Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fashionistas: Icons or Victims?

This appeared in Bombay Times on Monday.
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With fashion and more fashion coming out of everybody’s ears… and more fashion weeks ( ooooof! Add to that jewellry weeks) being celebrated across India than all the religious festivals put together, it’s a wonder fashion fatigue of the extreme kind hasn’t set in and crippled the diehards so far. But the answer to a key question still remains : How does one tell a fashion icon from a fashion victim? These days every second starlet who can afford a pricey foreign frock or the latest ‘it’ bag, stakes a claim to that dodgy title. And , of course, lazy bums that we are in the media, we willingly go along and fall for the hard sell. You know what they say – repeat something often enough, and the gullible start to believe it’s the gospel! Bollywood of old truly threw up its own divas and icons without the help of smart P.R. and other minders \ spin doctors who manufacture images for a fat fee these days. Nargis, The Lady in White comes to mind. Or even an adorable sex kitten called Mumtaz ( whose daughter Natasha is married to Fardeen Khan). There were several others who inspired two generations of Indian women with their very distinct style statements. Today, the ball game has changed to an extent that any skinny wannabe with a stylist at her beck and call can happily and rather grandly call herself a style icon without blushing.
The international definition is vastly different. If Posh Beckham is hailed for her worldwide appeal, it is because she created a whole different look that was widely imitated by thousands of women who wanted to clone her style. Ditto for Paris Hilton. While in Hollywood, check out Jennifer Aniston and her uber cool quotient. These women look like themselves and don’t follow fashion diktats. Sure, they may have their favourite designers, but when they put themselves together they do so with aplomb and individuality. Here, we foolishly crown someone a style icon because she has the dosh to travel and buy couture from the latest international collections. Or, she is slim enough to get into impossibly fitted LBDs given to her by her personal stylist. Never mind that the effect is just so ‘catalogue’. That goes for a lot of our truly bizzaro socialites who preen away in fashion glossies and talk glibly about their latest acquisitions not realizing how silly they look and sound. A true fashionista doesn’t need labels to define her identity – she defines the labels with her personality. If you ask me, the one Bollywood gal who is on the button most of the time is Kangana Ranaut. Here is a real fashion success – a small town girl who has made good in a remarkably short period of time, and established her own sense of style that has nothing to do with someone else’s yardstick of what’s fashionable. There is an edginess to her that makes her an attractive clothes horse, whether draped in a net saree or a red carpet gown. One just gets the feeling she is doing it her way – and doing it well. The others who are trying a bit too hard for that elusive title, should take a tip or two from this girl.
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Strange how we make our movie choices – I don’t feel like watching ‘Lafangey Parinday’ because I don’t like the title. The film has received mixed reviews ( more on that subject in a bit), but somehow, I feel like I’m done with the synthetic tapori talk and the ghasa peeta genre that tries and fails to capture the ambience of a Mumbai chawl. Neil Mukesh, with his skin tone and features playing a gangster’s lackey called One Shot Nandu ? No chance. Deepika, a Maharashtrian mulgi? Ummmm… maybe. But since most reviewers believe it’s their duty to reveal the entire story ( like the lengthy blurb on a DVD cover), even the surprise element is gone. That did it for me. That was also one of the reasons why I didn’t watch ‘Aisha’ ( there was nothing left to figure out after reading those ‘reviews’). But I do intend catching this one ( even if it is likely to ruin both, ‘Clueless’ and ‘Emma’ forever), to check out newbie Amrita Puri’s performance. She has been getting raves and most agree she is the sole saving grace of the film…. even if she disappears mysteriously in the second half… and without her sparkling presence, the movie loses its charm.
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I watched a recent Marathi film titled, 'Zenda' ( minus sub- titles), and was totally blown away by its extraordinarily bold content. It is unambiguously about the Thackeray family - they are all there - Balasaheb, Raj and Uddhav - projected brutally and fearlessly by the film makers. There is nothing that isn't stated about the family rift and its ramifications. It shows Maharashtra politics and politicians in a way that is shocking and raw - strictly no filters. The goondagiri, threats, venality, corruption and compromises. That theatres weren't burnt down or pelted with stones when the film was playing commercially, is a wonder. It deserves a much wider audience. It is such an eye opener... and the performances were consistently competent. Perhaps, for once the Thackerays are on the right track when they are demanding prime time slots at multiplexes for Marathi movies. Why not start with 'Zenda' ???

26 comments:

obssesor said...

The question is..is there an audience for prime slots and if there isnt why should the Multiplexes take a loss?

anamika said...

De...Deepika will be glad if you wont watch her movie... you are joining Rajeev Masand league..

By the way..you got your own fashion style?


http://www.wiseshe.com

Radhika Gupta said...

well, these days, anything that is bizarre and unusual becomes a style statement...strangely, style is now associated big brands and labels rather than simplicity, innovation and elegance..

wise donkey said...

maybe the hollywood divas have better stylists.
but i do agree that everyone claims to be fashion icon.

+++
hmmm so thackeray's don't watch marathi movies?

Shwetha said...

Sonam kapoor came to mind when you refered to "so called" fashionistas that have plenty o moolah to get 2011's fall collections before 2010 has ended :))

Her dress sense is so boring and in your face. She actually copies the run way models who walk for the designers..copies them right to their hair style and shoes.

