. As one of the few people of colour working at the very top level of French luxury fashion, he has learned that no matter how high his star rises, he still faces discrimination related to his identity as he travels in these elite spaces. This only makes him want to work harder to break down barriers and become a role model.
On the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, designer Tajer joins BoF’s Imran Amed on The BoF Podcast to talk about building his own business, the power of aspiration and opening doors for people who want to break into fashion.
Growing up in the outskirts of Paris, Tajer had an early appreciation for luxury, getting glimpses of wealth going with his mother to work as a cleaner in the 16th arrondissement. He channelled this sense of curiosity into the core of Casablanca and believes it lies in the industry itself. “I think this is what fashion does, is like it opens a certain option of dreaming of certain things,” says Tajer. Tajer believes you must go outside of your comfort zone and explore new paths to achieve success. “There is nothing for you in the past, so you have to go to the future because when you look back, there’s nothing for you… There was no space for me to grow.” Tajer’s background has at times led him to feel like a fashion outsider. That feeling inspired him to want to become a role model for others. “Beside the fact that I’m a North African Muslim guy, I also just want to represent the new face of France,” says Tajer. “It’s my duty to also accomplish the biggest thing in the world, to become an example.” While entering the world of fashion, Tajer is careful to open doors for others and leave behind a legacy that any achievement is possible with effort. “For me I only want to go for the impossible possibilities,” Tajer says.
Fashion’s Top M&A Targets: The market may be cooling, but a number of in-demand brands remain of interest to financial backers. BoF identifies the top targets. Can Fashion Start-Ups Cash In on the Tennis Boom? For a new wave of tennis-inflected fashion start-ups, success may depend on balancing the energy of the sport’s increasingly inclusive present with the allure of its exclusive past.
Rick Owens on Lessons Learned from the Pandemic
The designer speaks with BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks about his first collection after 2020 and why he feels a sense of optimism following the pandemic.
At the start of 2021, Rick Owens wanted his next show to reflect the universal toll the pandemic had taken on the world. Held at Venice’s Tempio Votivo, a shrine to the fallen soldiers of the two world wars, Owens centred the show around the sombre themes of “anger and darkness.” Despite this ominous outlook, Owens told BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks in January 2021 that a pivot in political circumstances with the inauguration of Joe Biden gave him a sense of optimism.
On this week’s episode of the BoF Podcast, we revisit this thought provoking conversation with Owens about his Autumn/Winter 2021 collection, his reflections on lessons learned from the pandemic and his renewed hope for society.
For Owens, constraints can create fertile ground for creativity. “It has been quiet change and I like the idea of working within small boundaries,” says Owen. “I like the idea of doing the best with what you have got.” Owens created his collection when the world was facing growing political uncertainty and instability but he says “one of the most reassuring things [in this world] is that everything usually balances out. We have survived this long because there is just a tiny bit more of goodness than badness. Just enough to keep us surviving.” Owen’s men’s shows in particular are deeply personal. “My men’s runway shows are always about men’s flaws and men’s worst urges because they are auto-biographical,” he says. “When I am thinking about men I am thinking about my own experience and my own experience is very critical and I am always very conscious of my worst urges and where they are coming from.”
Rick Owens: Control and Abandon Tim Blanks’ Top Fashion Shows of All-Time: Rick Owens Spring/Summer 2014, September 26, 2013 What Fashion Wants From a Biden Presidency
Ep. 238: there is no “post-pandemic”. We’re in the midst of it as numbers rise across the country.
About the Queen segment
I love how y’all respect the past Queen of England and all but y’all make it look like she was against slavery and all. She was 💯 involved and y’all didn’t even bother touching that and that’s what touching about it all because there’s a lot of young kid out here believing she’s an actual Hero
Surprisingly Intelligent and entertaining.
Zac Posen’s interview was my introduction to this surprisingly intelligent and highly informative podcast. I’ve learned so much about the challenges of creative people having to navigate the politics involved in the fashion industry and the challenges of making real money beyond the fashion show (which I’ve learned was not particularly lucrative). I am so sad to learn about Posen’s company folding yet he proves to be an abundant wealth of knowledge about creating and producing one’s imagination onto the public and all of the challenges that go with it. In other episodes, I’ve learned about the importance of sustainability in clothing production and the surprising amount of fraud that happens with the illusions of “sale prices” in the industry, among other practices that impact the consumer more than I ever realized. Great business course, as well. Highly recommend.