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Classic Style Icon: Zeenat Aman

During her expansive cinema career, the Bollywood star Zeenat Aman played an adulteress (Dhund), a cheerful prostitute (Manoranjan) and a cold-blooded assassin. Subverting the conventional Hindi heroine, Aman’s provocative approach was revolutionary both in terms of style and screen.

Born in 1951, Aman’s big break came in 1971 when she was chosen as a last-minute replacement for the role of Janice, in Dev Anand’s Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Janice is a Westernised hippie who lives in a commune in Kathmandu, embroiled in a world of excess and corruption. Janice’s estranged brother, Prashant, tries in vain to rescue her and the plot climaxes with her suicide.

Thankfully, Janice’s style is by no means a tragedy. Her bohemian look of floral and geometric prints is still rocking this season’s runway. Even the accessories take inspiration from Janice’s large gold hoops and tinted frames.

The 1973 Bollywood box-office hit Yaadon Ki Baaraat was another style success for Aman. The film traces the lives of three brothers separated by fate, as they search for the killers of their beloved parents. Aman played the the love interest of brother Vijay, and her role is remembered for her beautiful song You have already spoken my heart. Dressed in a sophisticated white V-neck and matching maxi-skirt, Aman was years ahead of her time, sporting the full white-out look currently favoured by the likes of Acne and Chloé.

Aman’s experimental yet sophisticated approach is usual but inspired for this winter. Whether you mix it up in monochrome or channel Seventies hippie, your look is sure to turn heads, even if your acting skills don’t.