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??