Okay. Her dimples and sarees didn't get the votes for Bhaiyya in U.P. and Akhilesh is the new God on the block. Why not? 38 and raring to go. A.Y. has turned out to be the real game changer in this key election. Is Akhilesh Yadav the face of New India? Is he the Obama we have been waiting for? Too early to crown him just yet. But why do I get the feeling the results would have been qualitatively different had Priyanka taken the plunge???
People are asking whether Mayawati is learning to dance to the Baby Elephant's Walk?
This appeared in The Week. Timed to co-incide with the Fashion Week in Delhi and slap (hopefully embarrass!) a few of those over- rated designers strutting their bakwas, bekaar stuff on the catwalk.
Priyanka G : Ishtyle icon 2012
Eat your hearts out, fashion designers. There’s one truly stylish individual in India who doesn’t need you! She doesn’t need designer gear, nor high street labels . Nor does she need to hire the services of a pricey stylist to put herself together each time she steps out. The fact still remains that Priyanka Gandhi is perhaps the most photographed woman on the sub-continent! Her every public appearance, is a media event. She hogs more mind space than India’s biggest fashionistas. And she does so effortlessly clad in nothing more ‘fashionable’ than a simple hand spun cotton saree, worn with a modest blouse with three quarter length sleeves. What could be more basic than that? Even so, these days Priyanka tops every poll that celebrates style.Howcome? It has to do with the x-factor. Some call it personality. Others prefer to describe it as charisma. Priyanka has it. Today, it is out there, and there’s no hiding her enormous crowd-pulling skills anymore. There are some blessed individuals who project undiluted magnetism .They don’t need image consultants or media managers to hog the limelight. Of course, it helps to be seriously good looking, which Priyanka most certainly is. But what cannot be faked is charm. Natural, unadulterated charm. When Priyanka smiles, that fetching smile reaches her eyes. When she waves to the crowds, she connects spontaneously… instantly. This is a gift, and so long as she does not take that gift for granted or misuse it, Priyanka will continue to win countless hearts.
Diana, dubbed the ‘People’s Princess’ was another such person. Except that Diana had an army of advisors who safe guarded her precious image ( not that they could help her when she most needed protection). Besides, she was dressed by the world’s top couturiers. Priyanka uses no make up and wears no jewellery . Diana’s tiaras, carefully coiffed hair, and slinky gowns enhanced her natural sex appeal. Priyanka’s admirers point out her wholesome, fresh faced, non-synthetic appearance, which reminds old timers of her imperious grandmother, Indira Gandhi . But unlike Indira, Priyanka’s personality is distinctly softer and decidedly feminine. Her impressive height and toned body would make her the darling of the fash- frat, if she but chose to play an obliging mannequin or a designer’s muse. Though she has been frequently spotted at Fashion Week, occupying the front row, her own outfits even at these high profile events have been discreet and understated. Clearly, Priyanka knows what she is most comfortable in - and that’s her own skin.
World leaders these days, women in particular, are under impossible public scrutiny. Michelle Obama, being the U.S. President’s wife, cannot escape a laser like examination of her wardrobe, with hundreds of international fashion sites, micro-analyzing her every public appearance. It is said women like her and Carla Bruni can make a young,unknown designer’s career go through the roof by wearing his or her outfit to a high profile event. That would hold true for Priyanka, too. She, more than any Bollywood actress, could be the game changer in the fashion business, where a celebrity’s endorsement counts for a lot. Instead, she chooses to support unknown weavers and promote craft skills of neglected regions of India. Much like her mother and grandmother before her. This is sending out a powerful message to the rapidly growing fashion industry in India. Young designers, particularly from the North East , are focusing on reviving looms, embroideries, even silhouettes that reflect regional aesthetics and sensibilities. Urban designers who have already made it big in the business are rethinking their strategies. Perhaps, scaling down on bling. Will skimpy, bikini tops worn with low slung sarees ( beware: Ameesha Patel is on the prowl), become a thing of the past soon? Will the wretched mermaid-style, embellished lehenga disappear altogether? I have my fingers crossed. My hopes are pinned on a graceful young woman, who could well become India’s ‘saree champion’. If someone like Priyanka does indeed manage to revive interest in traditional , beautifully woven sarees, chances our we won’t have to kiss the classic six-yards goodbye. Or else, the saree may go the way of the kimono in Japan and get converted into nothing more than a ceremonial dress that’s pulled out and clumsily draped for special occasions like weddings and funerals. About Priyanka’s severe , solid coloured saree blouses, I’m not as sure. Priyanka, with her long, slim arms can pull them off without looking frumpy. The rest of us unfortunate creatures do need a little oomph to liven up our sarees…. and lives!