She reminds me of a kid in fancy dress competition at high school with rich parents.. well oh well

Trisha said...

Right on the money again, Ms. De. I am referring to the fashion victims and so called fashion icons who think donning Chanel and Louboutins' is what makes them have "style" or "dress sense" - There is a lack of individuality in almost all of today's actresses, I totally agree that Kangana is an exception. Great choice you have there! Very well picked. Though the fashion critics might nit pick @ her faults, noones comes off looking as awesome and chic as her. I actually cringe whenever anyone refers to Sonam K. as having great fashion sense...Spending $20k + on every look and still looking average just shows that money can never make up for no personality/individual style.

Great read Miss De. The wannabe fashionistas should take a leaf out of your book as well, great dresser and even better writer. Love you.

A young fan in the U.S.

cmpershad said...

"repeat something often enough, and the gullible start to believe it’s the gospel!"

GOEBLE'S TRUTH :)

krunal said...
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rt said...

yups agree widd u on kangana...
she looks gorgeous 90% of time...and yesterday's bangalore times had her in a egyptian sorta look..which somehow dint look so funny or OTT ..wheras if someone like sonam or deppika wud have worn it i wud have laughed my heart out!!

Sun said...

so she got in your bad books with her tweets...but c'mon! LOL...all those veiled barbs at Sonam Kapoor!!!...ur being such a kid! LOLOLOLOLOL

Sparkling said...

Fashion Victim :)))
True,'Aisha' fits the bill to the tee... I felt as if I was watching sad, pathetic version of TVC's on Gucci and L'oreal.

Akshay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Akshay said...

I think ur one of the lucky few who did not undergo the torture i.e. "Aisha"......it was one the worst movies i have ever seen...it went from being bad to worse to unbearable...I have been a victim of some crappy chick flicks but this was way too much...

BTW excellent post!

avidblogger said...

Hi Shobhaa...you're so right on the fashion victims part. Wannabe's just think that by wearing labels they can appear fashionable. So many of them just look so pathetic and hideous. Compare that to some Hollywood beauties who come on shows wearing just blue jeans and a white shirt, look absolutely stunning and are oozing with style because its just so them. They dont ape anyone. They just wear what they feel comfortable in and carry if off so well. I guess,in India one can look equally stylish wearing FabIndia clothes if you know how to carry them off. To me fashion and style is what you feel comfortable and confident in and not what other may want to see you in.

Harman said...

lots of information to gather from your blog!

swapna said...

I saw u on koffee with Karan n u said u dint think Devdas was worthy of being screened at Cannes.u also said it was just a costume drama.my question is how come u hv mentioned Devdas as ur favorite movie(referring ur complete profile tabs)
Hypocrisy n u r so not made for each other.

swapna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pratap said...

Shobha

Zenda was released many months ago.
Avdhoot Gupte, the director, sought "approval" from both the cousins.
I guess you didn't notice that the thug Rane's even more thuggish younger son openly (on TV!) threatened Avdhoot and made him change the name of one character - the one showed as a minister. Hence the name was changed from Malvankar to whatever it is now. As if that would hide the reference.
I agree its quite the blunt and bold film.

Madhu said...

I have a feeling that the Shiv guys have given their approval about this movie. One cannot fathom saying one belongs to India while residing in Maharashtra. So, this movie for sure Shiv Sena approved.

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*Aham* said...

lafange parinde... i totally agree with you... i wonder why they chose such a cheesy title like this one.

guess after Parineeta - Sarkaar gir Gayee.

and dipika, she plays visually challenged in the film . the best role- tailor made for her would be that of a Brain Dead. Where she could be sightless, voiceless, feelingless- all at once. She could have SoNumb for competition too.


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Zenda, me bhagitla naahi. but will catch this film for sure. I feel marathi cinema has great value, we could think beyond the ashok sarafs and sachin pilgaonkars type of cinema. I just watched Kadachit. Faar chaangla film.

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Sensuality - wallah.Mumtaz.. what a fataaka she was! even the raj kapoor heroines who dint slip a pallu ever, but shed it all for him.. in front of them most of aaj ki sex kittens are cheeni kam.

pehle we used to wait for films and heroines.. to enter in the frame...

today sometimes they are an eye sore. i mean there is too much unorgasmic masala in bollywood. (though the department of Marad Log has become spicier)
for women in bollywood it is like...

"aayegii toh WELCOME, nahi toh BHEED KAM"

chatty said...

in defense of aisha and lafangey parindey - whats the harm in some light masala entertainment for the ones who dont keep up with the fashion weeks or are not from mumbai to know if the tapori language is synthetic? and to say zenda is so much better, is like comparing apples and oranges!

Sleep-Walker said...

I love world movies [bergman,godard,antonioni etc etc]... and I watched Aisha.I am alive.there is no harm in watching a chick-flick like that in a country where every mindless Karan Johar movie makes huge profit at the box office.Cmawn,i dnt knw abt the guys but for a girl to 'hate' some light-hearted scenes,designer wears and good looking men would be veryyy weird!!!i think Aisha should be watched in a weekend after a hectic week,when u r cursing ur boss,ur maid and everything else in betwen....

dina said...

wht do u have against sonam kapoor...it seems like u r after her life :P

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