Thursday, May 21, 2009

Catwalk Queens....

The sweetest little get- together took place last week, and I was delighted to be a part of it! Salome Roy Kapoor called to say that a 'tribute' had been planned for Jeannie Naoroji, the undisputed Godmother of fashion shows in India. She turned 84 recently and is in frail health. Salome took it upon herself to gather as many of Jeannie's 'models' as she could locate, so we could all let the fashion doyenne who taught us the ropes, know how much we love her. It was a brilliant idea, and I am just so glad I could make it on a really busy saturday afternoon.
When I walked into the party room on the first floor of the Gym, Jeannie was already holding court - it seemed like nothing had changed! The empress was just being herself! There were some really outstanding ladies present, like Rachel Reuben, Anna Bredmeyer, Nandini Sen and Lubna Adams. But for me the surprise package was Katy Mirza!!! Katy was a pioneer in her own right - she became the first Indian girl to be hired as a Playboy Bunny way back in the 70's. Hugh Hefner sure picked them well!! Katy worked at the Playboy Club in London and then disappeared into the woodwork withjout a trace. Till Salome found her.I hugged and kissed Katy enthusiastically - she looked just great! And yes, the legendary assets are still as impressive!
Most of the other 'girls' looked pretty terrific too, and had spontaneously put up an impromptu fashion show just for Jeannie .We all spoke nostalgically about those magical years and remembered our many triumphs like the unforgettable Calico shows staged across India which people of a certain vintage still talk about.
I raise these issues now only to point out how far this industry has come from the time Jeannie taught us the basics of getting the rampwalk discipline right . She was a strict and unbending teacher who contributed to our overall personality development.... and all this for a modelling fee of 150 ruppees that we earned! There were no stylists, hairdressers or make -up artists. We managed on our own with poster paints and improvised kits. Aaha - no wardrobe malfunctions back then but plenty of oomph, nevertheless.
Jeannie was given a beautiful memento and honoured in the traditional Parsee way. It was a sentimental journey for all of us.... but as Salome rightly pointed out, " It's best to host such a felicitation programme while the person is still in our midst and able to appreciate the gesture."
I've suggested a Charity Fashion Show featuring us oldie goldies - Jeannie's Girls - sizzling on the catwalk one last time for a worthy cause. Any takers??

21 comments:

introspection said...

That is a beautiful post Shobhaa. Took me down the memory lane. All the names that you mentioned are all too familiar as I too have been associated with fashion shows, albeit in a different way. Salome is a dear friend, and has been from the days when she paired with Nazir Mitha. You did'nt mention Meher, or Mala. What about Nafisa Ali..? did'nt she do some shows too as the water baby..?
I worked with Jeanie, Rasna, salome, Shanti, Lubna and Anna in Bombay as well as in the Middle East. Amazing shows...!!
It's a great idea to have a Charity show featuring jeanie's Girls. Kudos to you & Saolme.

Ria said...

A nice post.

Shachi said...

A good post - I don't know any of the people mentioned above but will definitely read up on them :) And go ahead with the Charity Fashion show - will be FUN :)

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Such feelings of nostalgia... and yes, it dates me a bit. The names you mentioned are those at I looked up to as fashion icons as a school girl. A gaggle of friends and I were always shoving and pushing each other for mirror space, trying to copy their make up and hair and thier glamorous attitude. We just wanted to be a glamorous as them. In fact, we wanted to be them!

A charity fashion show is such a great idea! I hope it all comes together and does happen. And ofcourse I hope you do it while I am in India on vacation, so that I can see all these acomplished and glamorous women as they are today.

I think it will be wonderful to see them as starlike as ever but with the edge that life experience brings to all of us. To see them in thier element will also reassure me that I too am growing in life and not just old.

Too often we deify people when they are gone. It is perhaps more convinient to do that, because it is easier to love a unidimentional memory rather than a whole person with flaws and virtues intact. It is less trouble that way.

However, your friend Salome is right. Paying homage, or an expression of love is much more meaningful while the object of our affection is still able to appreciate it and know how much of an impact they have made in our lives.

There is never a better time to show how much you care, than when you can express love to a whole person with all thier quirks and virtues intact.

AnjuGandhi said...

I do remember reading about those the legendary assets of katy Mirza which were the talk of the town at that time

itsakash4u said...

u only believe in talking talking nd talking...
Cannt u hear what the ppl r saying.

u r a complete attention seker.

Theyoginme said...

My friends from 10th grade are organizing something similar, we were only 15 or 16 then, left the school after that to different schools and different places, but somehow the bond existed and it was strong enough to bring all 58 back together through this virtual world. Such connections never die.

Christine said...

Hi Shobhaa,such a good idea to celebrate a person during their life rather than waiting until its too late..
Rachel and Lubna were absolutely fantastic models- the others were a wee bit before my time :)
Having a charity show is sure to draw an audience.. please keep us blog readers posted,I will be in India year end and would love to see you on the ramp in all your glory!
also- I am coming to india to attend my sisters wedding and have searched hard on the net for a retail outlet for your sarees..I saw a youtube video posted on mid-day.com and fell in love with your collection.Would you be able to tell me where I can purchase them from(I live in chicago and will be visiting Mumbai/Pune)... thanks.

Gajendra said...

wow, that would be something....

Bindu Nayar said...

awww! that is sweet

freakaholic said...

Dear Shobhaa,

A post that flows straight from the heart. Nothing can match the glimpse of the past in its setting. It would be great if the beauties are back on the ramp and shake that hip in tandem :)

numerounity said...

Hmmm...Reminds of good ol' days of Indian Fashion and Media...

In some nook of my house, i still have some cut outs of the vintage publications...I still remember the article on Devika Bhijwani with the retro styled pictures...

Hey, I do write...Spare some sometime and visit my blogs.

My latest is "Bachchanalia"...a light hearted post...Do visit and give your feedbacks there...

Hope to see you :-)

http://ektakhetan.blogspot.com

Zillionbig said...

that was a realy good post, thanks for sharing your experiences.TC:)

nerio said...

Reminds me of a message I received on Parsi New Year....
"Some people spend their whole life trying to be perfect ( or should I say PURRFECT in this case!), while others are just born PARSIS".

A superb post, Shobhaa.

pooja raathore said...

Dear SD,
Good idea it will work for simple reason, it will be different from regular shows and it is for a good cause.

romulus said...

"It's best to host such a felicitation programme while the person is still in our midst and able to appreciate the gesture." - Couldn't agree more! :)

Shobhaa De said...

Guys, this isn't hard sell, I assure you. But since I have been asked about my sarees in this space, let me just tell you they are available at SAMSAARA boutiques across India.
And more recently, I have started making floaty caftans on demand, ever since friends began tearing mine off me ( joking!). These are available exclusively at 'The Oak Tree', Colaba and Bandra. Enjoy!

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With Regards
Manjesh Kumar

DK said...

..someone would then have to go way way back and get Gulnar, Vivian, Nandini Sen that used to be part of the shows...Jeannie N = ICON!

maha said...

excellent post....

Work from home India

ruchi said...

pls can someone tell me where the verry first fashion show was held????