A Peek Inside Lakshmi Menon’s World
Supermodel Lakshmi Menon is always in the spotlight for her work, but she strives to keep a low profile. She divides her time between homes in New York, Goa and Mumbai. On a Sunday afternoon in Mumbai, she spoke to us and gave us a rare peek into her life.
She enjoys a good dinner above all else
“Because that’s when family sits down and everybody has the time to have a conversation, open a bottle of wine and eat good food. It’s the company of people during dinner that makes it special. Breakfast happens on your own time, lunch is always on the go, so I prefer dinner when everyone’s done with their day and settled down. That’s when I catch up with friends and family.
My parents are in Kerala, my brother is in Bangalore and my friends are all over the place so it’s a case of travelling to meet them or them visiting me. In New York and Mumbai, dinner is the meal where I end up meeting all my friends. It’s more of a social thing for me, whether it’s at home or in a restaurant. I genuinely love eating. I haven’t been on a diet ever in my life, I’ve never believed in it. I’ve always enjoyed a hearty meal and the way to do that is through exercise on a regular basis.”
She’ll take up a project if she vibes with you
“As far as fashion is concerned, it’s the team that I’m working with – designers, stylists, hair-and-make-up artists, and photographer. An entire team comes together to create a unified vision. It definitely depends on the people I’m working with, how everybody gets along, the group dynamic. At times it involves people from different parts of the world who don’t speak English but you’re still able to communicate through what it is you’re trying to do.”
She’s won’t take a break from pilates
“The other thing I’m particular about is exercise: I do pilates and work with a personal trainer at home as well as in New York. When I get off a flight I make sure to work out within the first day because that helps your body get back on track. The other thing about jet lag is that you’ve got to watch the sunrise and sunset on the first couple days so that your mind is tuned in with the light. It’s just small basic rules that I follow so that I don’t suffer.”
She lets her wardrobe adapt
“With me, it’s a mood thing. I wake up in the morning and wear what I feel like. Right now I’m in Mumbai, on site with my boyfriend and normally I’d wear jeans, a T-shirt and sensible shoes at a construction site but today I felt like wearing a dress. I didn’t feel like putting on a pair of jeans. One also has to dress for the climate and culture so that you don’t disrespect anyone, especially in India. If this was a construction site that I wasn’t absolutely familiar and comfortable with, I wouldn’t be wearing a dress.
My wardrobe in New York and India, during the summer months especially, is kind of seamless. It could be a long kurta-churidar with a lovely belt and Kohlapuri chappals and people on the streets of New York will stop me and ask where I bought it from. I like the sense of India in my wardrobe – it’s not that I’m wearing a sari everyday but it’s tiny things that I add, jewellery, accessories, a churidhar with a long shirt, or ganji. You’ve got to have fun with it. I don’t care too much about being on-trend; in fact it has whittled down to that one thing that I want every season. Of late, I’ve been shopping vintage in New York and found some beautiful things, which I can wear any time I want to; I’ll wear them even when I’m 50 years old.”
She’s big on these essentials
“I think it’s important to have a white men’s shirt – I usually borrow my boyfriend’s – and a beautiful pair of jeans. They could be a $900 pair or $80; how it fits and how you feel in it is what matters. A great pair of ballet flats and you’re good to go.”
“I love The Row for daily essentials – all their stuff is pretty timeless and classic. I love Celine for the very same reason. I’ve been wearing Isabel Marant a lot lately – I like bohemian chic. Alexander Wang t-shirts, Haider Ackermann’s clothes are beautiful, and Dries Van Noten is another favourite. This year I saw a pair of Dior shoes from the Fall collection that I really love – the embroidery on each shoe is different. I like the odd thing by a designer that I wouldn’t usually wear – I think it’s on that basis that I buy clothes.
She’ll invest in timeless pieces
I have phases when it comes to jewellery. It happens when I travel because I tend to forget, and I worry about losing the things I have. But I’ve recently fallen in love with the work of a Swiss jewellery designer called Esther Brinkmann. She makes the most incredible, one-of-a-kind pieces that she crafts herself and they’re stunning. My pashminas and jamavars are also a staple in my travel bag. There’s always a time anywhere in the world where you might need that shawl.”
She’ll happily curl up with a book on a beach
“The beach is perfect to unwind and I have a place in Goa where I get to swim, eat good food, meet up with friends. Reading helps a lot – I’m a big buyer of books, either a novel or a book about art or photography, especially in Mumbai where I spend a lot of time in a car. I like to have something to look through.”