In the words of George Bernard Shaw: “Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby.” Taken from the pages of Pygmalion, this summer, 100 years since the play was first performed in Vienna, actress Harveen Sandhu is quite literally living by Shaw’s words, as applied to a woman, that is.
Stepping into a role made famous by Audrey Hepburn in the play’s musical adaptation, My Fair Lady, Sandhu’s turn as Eliza Doolittle for this year’s Shaw Festival production of the play (on stage until October 24th), promises a modern metamorphosis of theatre’s beloved flower seller.
At only 24-years-old, Sandhu‘s career boasts stage credits that traverse writing, directing and acting, of which include a breakout performance in last year’s acclaimed production of Natasha Greenblatt’s The Peace Maker, during the Next Stage Theatre Festival in Toronto, Canada’s premiere indie theatre showcase.
Having already been crowned a “prodigy” by Canadian theatre critics, dramaphiles will be sore to miss director Peter Hinton’s contemporary production of Shaw’s timeless tale for Niagara-on-the-Lake’s internationally renowned theatre festival. If the Ottawa-raised, Kenya-born actress’s own luminous charm and creative gravitas is of an indication, Sandhu’s incarnation of Doolittle will be a highlight of this year’s festival.
As beautiful as she is talented, the actress curates a personal style that sways one to trust her fashion expertise. Sandhu’s tastes leans towards the timeless simplicity of Audrey Hepburn herself, and in so far, she is the ideal audience for Montreal-based womenswear designer, Mélissa Nepton’s Fall 2015 Toronto Fashion Week show.
A beautiful hybrid of classic feminine tailoring, this season’s collection standouts were spotted in the form of a billowing printed dress, detailed with a bedazzled vintage mandarin collar, in addition to architecturally shaped coats, that had us in awe of their dramatic silhouettes.
Below, Sandu takes a moment to reflect on the trends that popped up on the Mélissa Nepton runway, while shedding some light on her own fashion likes and dislikes.
RATE THE IMPORTANCE OF FASHION IN YOUR LIFE. (10 BEING FOOD I.E. NECESSARY TO LIFE.)
Honestly, all things considered—food, family, friends, love, travel—I would have to say a five or so. Fashion for me goes hand-in-hand with feeling confident and feeling like myself. I don’t wear clothes to impress others, but rather, to feel most at ease with myself—confident and supported.
BASED ON WHAT YOU’VE SEEN AT THE SHOW, WHAT DO YOU PREDICT TO BE THE BIGGEST TREND TO HIT THE STREETS NEXT SEASON?
Chunky heels, dark tights and wraps. A lot of fabric—layers and different textures. Grey!
DO YOU THINK YOU’LL INCORPORATE THIS PARTICULAR TREND INTO YOUR OWN WARDROBE?
I suppose I already do to some extent! I’m no stranger to dark tights or dark skirts, and I love to be enveloped in warmth.
ARE YOU MORE A TREND PERSON OR A STAPLES PERSON?
Staples! I’m a big fan of staples and basics—in different combinations! I love colour—corals and aquamarine—but I find I gravitate a lot to black and white, too.
WHAT IS THE MOST EXTRAVAGANT PIECE IN YOUR CLOSET AND WHAT IS THE MOST COSY?
I have a silk purple and white vintage asymmetrical dress that I have yet to wear. The cosiest? A 100% white wool sweater hand-knitted from Italy. It’s something a fisherman would wear under his coat. It’s extremely warm. That, a pair of jeans and my cowboy boots, and I’m good to go.
IF YOU COULD TAKE ONE PIECE FROM TONIGHT’S RUNWAY HOME WITH YOU, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
The latex knee length skirt, any of the peach and white pocketed robe sweaters, and also any of the knee-length black flowing dresses with the high shiny collars.
WHAT CELEBRITY, DEAD OR ALIVE, WOULD YOU HAVE LIKED TO HAVE ATTENDED THE SHOW WITH TONIGHT?
Opera singer Maria Callas. An incredibly graceful and beautiful woman, as well as ferociously talented and witty. I think we would have had great fun together. Also, she had incredible clothes—that she designed herself!
WHAT SONG BEST SUMS UP THE CURRENT COLLECTION?
The second song in the show, I think! I don’t know who it’s by.
WHO IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON TO IMPRESS AT FASHION WEEK?
I wouldn’t know!
Mélissa Nepton Fall/Winter 2015