Our influencer for the week is the well-known stylist Prayag Menon (Insta handle: @prayagm_v). Prayag’s foray into the industry was incidental when he began styling shoots on his own at home, as an outlet for creative exploration. Completely self-taught and with no formal training, Prayag draws inspiration from his perspective on lifestyle, aspiration and the people he interacts with. His work resonates a sense of minimalism and timelessness. Read on to know more about him.
1) Being a commercial pilot, how did you get into styling?
A) I was always interested in fashion. Though the leap from pilot to stylist was a happy accident! My partner (photographer Porus Vimadalal) who’d recently entered the industry at the time was to collaborate on a test shoot with a stylist, but she had to cancel a day prior due to unforeseen circumstances; and I offered to jump in to style the shoot. I remember everyone really liked the shoot when it was out, and subsequent to that Porus encouraged me to start styling. I also started getting offers to work on other shoots and there was no looking back since. I am completely self-taught and have learnt consistently from each shoot I’ve worked on.
2) What’s your personal style all about?
A) Clean and restrained mostly. I like incorporating a sense of balance in terms of colours and silhouette.
3) Do you remember your first fashion shoot? Tell us more about it.
A) It was in the summer of 2013. We worked with some beautiful Roberto Cavalli gowns that a friend had recently acquired. The model was the beautiful Rasika Navare; now one of my closest friends. We shot a series of pictures in a studio and I still have that shoot in my portfolio; it's classic and beautiful.
4) Who are the photographers you love working with and why?
A) My partner Porus Vimadalal is definitely someone I love working with the most. I have learnt a great deal from him ever since I got into fashion. We have grown together in the industry and our aesthetics are completely aligned, which makes every shoot experience with him seamless and wonderful.
5) What are some of the biggest challenges that you face as a stylist?
A) One of the biggest challenges is dealing with commercial clients and a set brief which is not always familiar to your aesthetic. I have learnt from experience that it is necessary to stand by your opinion and choose how much you want to budge. It's fine to meet someone half way, but provided its mutual.
6) What are some of the things you do to get inspired for a concept shoot?
A) My work is straightforward in terms of fashion being the focal point. Inspiration arrives via many mediums; it could be a story I read somewhere, or someone I meet, or just my imagination. I then pick a trend which appeals to me and add it to connect the story. Conceptualisation and ideation are an organic process for me, I don't spend time consciously researching/studying or following a particular method.
7) What are you currently working on?
A) To name a few projects; I have a fashion editorial that is out in this month’s issue of ELLE India. I have also styled Verve Magazine's February cover story, and then I've worked on Miuniku's SS17 lookbook along with some more exciting projects releasing over the next few months.
8) What would be a dream collaboration for you?
A) I'd like to work with Marion Cotillard.
9) What or who has greatly influenced your work and how?
A) The women I've met in my life have played a huge role in the development of my work. These aren't necessarily women who are in the fashion industry; they come from diverse backgrounds. My relationships with them influenced and heightened my love for understated elegance, the idea of a lifestyle that is more cultivated and refined, not ostentatious. Through my work, I like depicting women as assertive and effortless; attributes inspired from the women in my life - independent and fearless, who live/have lived life on their own terms, and who make their own life choices.
10) What’s the best thing about being a stylist?
A) For me; the best thing is how work doesn't feel like work. It is something I truly enjoy, and never tire of.
11) Favorite fall trend you can’t seem to get over?
12) What advice would you give to a young stylist who is just starting out?
A) Start easy, explore different sensibilities before you settle into what your comfort zone is. It's totally okay to make mistakes and learn from them. It’s important to constantly seek inspiration in what’s around you. The most important pearl of wisdom I was imparted with, and that I'd like to share is: Do not seek approval from others. Take constructive advice but in the end just do what you really believe in. Your style should be an extension of who you are as a person.
Photo Credit: prayagmenon(dot)com
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