The Indian billion-dollar heiress to $77 billion IT services giant Infosys, Akshata Murthy, may have completed an MBA at Stanford University and undertaken a successful stint in the finance and marketing world. But the Prime Minister’s wife has remained a fashion lover first and foremost.
"Ever since I was a little girl I have always loved clothes. My mother, a no-nonsense engineer, was always baffled why I would spend so much time creating different outfits from my wardrobe,” the UK’s first lady Akshata Murthy told Vogue India in 2011.
In fact Murthy left her finance job in late 2009 to pursue her own eponymous clothing line full-time after studying at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in LA. "Clothing is the most literal expression of my creativity, and I’m equally passionate about history, so this business allows me to merge those two worlds," continued Murthy to Indian Vogue. "Developing these collections provides me with an ultimate sense of creative fulfilment."
The brand’s collections were co-collaborated with artists from remote villages across the country who Murthy discovered, with pieces being designed using traditional Ikats, Chanderi and Mysore silk which the designer would pair with tweed and wool. Despite the label closing in 2017, Murty has continued to translate her love for traditional Indian fabrics and styles into her stunning occasion wear choices. Most notably at a British Asian Trust reception at the British Museum the politician wife donned a white one-shouldered sari featuring traditional Indian embroidery, which she accessorised with a beaded coach purse.
The business woman also pulls for more traditional English fits during high profile events, such as her long black dress coat accessorised with an alice band and face veil which she wore while standing next to the former First Lady Cherie Blair on the balcony of the Cenotaph for the National Service of Remembrance last October.
In her day-to-day sartorial choices Murthy opts for understated luxury, pairing high end brands with accessible finishings. "It’s as cool to hang an original Gond painting in a New York penthouse as it is to own a creation by an established artist. I apply that same logic to clothing: Why not wear a hip summer frock inspired by cave paintings in India and team it with a Marc Jacobs scarf?" She has said of her own personal style, which has manifested in chic navy T-shirt dress, double breasted tartan blazer and Gucci trainers at Frieze last October, as well as a a yellow zebra print Ganni dress and black studded sandals get up while darting around Downing Street in 2021 when Sunak was Chancellor.
The Times recently claimed that Murthy is “dressing down” to seem more relatable in her new Downing St abode - especially considering she was lambasted for her non-dom status, which was called a “gross misconduct of wealth” by the British press and the fact the couple are supposedly richer than the late Queen Elizabeth with a combined net worth of £730 million. This means we’ve been treated to a triumph of high street looks, including a £50 H&M gilet and a Tory blue £165 dress by high street label Club Monaco during Sunak’s campaign trail last July.
As the Sunak family settle into their new Number 10 residence, where we’ve already been treated to a fabulous suede JW Anderson slipper moment and a stunning polka dot skirt, expect plenty more.