She represents the new Indian fashion movement: Daring, futuristic and all-pervading. Her litany of achievements just doesn’t seem to end — she styled Sonam Kapoor in the designer caper Aisha, launched her own label which became a metaphor for the contemporary city soignée and kickstarted her online store. Always dressed to eclipse the red carpet, this glamazon has given styling a new lexicon by styling shoots with a refreshing and much-needed newness and vision.
Born in the culturally inclined Qureshi household in south Delhi, Pernia was always drawn towards fashion. Since the age of six she was mesmerised by the beautiful clothes her mother would wear. She studied law but her true passion lay in the art of fashion. “I started off my career with internships at major fashion magazines in New York. I then worked as an assistant stylist in New York for Ann Caruso, a contributing editor at Harper’s Bazaar. I continued my fashion journey by doing some freelance work with Conde Nast, before moving back to New Delhi. I worked independently with India’s foremost fashion designers such as JJ Valaya and Tarun Tahiliani — on their campaigns, look books, and fashion shows,” she says.
Style: An expression of oneself
“Style for me is all about expressing yourself. Everybody has an inner personality that they want to project, fashion just helps that. People shy away from standing true to their personal style and instead follow trends blindly. My latest venture, Be Stylish, is a style bible of sorts that will help readers discover their signature look and guide them in choosing clothing and accessories fit for their body type,” she says.
Styling for Aisha proved to be a turning point. “It gave me the idea for my online venture — perniaspopupshop.com. With that doing well now, I wanted to take on a new venture that was as exciting. Random House wanted me to pen down my take on fashion and styling in the form of a fun guide that catered to girls who wanted to dress young, vibrant and fresh,” she says.
Inspiration from surroundings
“Like they say beauty is in the eye of beholder, my inspiration lies in everything appealing that surrounds us. From people to art, I gorge on ideas from everywhere. There are a lot of designers whose work I adore starting from Miu Miu, Marchesa, Prada, Stella McCartney, Sabyasachi, Anamika Khanna, Manish Malhotra... the list is endless,” she says.
India’s answer to net-a-porter
“I felt that there was a gap in the Indian designer market. The designers were unable to reach their targeted customers across the globe and vice versa. With Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop the aim was to cover this void and to create a one stop shop for Indian designers. We wanted to create a website that brought Indian fashion to everyone from New York to Lucknow with just a click. We started with a vision to become the next established global luxury retailer offering — the best in fashion mixed with an exceptional quality of customer service,” she says.
Her tastefully organised soirees are well known in the Delhi social circuits. One’s curious to know what all goes in the art of entertaining. “Parties are a great way to meet old friends and make new ones. I would say good food, foot-tapping music and the perfect ambience are the three things that attribute to a great party,” she says.
“I’m a trained Kuchipudi dancer, I love to dance. I make sure I take out time every day for it, it not only makes me happy but also keeps me fit,” she says.
Work life balance
“Currently I’m focusing all my energy and time towards my site and Be Stylish. The book comes out on stands on October 30. I’m extremely nervous as I am excited to see the readers’ response,” she says.
She felt that there wasn’t any book in the market that catered to girls who wanted to dress different and make their own style statements. “The book covers everything from what style is, to the psychology of dressing. It not only talks about the dos and don’ts but also discusses how to dress different body types, how to shop and from where to shop,” she says.
Mumbai Delhi divide
She straddles both the cities for work and shows and one’s keen to ask her how she interprets fashion in the two distinctive cities. “I personally feel people in Mumbai are a bit laid back when it comes to fashion whereas Delhiite’s definitely make more effort in putting together a look,” she says in a matter-of-fact way.
Pernia cherishes her mother’s wedding outfit. “It is a very traditional Lucknowi farshia gharara. It was hand stitched by my grandmother and was passed down to me by my mother to wear and keep. It is something I treasure immensely and treat with utmost care,” says the fashion lover whose fave shopping destination is NYC.
“I not very picky with regards to where I shop from, I just follow my instinct and buy whatever I like,” she signs off.