Sheetal Mafatlal: The Good Life

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Photo: Vikram Bawa

Couture, carats, caviar and champagne – the four Cs sum up her luxe-lit lifestyle in totality. Born to businessman the late Manhar Bhagat of Nirlon Group and married to one of the well known business families in India, entrepreneur and socialista Sheetal has been eclipsing the world of style and business over the years. Having been exposed to the best and the ultimate in international and Indian couture, the glamazon has proved that no one in the Bombay social scene can even come close to her inimitable personal style.

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Photo: Society

When she was 16, the young fashion enthusiast would often visit Milan scouting labels and a fresh design energy. Her quest to trace that uniqueness in high fashion, haute joaillerie and horlogerie was unparalleled and she was one of the biggest Versace buyers in the country. It was hardly surprising when Donatella designed a one-of-its-kind wedding lehenga exclusively for the Ritz addict.

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The socialistas’ day closet comprises of labels like Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Haider Ackermann and Giambattista Valli while her choice of evening couture remains  Azzedine Alaïa, Balmain, Valentino, Emilio Pucci and Versace.

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A shoot of Sheetal from Vogue Italia

In my capacity as a society reporter, I have interviewed many society ladies from the upper echeleons of Delhi and Mumbai over the years and most of them have often told me, “We like to mix designer brands with High Street.” Well, nothing wrong with that!

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Photo: Vikram Bawa/Society

However, Sheetal does not believe in that concept. The fashion-forward stylissma likes to combines her Dolce bustier with an Alaia mini-skirt like a lethal cocktail or wears a Manish Malhotra anarkali with a pair of spiky Christian Louboutin heels.

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Photo: Vikram Bawa/Society

Besides her envy-inducing fashion sense, Sheetal is often talked about for her extravagant indulgence in off-the-wall jewellery pieces, which she sources from myriad international jewellery auctions, she graces. At the HELLO! magazine soiree held last year, the czarina wore an embellished one-shoulder Emilio Pucci gown with a pair of vintage earrings from the 40s era. Sheetal likes to do her own make-up and clearly does a fantastic job of it.

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Her entertaining skills are of legendary proportions too. If she is hosting a dinner for you at her sprawling and rarefied Altamount Road apartment in the heart of South Mumbai then you can easily expect some monumental hospitality: mood lighting, inspiring flower arrangement, perfect choice of background music, exquisite wine and of course gourmet food. Her sense of humour is infectious and there’s never a dull moment in her company.

I still remember the moment when she had floated into the foyer of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai at the Lakme Fashion Week to support her very dear friend designer Manish Malhotra. Wearing a pair of animal printed strappy sandals with a Lanvin one-shoulder jewel-toned dress – the energy she injected into the surroundings was palpable as each photographer present there clamoured to take a better picture of her.

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Over the years what keeps this stunning lady glowing is her unshakeable self confidence and her ability to laugh in all situations. In a scenario where most social specimens are coy about their luxe lives, Sheetal remains adorably unapologetic about her extravagant lifestyle which makes her even more real and iconic. 

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