An entrepreneur with his finger in many pies, including the Nanking restaurant in Delhi, Raja Dhody claims to be in retirement. Not that it has slowed him down. He is excited about the new guest suite in his home, and a men’s accessory line is in the works. We got a glimpse of his closet—alarmingly the size of a “normal” living room in Mumbai—which has a drawer full of belts with eclectic buckles and a whole rail of white shirts, among other things. Dhody talks about the upcoming accessories line, his fetish for spectacles with coloured frames and his shoes. Edited excerpts from the interview:
How do you dress for business?
For business, I usually just wear trousers and a shirt; I don’t wear a suit. I hardly ever wear ties—I just hate them. My friend Avinash Punjabi does some amazing stuff, really brilliant, as a matter of fact. A lot of people go to him. I never used to get a suit made in India, I just found that they could never do it well. I used to buy all my suits abroad but I find that Avinash does a really fantastic job. He’s made some really funky stuff for me. I feel it’s nicer to get your trousers custom-made.
Cloaked: Dhody in an Emporio Armani jacket, a new acquisition (Kedar Bhat/Mint)
What do you wear around the house and how does that differ from when you go out?
I’m most comfortable in my T-shirt and jeans, that’s about it. Or if I’m totally alone, maybe track pants and a T-shirt. I’m still a jeans and T-shirt kind of guy for when I go out, maybe a shirt sometimes, but recently, for some strange reason, I’ve started dressing up a little more. I don’t really plan anything, there’s never any major effort put into it, but you have to go out looking semi-decent
What are your ‘go to’ brands?
I shop mostly at Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana. But for jeans, I somehow still prefer only Zara. I find that they fit really well. Emporio (Armani) as well these days. These are the brands I’m quite fond of. In London, I shop in the big department stores and Covent Garden has a lot of tiny boutiques that are great. There’s a reasonably priced Chinese guy there who makes some amazing shirts.
A white Dolce , Gabbana blazer
Tell us a bit about the accessory line you’re planning to launch.
It’s a line which will be basically in silver with precious stones, and non-precious stones. I don’t see much happening for men so I think it’s about time! It will be for anyone from their 20s to their 50s and even 60s. Since it’s men’s stuff, it will be belts, sunglasses, bracelets and pendants. I’m just taking my time because I want to do it properly, not just the regular stuff you see anywhere; kind of something along the lines of Chrome Hearts. It should be ready in about four months or so. I’ve had a few thoughts but I haven’t hit upon a name yet, let’s see.
What’s the one accessory that’s a part of you and you wouldn’t be seen without?
I actually have a few of them. Right now, I have a fetish for glasses. On my last trip I bought about 10 different colours. I have blues, pinks and reds, and that’s something new for me. I’m wearing Carreras right now, but I’ve got everything you could think of, some really funky ones. I’ve gone a bit berserk. Otherwise, a really good belt and an excellent pair of shoes are really important to me. I love my watches and have a collection of unusual pieces. I can’t buy the Hublots and that kind of stuff—everyone has them. I’m wearing a Harry Winston at the moment. I have some Gerald Gentas, some really crazy Piagets—it’s a regular brand but the ones I have are really unique.
How about jewellery?
Right now, I’m wearing this leather bracelet that I bought for about €20 (around Rs 1,340) in Ibiza a few months ago. I have a lot of this stuff and it’s pretty good, it’s lasted me almost three months already. I picked up a lot of stuff (on) that trip and it was quite funny—I was staying on a friend’s yacht and I went there wearing all this stuff. The next thing you know, he comes back wearing the same stuff as me! We had a good laugh about it.
Gucci jacket, a well-worn favourite
What do you recommend to friends?
I definitely make recommendations when they’re buying watches. When they look at brands that every second person seems to have, I always tell them to get something unusual. I was wearing a really nice Chopard watch recently, one of my favourite watches, and my daughter Nadine really likes it, so I just took it off and gave it to her. She couldn’t believe it; she got really excited about that.
Are you particular about shoes?
Ninety per cent of the shoes I wear are by Cesare Paciotti. I’ve been wearing them for years now and I’m constantly adding to my collection. Now, I get a pair or two shipped every month from the store in New York. Some of the Louis Vuitton shoes are nice but I’m still more of a Paciotti fan.
Have you ever made any phenomenally bad style decisions?
There’s one which always stands out. I used to play a lot of squash and I used to wear a turban those days. I wore this red patka with a red T-shirt and white shorts and I paired it with a crazy pair of red and white socks. I went there looking like such a fool! I’ll never forget that day ever. And I was playing with Sanjay Dutt and I’ll always remember the way they laughed at me that day.
Deep focus: Glasses are a favoured accessory and Dhody has various pairs, many of them Gucci or Carrera.
Is there any aspect of your father’s or grandfather’s style that you picked up?
I think it’s the other way around in my case. For many years, my dad would come around to my house and whack all my T-shirts. I used to play a lot of golf, so I always had a good collection of T-shirts and I mostly wear Boss T-shirts for golf. I think my dad still whacks them, but right now, I’ve lost a bit of weight so he doesn’t fit into them!
What’s your favourite piece of clothing?
Right now, it’s a couple of jackets that I just picked up. One is a Dolce and the other is by Emporio.