Enticingly exotic with mocha skin, shiny locks, and seriously enviable eyebrows, Bangalorian beauty Lakshmi Menon is striking from every angle. With such a unique and lovely visage, no wonder she's logged miles on a myriad of runways┬--Givenchy, Hermes, and Michael Kors to name a few┬--and starred in ad campaigns and Vogue editorials alike. Yet while this leggy stunner can rock any catwalk look, it's her laissez-faire personal style that piqued our interest and made her the subject of this month's Model Off Duty.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of Menon's sartorial magic is her penchant for outfit-making outerwear. The resident muse of Ricardo Tisci often opts for simpler ensembles┬--centered around denim, informal footwear, and easygoing tees┬--yet always punctuates her casual vibe with a standout knit or leather piece. Not only do these over-the-shoulder choices immediately add polish to Menon's pared-down outfits, they also serve to showcase her unique spin on off-duty style. Take, for example, the way she dresses up her staple 7 for All Mankind Roxanne Jeans ($155) in Mercer in three different ways. Backstage at the Michael Kors S/S 10 show, she added a tan leather trench-style Richard Chai coat to her go-to denim; the luscious caramel hue balances both the casual spirit and the pops of color provided by Menon's vibrant Gap shirt and Converse CVO ┬ż Sneakers ($50), which she customized in green. Our MOD also trail-blazed with some all-weather leather backstage at D&G S/S 09 when she threw a Givenchy motorcycle jacket over her timeless bottoms and a gray t-shirt. We admire the way she nonchalantly finished the look with Havianas, further enhancing her brand of global chic. Finally, Menon was spotted making her jeans-and-sneakers combo look new again backstage at the Jill Stuart S/S 10 show when she added a Peter Som striped shirt and navy knit Chloe vest into the mix!
Yet, Menon's proclivity for hero jackets is not strictly relegated to her backstage attire. As an attendee at one of the S/S 10 shows at New York Fashion Week, Menon wowed us with her draped-front Helmut Lang Shadow Moleskin Jacket ($780) from the brand's F/W 09 collection, styled with a Yigal Azrouel shirt, Miss Sixty jeans, and killer Yohji Yamamoto boots for a supercool off-duty look. Later that fashion-show season, Menon was spotted out and about in Paris balancing a silky purple Savio Jon shirt with Yves Saint Laurent's Washed Shearling Jacket ($4100, 212.908.2970), which she punctuated with a pair of lace-up Derek Lam boots from the designer's F/W 09 collection. Never afraid to re-wear a standout piece, Manon got additional mileage out of that YSL bomber when she paired it with a Proenza jumpsuit and Burberry boots backstage at the Erin Wasson F/W 10 show.
One of the most exciting aspects about this stylish subject's aesthetic is that it can be easily recreated, so anyone can attempt Menon's brand of effortless cool! Following this fashionable lady's formula, start with any mainstay denim-and-tee base and add a killer coat. If a tan trench style tickles your fancy, try ASOS's Ink Trench Coat ($110)┬--a perfect choice for any transitional turns the weather can take! If you're still pining for a fur-lined version, snatch up Mackage's Kimora Black Jacket ($476) before the style flies the coop for spring, or shed that extra layer and opt for A.L.C.'s Limited Edition Leather Motorcycle Jacket ($995), which is a great investment piece and will dress up anything from light-wash jeans to a LBD. Additionally, we love the summery appeal of light-colored leather and can't wait to get our hands on Ever's Detroit Lambskin Leather Jacket ($795), Juicy Couture's
Moto Leather Jacket ($698) in Elephant, or William Rast's Leather Motorcycle Jacket ($495), all of which are seriously chic in their various milky hues. Much like Menon, we can't ignore the draw of draped leather, so we found an option in this category, too. Muubaa's Rib Detail Drape Leather Jacket ($339) has unique, waterfall detailing and will fulfill this missing wardrobe link.
If you're looking to line your closet with a few more Menon-inspired pieces to get her head-to-toe style, your search can end here! For a rich jewel-toned top like the one Menon gravitated to when spending some off-duty time in Paris, try Ted Bakers' Pleat Detail Racer Back Vest ($60) or the Scoop Neck Crepe Top ($420) from Vanessa Bruno's Athe line. When it comes to footwear, Menon tends to leave the fancy heels on the runway, instead opting for simpler flats that quietly enhance her laid-back look. If you'd like to infuse your ensemble with a pop of color ├á la Menon and her coveted Converse, go for Urban Outfitters' Canvas Lace Sneaker ($18) or Keds' Champion Sneaker ($35) both which would look adorable paired with a floral dress or pleated skirt for an off-duty day outdoors! However, if you prefer to walk a mile in one of our MOD's more amped up looks, try Loeffler Randall's Nell Lace-Up Boots with Back Zip ($627) over dark denim or black slacks for a simple and streamlined Menon-worthy look.┬--Liza Kaplan