Waris Ahluwalia best known for his roles in Wes Anderson movies and his House of Waris jewelry line looked at us quizzically at Saturday's Elise Overland presentation, as though trying to remember if he'd met us before. "I actively chose a while ago to go, I'm not going to remember anything," he explained. "Sort of a meditative thing: I thought I would keep my head clear, and thoughts would flow in and out. And then I became an actor." There are occupational hazards to this M.O., such as memorizing lines or awkward social encounters. "We were up in Hudson, on the street. This guy comes up: 'Hey.' I'm like, 'Hey, nice to meet you.' And, like, beginning of the summer we had spent a weekend at his house," said Waris. But he has adopted a credo passed onto him by Simon Doonan: "Be unoffendable." We decided to hold him to it.
Waris, a Sikh, keeps his hair tightly coiled under a turban. How long, we asked, were his locks? "I cannot believe you asked me that!" he said. "It's down to the hips." Nearby, a girl with her back to us had her hair up in a bun. "It's sort of like that," he said, cupping his hand around it. She spun around, looking slightly bewildered. Waris didn't flinch: "Unoffendable!" He's removed the turban in movies like The Life Aquatic and Inside Man, but never for a photo shoot. So which fashion magazines would he take it off for? "Purple. And I'd do it for L'Uomo Vogue. I believe in art, and I believe in ideas and concepts," he said. So, no Men's Vogue? "No." What about Harper's Bazaar? Waris pointed to his turban. "They get this." Waris is currently playing a hypochondriac in a film he hopes is Sundance-bound. Does he draw on his own neuroses for the role? No, he said, sounding a bit disappointed. "I wish I had some kind of weird tendencies. I try to."