Rachel Roy Makes Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed List

Two weeks ago, a fashionista friend told me, “I’ve never met a South Asian who was dressed well.” According to him, desis just aren’t as into haute couture as other folks. I didn’t bother debating with him, but that conversation did come to mind today when I read that Vanity Fair had released its 70th Annual International Best-Dressed List today. The list contains its usual mishmosh of high-powered political couples, actors and royals. And Rachel Roy, the Manhattan-based designer. You’ll remember her as the former Mrs. Damon Dash. Her website doesn’t mention it (noting that she’s a born and bred Californian), but according to the Wiki gods, Rachel’s father was a Bengali immigrant who came to the US from Madras.

Check her out in this video. (Loving how she says “while fashion is important to her [the Rachel Roy woman] and while she does love fashion, it’s not the most important thing in her life by any means. )

I scanned Vanity Fair’s 2008 and 2007 “International” lists. No desis. Unless you count Jemima Khan being featured on the 2007 list (and I don’t). So I want to know, if we could magically subtract the factor that is the brown-nosing Vanity Fair editorial board, what desis would you add to the best-dressed list? And please. No Padma Lakshmi. Or Freida Pinto. Or Anand Jon (*shudders). My friend N. already nominated the former Maharani or Jaipur, Ms. Gayatri Devi.

Routinely referred to as one of the world’s most beautiful women — Vogue magazine once described her as “a dream in sari and jewels” — she was a cosmopolite with a scrutinized wardrobe, a frequenter of elegant European resorts.

[Link.]

Okay, so we’ve got our Jackie O. (her words, not mine). Other additions?

46 thoughts on “Rachel Roy Makes Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed List

  1. According to him, desis just aren’t as into haute couture as other folks.

    LOL–this is like saying Chinese peasants aren’t into good food—I dunno, Hong Kong Chinese are real foodies. I’m sporting Pal Zileri any day I’m not headed to the gym and back (which is 2-3 times/week). I’m kind of fat, but my father also wears nice suits, and he’s grown up in Delhi–also my mother–wtf? I you’re rich and vain, you wear expensive threads, I’m not sure why this is being made a Desi issue. I’m a bad desi, though, I guess. . . .

  2. What kind of desi is named Rachel?

    Um, a lot of desis are named Anglo/Christian names. Rachel’s name is Rachel because her mom is Dutch, I’m thinking. At the same time, I know plenty of South Indian Christians and Pakistani Christians whose names are Rachael. Any Rachaels/Rachels want to chime in?

  3. I’m kind of fat, but my father also wears nice suits, and he’s grown up in Delhi–also my mother–wtf?

    I can only assume some folks believe that unless one is wearing certain brands that they consider to be “true fashion,” one isn’t truly fashionable. But everyone has different tastes when it comes to style.

  4. I love her clothes…I can’t really afford them but I love checking out her clothes. She has an Indian parent and a white (Dutch) parent.

  5. “I’ve never met a South Asian who was dressed well.”

    oh i beg to differ. ever since i saw pix of ms arundhati roy rocking a ghaghra of crushed cotton with mirrorwork, i said oy khoofi! you been missing the good stuff yaarr. for that matter, even le khoof has a plaid lunghi that is very flattering to the junk and deservign of praise. but the true award for fashion among desis . and i mean desi desi’s goes to this gent. if the sartorialist sez so, it muss’ be troo. warning tho’ there’s an extremely off-putting ad running on the sidebar. open link wiv caution old goitre.

  6. Two weeks ago, a fashionista friend told me, “I’ve never met a South Asian who was dressed well.” According to him, desis just aren’t as into haute couture as other folks

    Must be at one of the Starbucks or avant garde coffee houses, I am quite perceptive, you know.

  7. i like her cooking show, didn’t realize she was indian

    I also liked her in The Notebook. But I really don’t appreciate her commie screeds hating on Hindus, Narmada dam, US invasion whatever.

  8. i had no idea who padma lakshmi was, and then i looked for a photo of her, and oh my god, yum. ..adding that the first shot that came up is ms. lakshmi naked, so i’m glad i’m not sharing the office today.

    salman rushdie is a lucky dude.

  9. Phillygrrl,

    I think your “fashionista” friend doesn’t know what he’s talking about. If you need an example of a desi who dresses well, look no further than Waris Ahluwalia. Take a look through just a few images of him off of Google, and you’ll realize that man has style. I can’t really tell you about the fashion sense of the billion plus desis out there, but to generalize that desis aren’t into haute couture as much as other folks is ridiculous. Has he heard of Lakme Fashion Week? That’s just my two cents, and if your friend wants to meet a well-dressed desi, tell him he can send me an e-mail.

    The DA

  10. Wait a minute! Isn’t she the fabulously sexy lady who does that glorious commercial for somebody’s bacon cheese burger? If that’s the case, I can only echo the words Brendan uses in his brief, yet dead on target assessment of Ms. Roy’s effect on the typical unsuspecting male: “…oh my god yum.”

  11. They’re divorced! Sigh. I give up.

    What? Salman Rushdie and Rachel Roy divorced??? When?

  12. Pay attention man. Rushdie and Damon Dash divorced. Bell Biv Divorce has already recorded a diss track.

  13. If you need an example of a desi who dresses well, look no further than Waris Ahluwalia.

    Yes! Total fan of his style. I’ll let him know, thanks DA.

  14. I’m not a Rachel, but it seems limited to suggest “Rachel” is not an Indian name. Last I looked there are quite a few desis who are Christian. Last I looked, there are quite a few desis who have names that are not Hindu sounding. I’m not Christian but grew up with desis with all kinds of Rachel-esque names–Jerome, Malcolm, Irene, Stephen, Luke, Anna, Gertrude, John and even Rachel.

