Perhaps I am over reacting... but I think not! When a top international fashion designer informs the world press that he finds Indian poverty 'chic', it's time to slap the guy! In any case, Chanel's latest Paris-Mumbai Collection is derivative and passe. If our ladies want to wear angarkhas and anarkalis, with gigantic maang tikkas, why would they go to Karl? We have our own amazing designers and jewellers who do a far better and certainly more authentic job of our traditional wear.I am inspired to design a 'Les Miserables' line as a response to the falling euro,
This appears in Bombay Times today...
Un-Klassy Karl needs a reality check!
It’s all about the context (Kontext?). And a vexing language issue. When the iconic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, made that preposterous comment on India’s poverty ‘being chic’, one wonders what he’d been smoking when he said that? As one of the most powerful people in the rarefied world of international fashion, surely the venerated senior designer could have given better thought to his callous remark. It doesn’t get any ‘posher’ than Chanel. Let us assume Karl was paying a tribute to India. But the bottom line remains the same - he was actually trying to sell more frocks. Pricey frocks. India-inspired frocks. Period. Where does poverty come into it? Karl’s haute couture gowns come with price tags that could possibly feed an entire Indian village for a month or more . His latest collection is opulent as opulent can be. But, ummmm, I can’t recall the last time I spotted a poor Indian loaded with so much jewellery. This particular collection had Karl’s lissome models walking around with elaborate ‘maang tikkas’ and exaggeratedly large Polki-studded neck pieces . The show was staged in a grand salon with glittering chandeliers casting a mellow light over tunics and drapes that our own darzis across India do a far better job of. With all that brocade and lame, the collection was spectacular if unwearable. But clearly, Karl was testing the waters. Who doesn’t want to come to India these days? Europe is largely broke. And all those fashion conscious global ladies who love the luxe life are wondering how they are going to pay for those ridiculously expensive gowns now that the euro looks ready to nosedive further. With a recession that’s imminent, Karl and his friends are going to find the going tough indeed. India beckons! But if this is Karl’s way of wooing Indians, it is likely to backfire. The insensitivity of that casual, throwaway comment has not gone down too well with the desi fashion frat. Poor Karl. What he must have meant is entirely different. Of course, our rich textile and craft traditions are rooted in rural India. Had the couturier said he was ‘inspired’ by our village communities, all would have been forgiven. Monsieur Lagerfeld, hire a good translator, s’il vous plait. Tout suite!
Compare Karl’s inane observation to what our maestro Sabyasachi (“Sabya” to devotees) has achieved in his own inimitable style. Sabya is all set to launch a brand new Khadi line, and another one that’s more of a tribute to the iconic Freida Kahlo. From the time Sabya started his career as a designer, he has stuck to his roots, and celebrated India’s embroideries and weaves in his own unique way. But there is nothing condescending about his vision. Perhaps some desi designer (Manish Arora?) will be in a position to introduce ‘The New Poor’ of Europe to the world and make a strong fashion statement during the Paris Fashion Week next year.Till then, we can assure our gareeb log not to worry. Karl-ji finds them very chic!
‘Azad’. What a terrific and apt name! Trust Aamir and Kiran to pick an unusual and meaningful name for their newborn son.Don’t we just love it? Welcome to the world Free Spirit!