articles by Manjima Bhattacharjya


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.

Fashion & Trends

Dressed to kill: The age of high fascism and fashion are inextricably and insidiously linked

Fashion was used under fascism to push their agendas. And certain fashion brands made money — indeed built their empires — through their complicity with fascist regimes | Manjima Bhattacharjya writes in 'Curious Fashion'

Fashion & Trends

The problem is not how Greta Thunberg looks, but how we view young women

Greta Thunberg came to our laptops, phones and TV screens without make up, without formal dressing-up, or hairstyling. She came with pain in her eyes, and anger, and words that seared. Was it enough? Apparently not, for many men who commented on her looks and 'plainness' | Manjima Bhattacharjya writes in 'Curious Fashion'

Fashion & Trends

Victoria’s Secret models call #TimesUp on sexual harassment; is fashion industry's #MeToo reckoning here?

Victoria’s Secret came under the media glare when over 100 models signed an open letter asking that the company do more to protect its models from sexual harassment, after allegations came up against several of their photographers abusing their models, and of other shocking cases of sexual assault, rape and sex trafficking.

Fashion & Trends

AI is making the fashion industry more intelligent — and expressions of style less individualistic

No amount of AI can create a Frida Kahlo or Lady Gaga; fashion delights us with its element of surprise, or when it cracks open a space for people’s own quirks to shine. An algorithm can do many things, but it can’t be you.

Fashion & Trends

Courtroom fashion: What the clothes we wear in court say about us as accusers, the accused or witnesses

Even if you’re not the one on the stand being judged, you have to prove yourself ‘innocent’ to be heard in court. If you dress like a ‘good girl’ — submissive, feminine, asexual, obedient — your chances of this are higher. Dress like a ‘slut’ and you’re guilty already — of dressing like a slut, if nothing else. Women participate in this charade, intuitively knowing these extra-legal parameters against which they will be judged in courtrooms.

Fashion & Trends

What is fashion doing in a museum? Notes on the spectacle that is the annual Met Gala

The Met Gala is a reminder to us that fashion is a visual record of our times. Only when we see it before us, in its historical and social contexts, will we be able to actually have a dialogue with it.

Fashion & Trends

Fashioning the dancing body: Tracing the evolution of the Bharatanatyam costume, from Devadasis to modern times

Throughout history, Bharatanatyam costumes have walked a tightrope between revealing and hiding the female form, reflecting the underlying conflict between the sensual and the spiritual as it evolved

Fashion & Trends

Karl Lagerfeld's death signals the end of an era in grandeur and spectacle — and misogynistic, thin fashion

Karl Lagerfeld epitomised everything that (today) would be considered “wrong” with the fashion industry. But he also epitomised its voracious appetite for success, for global stature, for perfection, for reinvention season after season after season, for spectacle.