We chat with the ever-stylish Shibani Dandekar-Akhtar about life after marriage, her festive style mantra, and the creative pursuits keeping
By ANANYA BAHL
A Multicultural Start
Right from the beginning, my career took me to different places. Growing up in Australia, and then living in New York, London, and
now in India—each phase of my life has taught me something. Travelling and living in various cities allowed me to experience things afresh. It taught me to adapt to new and unexpected people, places, and situations, and that’s a skill that I will always carry with me. It’s
also taught me about the person I want to be. You learn what’s good for you vs. what isn’t. And I continue to learn as I travel even now.
I’ve been lucky to experience some gorgeous destinations. I can’t forget a diving trip to the Maldives, where we spent six days on a
boat. You stay on the boat, and dive three times a day. My life has been enriched by that trip: whether it’s the community of divers or
the glorious sea life. It puts your life in perspective. It was an incredible escape that I will remember forever because of the feelings it created within me. The second one would be my first trip back home (Sydney) after I got married—my sisters and our husbands along with my parents, just spending time together as a family. Bliss!
I adore Tulum in Mexico. London is my second home. I do prefer travelling through Europe—Croatia, Berlin, and I would love to see Santorini in Greece. I wish to see more of France and Italy. In India,
I love Rajasthan and all its cities. Goa is an eternal favourite. And yes,
I love Kerala—I went there for a 10-day shoot and was taken by its magical ambience, incredible food, and happy locals.
That Festive Feeling
As someone who grew up abroad, I think the festival of Holi made me feel truly alive. It’s such a beautiful occasion—the colour, grand scale, and absolute fun—I found myself drawn to it. Even though I didn’t get to play it as often as I liked because of not being in India, it still holds a special place in my heart. Diwali was all about waking up at 5 am and having my mom rub oil on my body, which is considered an auspicious tradition. I love how it’s a family affair!
Fashion Tips for the Season
Explore everything that’s out there and see what you connect with. Indian fashion has come a long way so there’s something for everyone—classic or contemporary. Play around with vintage pieces from your mum or dad’s wardrobe and add a modern touch to it with new-age jewellery. I think it’s wonderful to celebrate festivals through what you’re wearing—tell a story through your fashion choices!
My Favourite Foods
I love anything that’s coated in sugar and deep-fried! Sushi is my absolute favourite dish. I recently visited Turkey and fell in love
with its food. I’m a huge pasta girl. London has a great food scene
and Dubai’s restaurants are among the best in the world. I am partial to Australia’s eateries, too. Next, I want to eat my way through Europe!
Style to Me Is…
All about expressing myself! Whether it’s a slouchy, oversized vibe, something androgynous, or feminine—it really depends on what
kind of day it is. I do like to follow trends but only if they match my vibe because that makes it authentic. For festive looks, it needs to
be something that works for my silhouette, personality, and mood.
That can range from super traditional to slightly edgy, depending
on the occasion and Indian designers’ innovations.
On the Face of It
I’m not blessed with the best skin, so I need to put in that extra effort. My routine comprises a cleanser, exfoliator (a couple of times a week), followed by a toner, vitamin C serum, and hyaluronic acid. I usually put on a face cream after that with a little bit of eye cream. Sometimes,
at night, I add some oil for a gentle face massage. As for brands, I like Decorté, Kim Kardashian’s Skkn, and my sister Anusha’s BrownSkin Beauty.
In many ways, life after the wedding has remained pretty much the same. In other ways, it’s much better. We are in a comfortable, happy space and are really enjoying it. Even though we were already living together, being under the same roof after marriage adds a different layer to the relationship dynamic. We are the best of friends and enjoy each other’s company— we have a lot in common. Farhan and I do enjoy our space, but we are also a couple that likes to do things together. And to retain the freshness of romance, we travel, work out, and enjoy discussing our work. We make an effort to sit down and talk to each other as friends. It keeps the friendship alive and, thus, the romance alive. When you’re living with your best friend, it’s pretty great!
Just Around the Corner
I’m moving into my first role as a producer. It’s for a project with Netflix. It’s the most fulfilling phase of my life—I just know this is
the right time! I am excited to learn, grow, and sink my teeth into
it all. Stay tuned!
Quick Shots with Shibani
Top 5 Indian designers you love
Dhruv Kapoor, Payal Singhal, Jade, Anamika Khanna,
Arpita Mehta, Kanika Goyal, and Huemn—that’s more than 5!
Mountains or beaches?
One thing you want to steal from your mom’s closet
Spa holiday or adventurous experiences?
One thing most people don’t know about you
That I’m super excited to become a producer!
The best thing about marriage is…