  15. I am inclined to say your friend is an idiot but I am not sure what desi circles he is moving in. Some of the best dressed people I see in New York city, men and women are desi. Also, anyone with some money can buy brands, doesn’t necessarily make them well dressed.

  16. Hitha had the nerve to ask:

    What kind of desi is named Rachel?

    What a shockingly ignorant question. What kind of “desi” is named “Anna”, for that matter? Oh, that’s right, a VERY Desi one, since it’s been used in families like mine for almost two-thousand years. I cannot believe there are still brown people who are unaware of the religious diversity which exists within South Asia. That’s offensive.

    .

    Dear grrl from Illadelph, I’m sure you realize it now, but Manju was joking about Rachel RAy at number 12 and your friend who thinks brownz cant haz fashion is just as ignorant as the person I pilloried above. I’d be happy to tell him that to his face. What about the odds? Out of one BILLION people a few will be swell-dressed. Who the hell does he think he is? Mr. Blackwell?

    The fact that he said that to you irritated me so much, I couldn’t even comment when you first published this post. Then I saw a distasteful question…and the gloves (which already had some stuffing removed) were OFF.

  17. When you say Rachel’s mum is of Dutch ancestry, does that mean she’s white and thus, Rachel is half white and half Indian?

    Arjun Rampal’s mother is also Dutch.

  18. Oh, that’s right, a VERY Desi one, since it’s been used in families like mine for almost two-thousand years.

    Same with my family. I’d better tell my cousins Jennifer and Joshua that they’re not really desi.

  19. High Heel Confidential always seems to have some well-dressed people among the various fashion dont’s or misses. I don’t usually know the desi celebs featured on there though. Well, I do recognize some of them, but they are the ones you said not to say. :)

  20. Anna, Philly girl: thanks for enlightening ignorant Hitha. same here : How about my mallu friends Helen, Mary, Serene, Stella. Because of the diversity in india, even people living in india are ignorant to many such things. isn’t it evident when all north indians address anyone from south of Nagpur as Madrasi( no matter they are from Kerala, Karnataka etc). My personaly experience had been: while working in Singapore a decade back, my workmates could not digest that I am an indian but don’t know Tamil.

    Good to hear from you Anna

  21. On a completely unrelated note, i come here to read Khoofi, Manju and Rob’s comments. Thank you. Please resume the entertainment.

  22. My personaly experience had been: while working in Singapore a decade back, my workmates could not digest that I am an indian but don’t know Tamil.

    My Goan friends from India tell me similar stories about being mocked for not knowing Hindi grammar/pronunciation better.

  23. What kind of desi is named Rachel?

    What kind of desi doesn’t know you can be desi with a name like Rachel?

  24. On a completely unrelated note, i come here to read Khoofi, Manju and Rob’s comments

    What?! Khoofi’s bolted ahead of me? I gotta stop relying on looks alone.

  25. There needs to be a sarcasm emoicon or something for the written word, because I seriously did not mean “What kind of desi name is Rachel?” I have half a brain to be aware of the diversity of names in South Asia, and would never insult my friends Noel, Lynette, or Paul to say that they’re not desi.

    Hot damn, SM readers. Keep the snark coming.

  26. That reminds me of the time I posted something on some article about Pakistan. And I made a short remark about Pakistan and got trashed for being some sort of jingoistic Indian until someone pointed out that I was actually Pakistani. Leaving short comments on a blog like this where people don’t know you doesn’t really work so well, sometimes :/

    And an issue involving names, which usually involves religion, can be quite polarizing.

  27. And an issue involving names, which usually involves religion, can be quite polarizing.

    Merely whipersing “Humperdinck” in Madras is known to result in communal riots. However, the Mercurys don’t seem to mind if you question the desinees of their name.

  28. Indians and Paks who visit the US are warmly united in stern disapproval of how the desi young dress: they agree that the desi adults born here are pretty ugly and look strange. see the fat bottoms in Columbia, the peculiar jeans, the really odd heavy sneakers. Just as well the parents do not have to find matches in Karachi or Pune. These visitors opine, Shahida (or Preeti) was so pretty as a child. It must be the junk food their kids ate. After all who knew America could do any wrong then? Look on the subways,any Sat morning and examine ‘Born in the USA’ If people do not have money or know how to layer the inevitable five layers in winter: Fine. They have not yet learned to move apprehensively while dressed like bolsters. But others, born here, have no excuse for being so rude and tasteless.

    Wonderful too, to see the dupattas at weddings, one end trailing on the ground.

  29. Indians and Paks who visit the US are warmly united in stern disapproval of how the desi young dress:

    Tru dat. My relatives often thumb their nose at gwen stefani. also, what kind of desi name is that?

  30. There needs to be a *sarcasm* emoicon or something for the written word, because I seriously did not mean “What kind of desi name is Rachel?” I have half a brain to be aware of the diversity of names in South Asia, and would never insult my friends Noel, Lynette, or Paul to say that they’re not desi.

    But insulting people is exactly what you did. It’s even worse to learn that you allegedly know better but would still type something so reckless and disrespectful. If you were being sarcastic, you failed. Why would that even seem witty to you? In what universe is that a clever comment?

    p.s. Are some of your “closest friends” Black, too?

  31. Rachel Roy is beautiful, and dresses beautifully.

    Her mother is Dutch in that she’s part of the 19th century Indian diaspora that ended up in Suriname, and then migrated to the Netherlands, Suriname being a colony of the Netherlands and all. So, in effect she’s ethno-racially completely desi, although culturally not so.