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#RSQStyleSpotlight: Priyanka Prasad reveals the sartorial notes of her subtle brand of maximalism

Priyanka Prasad In Rimzim Dadu

Yes, #RSQStyleSpotlight is back! And this time around, we are putting the spotlight on Priyanka Prasad, aka Latte Files, who happens to be a connoisseur of red lipsticks, saris, vintage moodiness, and well, latte. Not to forget, she is also one of the founders of India’s very first fashion blog – High Heels Confidential and Curiouser, a design and art studio. Her fascinatingly eclectic journey unravels how she manages to strike a balance between contrasting cultures and identities – say India or USA, fashion or art, vintage or contemporary. And she does it all in her signature blend of effortless elegance served with more than a hint of maximalist drama. In an email conversation with Runway Square writer Karishma Gulyani, she gives us a glimpse into her sense of aesthetics accompanied by her distinctive personal style, steeped in Indian charm and sartorial notes of travels past.

Priyanka Prasad Latte Files
Priyanka Prasad in Raw mango & Vintage YSL

Runway Square: How would you define your style?
Priyanka Prasad: I call myself a minimalist maximalist. I am not afraid of colour or prints, or even an over the top aesthetic (sometimes) but I like balance, clean lines, classic cuts, and non-fussiness. I also love the 50s and 70s – there will always be a bit of a nod to the era that will make its way into my aesthetic.

Priyanka Prasad Latte Files
Anamika Khanna + Bottega Veneta

RSQ: What’s your outfit recipe? And has the quarantine caused any changes to it?
Priyanka: One-part classic, one-part fun. Always comfortable! I don’t really have a formula, but I know I veer towards a more subtle brand of, there’s that word again, maximalism.
As for quarantine changing my outfit recipe – oh definitely! My shopping habits were already nearly there, but quarantine definitely sped up the process and got me to the finish line faster – buying less, buying quality, buying that which is timeless (to my style), and buying things that are multi-functional (can be dressed up, down and in-between). Also, let’s be honest, lately, all I have wanted (and living in) are roomy kaftans, easy pyjamas, and clothes that scream business on top and sleep-over on the bottom.

Priyanka Prasad Latte Files
Priyanka Prasad Latte Files
Balenciaga + Raw Mango

RSQ: How do you manage to add that Indian charm to every look? And what’s been the inspiration behind doing so?
Priyanka: I will be very honest here, it’s not a conscious effort. Good design is good design, wherever it comes from. And I am lucky enough to call two countries home which means I also am lucky enough to have access to good design from multiple places. I think that unexpected mix – say a Raw Mango sari with vintage YSL earrings or a Celine kaftan with Suhani Pittie choker is a nod to my roots ultimately. I love my heritage and if by staying true to my aesthetic, I can marry where I come from with where I am currently; it’s a bonus for me!

RSQ: Which are the designers that you love going back to?
Priyanka: Anokhi and COS have long-held premium standing in my closet; can’t do without either. As for designers, I keep getting drawn consistently back to Ikai, Raw Mango, Payal Khandwala, and Péro. I am also always on the lookout for vintage YSL and have a thing for Phoebe Philo’s Céline. 

Priyanka Prasad Latte Files
CHANEL + Ikai + YSL + Latte
Priyanka Prasad Latte Files
Sleeper PJs

RSQ: How do you master the art of balance between dressing up for yourself and for Instagram?
Priyanka: Since I predominantly work from home (even pre-COVID), I always make sure that for at least a few hours a day I dress up. It really helps with discipline and makes me think of “going to work”. It also keeps me from sinking deep(er) into my couch. Though I try not to get sucked into the IT trends but sometimes, just sometimes, I’ll fall hard (hello Sleeper feather-trimmed pyjamas), and then, it’s on to dressing up with a touch of self-loathing. Even then, Instagram might make me buy it, but I am definitely not dressing for the ‘gram. The best part about being on the wrong side of the 30s? You really truly don’t care anymore!

RSQ: Beach, mountains, or cities – which do you connect with the most in terms of style and aesthetics?
Priyanka: Cities, definitely cities. But I’d like to carry the mystique of mountains around me, so if you know someone who’s bottling and selling, let me know.

Priyanka Prasad Latte Files
Priyanka Prasad Latte Files

RSQ: And has travel changed the way you style yourself?
Priyanka: Yes. You can’t help but take away from your travels. The more you see, the more you hone in on what you love and what works for you. 

RSQ: If you had to give us and RSq readers a few tips on evolving one’s style, what would those be?
Priyanka: Imagine yourself in five different places, with five different sets of people at five different times. Pay attention to how you are dressed. You’ll be surprised how easily you can distill your aesthetic down to one or more common elements or mood. That will be your core aesthetic. Now, play off of it!
As for style, the best part about it is how it organically evolves with us. Where we are in our lives, the lives we lead, the circumstances, the means, the access, the travels, the people we love and lose, and even living through a pandemic – it all leaves a mark and it should. If you are still dressing like how you did ten years ago, you are doing something wrong. Having a signature aesthetic is good, being in a style rut is not!

Priyanka Prasad Latte Files
Priyanka Prasad Latte Files
YSL Earrings

Photos Courtesy: Priyanka Prasad

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