Fashion hits & disasters from the Obama visit

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama bid India farewell yesterday after a three-day visit. Everyone talked about the renewed N-deal, the R-day parade and the town hall, but of course I’ll be talking about fashion. 🙂 Here’s my take on the fashion hits and disasters of the Obamas’ India visit. (More disasters than hits).

Disaster #1: Michelle Obama’s arrival dress

As her “arrival” dress, First Lady Michelle Obama wore a printed dress made by Indian-origin designer Bibhu Mohapatra. My take: not impressive! The floral print on the dress was too big, even for someone of her height and frame. Plus the lines across the dress added more confusion to the outfit. Maybe she could have skipped the matching jacket for a plain one.

Michelle Obama floral dres Bibhu Mohapatra

Disaster #2: President Obama names PM Modi a “style icon”

At the state banquet Sunday evening, President Obama stated, “The Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] is a style icon. I would also like to wear a Modi kurta.” Sure, while the Modi kurta is perhaps Indian politics’ latest contribution to fashion (remember Nehru jacket?), I don’t think PM Modi is a style icon. Yes, his wardrobe his carefully selected and he ensures he is well-groomed, but style icon? Nope! (one good reason below).

Disaster #3: Narendra Modi’s “selfie” suit

What looked like a pinstripe suit from afar at the chai pe charcha (evening tea), was actually lines and lines of the PM’s name all over. Take a look:

PM Modi suit tea with Obama

PM Modi suit tea with Obama

Now you know why PM Modi isn’t a style icon.

Disaster #4: … And the grey one

In the 1980s I remember all the male members of my family wearing grey “safari” suits, but the truth is that grey is not a flattering colour for most Indian men. But PM Modi wore light grey at the state banquet and well, didn’t carry it off. A darker grey or a navy blue would have looked so much better. And the tan shoes with the grey bandhgala? Oh no, no, no! :-O

Obamas PM Modi banquet

Hit #1: Michelle Obama’s state banquet dress

Ms Obama’s navy blue billowy dress with a gold and red print looked fantastic. She was a picture of poise and elegance as she greeted Indian VIPs. It was the right touch of colour, a pleasing print and totally appropriate.

Hit #2: Indian First Lady gifts FLOTUS a pashmina shawl

Awww… sweet gesture from Indian First Lady Suvra Mukherjee. I’m sure Michelle Obama receives plenty of gifts wherever she goes, but an authentic pashmina shawl is always special. I wonder if she will ever use it though? (No, don’t answer that).

 

Chic Chat: Fashion icons get candid in a WeChat group

Chic Chat: Fashion icons get candid in a WeChat group

This blog post is a contest entry for the IndiBlogger WeChat with Anyone, Anywhere! contest. You can check out the WeChat YouTube channel, and download the app on your iPhone, Android, Windows, Nokia or Blackberry phone.

Fashion is fun, but it can be a pain for the style icons of our time. The constant media glare, the ever-critical bloggers, and the omnipresent fashion police make dressing up a tough process for even the most stylish celebs. Plus, I’m a fashion blogger so in my imaginary WeChat group, I would love to have the hottest fashion divas with completely different fashion statements coming together. These icons are:

  • Vidya Balan, because of her traditional choices on the red carpet. (WeChat ID: VidyaBalan)
  • Sonam Kapoor, for her high-fashion obsession and versatile choices. (WeChat ID: StylishSonam)
  • Kristen Stewart because she is quirky, offbeat and can pull off everything,  from a punk look to a jumpsuit on the red carpet. (WeChat ID: KStew)
  • Lady Gaga for every outfit she wears is unconventional, makes a political or social statement and snubs all norms. (WeChat ID: LadyGaga)
  • Michelle Obama or Mrs O, because she turns every outfit into a classic noteworthy ensemble. (WeChat ID: MrsObama)

I will be creating the chat group and inviting the ladies. The chat will be mostly about fashion of course, with the divas expressing their take on fashion, red carpet, WOW moments and their style secrets.  And since fashion often courts  controversy,  the ladies would share what they feel about the drama surrounding fashion and style.

On a lazy afternoon, the chat would go something like this.

WeChat group name: Style Talk

Sonam: Oh god, I’m fed up of people talking about my nath at Cannes. I think it was a really cool accessory.
Vidya: Me too! Can’t they get over it already?
Kristen: Hey, what’s a nath?
Sonam: It’s a nose ring we wore at Cannes. Check this out!

Sonam-Kapoor-nath

Kristen: Oooh, that’s like really exotic.
Me: Exactly! I mean, come on. It’s like an Indian fantasy symbol or something.
Vidya: Hey, I don’t know what the whole fuss was about with our innocent nose rings! People have problems with whatever I wear, like my saris. 😐
Sonam: @ Vidya You look great in saris, but you could loosen up a bit! Like try some nice dresses,  blouses and stuff.
Vidya: WTH! No way, l love my saris, thank you very much. I don’t see the big deal about western wear. I don’t want to change my style!
Kristen: But heyyyyy, you should try on new clothes sometimes!
Lady Gaga: Yes girls, fashion uniforms are no good! I don’t have a uniform, and never liked the idea of one.
Mrs O: IMHO, you should wear whatever makes you feel good about yourself. If you’re comfortable with what you’re wearing,  it becomes easier to connect with people.
Kristen: But most times, I feel better about myself when I like try on something new or different. Or fun! Like this outfit at the Met Gala. 🙂

