articles by Manjima Bhattacharjya


Queen Charlotte and her crowning glory: The wigs of Bridgerton Season 2 aren't just architectural marvels but a representational win

The wigs of Bridgerton Season 2 make a statement about Queen Charlotte’s multi-racial background with dreadlocks, cornrows, braids, and the different textures of Black hair that they represent.

Arts & Culture

Reflections on the Hijab ban: In fashion world, an act of cultural pride subverts logic in a polarised world

For young Muslim women in India caught between the state and society, there is little space for them to define themselves outside of the hijab.


Monochrome Man: Aesthetics over authenticity, and other emotional choices in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi

Gangubai Kathiawadi's costumes do not get care to detail by Sanjay Leela Bhansali in a world he claims he knows. They are all broad strokes, everything painted with one massive brush devoid of historical accuracy or authenticity.


Kapil Sharma's all-black suit to Hannah Gadsby's suspenders and pants, how stand-up comedians choose what to wear

Watching Kapil Sharma: I'm Not Done Yet on Netflix India made me ponder over what the costumes of stand-up comedians say about them.


More is more, less is a bore: Appreciating Emily in Paris Season 2’s unapologetic maximalism in minimalist Paris

Parisians might be known to be chic but they dress rather plainly, often in monochrome. It is left to an American like Emily and her posse of immigrants to bring colour (lots of it) to the city in Season 2 of Emily in Paris.


Sooryavanshi to Satyamev Jayate 2, why the new-age police costume in Hindi cinema seldom goes beyond a khaki blur

Gone are the days when the reference to a ‘police ki vardi’ referred to the sanctity of the uniform, and the police-protagonist was sometimes incorruptible, a symbol of integrity, or of simmering anger against the system in which they were a part.


The Morning Show is a stylish reminder that power dressing only lends false notion of authority in a man's world

The Morning Show, Season 2 of which wrapped up this week, accentuates that power dressing remains more a money-spinner fashion vertical than a meaningful challenge to male power at the workplace.


Gender in cinema through the lens of costumes: How Rashmi Rocket uses styling to define who's 'seen' as a woman

As far as defining gender through costumes in Hindi cinema is concerned, we have come a long way from Anjali in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to Rashmi Rocket — but do not pop the champagne yet.


The rise of fashion journalism: A discursive industry shift has ushered in a new wave of fashion writing

The last few years in India have shown a welcome boom in good fashion journalism, even as fashion magazines have closed down. What has brought about this shift?


Appropriated by fashion brands as a 'desert scarf', the keffiyeh remains powerful symbol of Palestinian resistance, solidarity

As much as fashion brands remove the political edge from powerful cultural symbols, the reality will not allow for it to happen. The keffiyeh will continue to be a reminder to the world that Palestine continues to be unfree. That Palestinians exist, that they resist.


Anthony Powell, three-time Oscar-winning costume designer, often found the sweet spot between story and style

Spanning almost four decades, Anthony Powell’s body of work looks like a capsule of Hollywood history, from Agatha Christie mysteries to Indiana Jones adventure films.

Arts & Culture

Intimate City: Looking anew at long-held feminist understandings of sex work, choice, consent and agency

It is evident that engagement with sex work has broadened feminists’ ideas of who should have ‘rights’; revealed women’s agency as being diverse and unruly; expanded and complicated conventional notions of choice and consent; and offered us another model of bodily autonomy.


2020, the year of the fashion film: As a pandemic forced an industry reckoning, a novel medium made an impact

The fashion film is an interesting anomaly — not an ad film, not a feature film, perhaps a niche subset of the short film genre.


Emily Ratajkowski's allegations against Jonathan Leder exposes how artist-muse relation, consent are viewed

'As I read Emily Ratajkowski’s tale, I thought of many of the stories I had heard amongst the models I had interviewed that struck a similar chord,' writes Manjima Bhattacharjya in her monthly column, 'Curious Fashion'


What lies inside cupboards unopened since the lockdown: Memories of places and people, and a reminder of who I am

Perhaps I didn’t open my cupboard through the lockdown because it came with a huge and unbearable side-serving of nostalgia.


For global fashion industry, impact of coronavirus pandemic presents both crisis — and opportunity to recast itself

The fashion industry has taken a hard hit due to the COVID-19 crisis. From the material to the spiritual, the supply chain to the ideological basis of its existence — every aspect of the industry is being wrung out to dry because of what’s being called ‘fashion’s Darwinian shakeout’.


Rishi Kapoor (1952-2020): Saluting the actor, beloved star — and costume designer’s dream

From the oversized goggles in Bobby to the silver jumpsuit of Karz and the infamous sweaters in Chandni — Rishi Kapoor carried his screen costumes with a rare kind of dazzle.


New York City is not just epicentre of coronavirus pandemic, but of fashion history and women’s rights

Oh New York, New York. A city so incredible you say its name twice like a prayer.

Fashion & Trends

Wendell Rodricks passes away: Fashion designer is too small a term to encompass the multitudes that was Padma Shri awardee

Perhaps it was this fierce closeness to his roots that brought Wendell Rodricks such international acclaim. By being unabashedly local, he was truly universal.