167730971BB00141_PUNK_Chaos

Sonam: OMG, I love that Stella M pantsuit. And your makeup is brilliant! Totally punk! <3
Kristen: Thanks *blush*
Lady Gaga: Hey Kris, I like that you’re so cool about your clothes. I love changing myself all the time. But yeah, I make sure I am always myself, not anyone else. Even in my music.
Vidya: Why can’t a woman be herself, and wear whatever she wants? Why should she wear what people or her family or friends or critics want her to wear?
Sonam: Touché.
Lady Gaga: You know what, to hell with critics. And society. And what people think is beautiful.
Kristen: That’s like your body revolution right?
Lady Gaga: Yep! Like I said last year to my little monsters, embrace your imperfections. They are just perceived flaws, but they are beautiful, just like you.
Vidya: @ Lady Gaga Well said! (Y) I’ve had people panning me for being fat and curvy, it’s ridiculous!
Lady Gaga: Hey Vidya, I admire your bravery. And it’s awesome that you stick to what you like best.
Kristen: You got awesome attitude @ Lady Gaga.
Sonam: Like the time you wore the meat dress!
Lady Gaga: Oh, that dress! It was the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. 🙂
Kristen: Really? Can’t be more comfy than my Converse shoes. 😀
Mrs O: Or the clothes I like to wear every day!
Sonam: You know what, Mrs O? I can totally imagine myself growing up to dress like you. I mean, we both love fashion,  love to try new brands and designers,  but we have our own statement too!
Mrs O: 😀 Remember don’t lose yourself in trying to be someone else.
Me: And you make it look so effortless! How do you manage to do that?
Mrs O: That’s a fashion secret. 😉
Me: Tell us. Pleaaaaaaasssssee!
Sonam: + 1
Mrs O: Find your favourite,  most flattering style and play with it. Like I love my clean-cut dresses, but I make sure even my formal gowns have a clean look.
Me: Yeah like the Naeem Khan Oscar gown. A dash of bling, but really classy! And see what I found.

Michella Obama in Isabel Toledo

Kristen: Woah, that colour’s called lemongrass, right? I could totally wear that!
Mrs O: Yep I love trying new colours and upcoming designers.
Me: Thanks for the secret, Mrs O. 🙂 How about we spill our own little fashion secrets too, ladies?? @Sonam wanna start?
Sonam: Wear feminine,  wear classics, and make your favourite brand your new BFF. You can never go wrong with an LBD or a girly blouse.
Lady Gaga: Girls, make a statement about who you are every single day. And just be yourself.
Vidya: I think it’s okay to stick to what you love best, no matter what people say. Indian women should really try traditional options.
Kristen: I don’t follow trends at all. Like I just don’t like peplums and didn’t wear one when everyone else was wearing it. I wear what I feel good in, what speaks to me. 🙂
Me: Awww,  thanks guys! I’m gonna blog about this. =)
Vidya: Great chatting with you lovely ladies. I am off for a Ghanchakkar event, wearing crazy clothes!  😛
Sonam: GTG too! Love you all, muah!
Me: Ciao! And keep it chic. 🙂

2009’s biggest fashion lessons

Bling it on!

Naeem Khan_Michelle Obama (1)As they say in the west, “Keep it simple, stupid!” They like to keep the bling factor very low. But back home, we just loooove to pile it on. Luckily for us, 2009 brought with it a licence to bling. From the ubiquitous shimmery lamé to fully-sequinned mini dresses, and  Naeem Khan’s gown for Michelle Obama, it was all about bling. And who could miss the handful of gold chains women threw around their neck. Thrilling times for Indian women. I couldn’t be happier!

2010 prediction:

Keep shining, all through the year! (And anyways, bling is never out of fashion in India). 

Why match, when you can clash?

The bolder fashionistas dared to experiment with mismatched colours, textures and prints. Before we knew it, everyone was doing it. You could wear a green shirt and offset it with a pink bag. Or a carefully mismatched sari blouse. In a nutshell, No one matched their clothes and accessories. I made the most of my bright red H&M bag, carrying it with anything and everything. I loved this trend because I could finally wear garments that were a few shades apart. So my sky blue shirt with bold silver buttons and my favourite pair of blue jeans didn’t look funny at all!

2010 prediction:

This one’s for keeps, at least for all of 2010. Make the most of it!

Belts are not just to hold up your trousers

Belt-Lanvin Spring 2009Turns out that belts are not so boring after all. From the runways to the streets, women wore belts to accentuate their figures, define their waistline and to make a statement. On the runways, Lanvin  used belts extensively in his Spring 2009 RTW collection, while closer home, Tarun Tahiliani used our own Indian belt – the cummerbund – extensively in his S/S 2010 LFW collection.

2010 prediction:

Keep the belts on, ladies, at least for the first half of 2010.

Saris are not just for our moms

I have always avoided saris like the plague—they were difficult to wear, uncomfy to dance in, and were meant for Kareena Kapoor in Green Sarimom and aunties. Circa late-2009: I insisted on wearing a sari for a family wedding, sorry, no lehengas for me. I even wore a kanjeevaram for the pre-Diwali office lunch. Maybe Manish Malhotra’s lovely saris for Kareena Kapoor at red carpet events did the trick. Us girls realised how a sari can actually make you look gorgeous, not an aunty at all.

2010 prediction:

Let’s go sari-hunting!