Naeem Khan at Fashion Week

Designer Naeem Khan showed his Fall 2012 collection at New York Fashion week. Worn by the FLOTUS and on the red carpet, his work is often in the public spotlight. Titled “The Body As A Canvas: From the Mughal Paisley to the Hindu Tilakas” the show brought Indian-inspired bling to the runway.

The Washington Post writes that “there was so much beading that the audience in the front row could hear the pieces chiming against each other as the models walked.”

The New York Times India Ink interviews Khan and asks about the inspiration behind his latest work. Continue reading

Gonna Dress You Up in Pattu


People Magazine recently spotted Padma Lakshmi’s young daughter wearing a colorful, traditional outfit. Will celebrity-watching fashionista parents soon be on the lookout for tiny pattu-langas (apparently also called pattu pavada) at their local baby boutiques? Perhaps, though they might have better luck finding these children’s outfits at online bazaars.

I can’t remember my first pattu-langa, but there’s probably a picture of me in it in one of my parents’ photo albums. When we were growing up, my sisters and I, and more recently my niece, were dressed up in these silky, shiny outfits for special events or big family parties. The langa or skirt part of my outfits was longer, going down to my feet. But I also like the style worn by Krishna because in addition to its pretty purple hue, its shorter length looks like it could be easier to wear while toddling around as a baby.

Hit up YouTube for more pattu-langa cuteness.

Photo: desiVastra Continue reading

Converse throws out its new shoes

Only someone in a Purple Haze could have come up with a design like this [thanks for the tip Ankur]:

Converse is longer selling a pair of Chuck Taylors that depicted guitar legend Jimi Hendrix as a colorful, multi-armed Hindu deity.

The company says the shoe–a part of a fall collection in memory of Hendrix–will no longer be sold because it offends Hindu culture. [Houston Chronicle]

The shoe company said that the inspiration for the design came from the 1967 album “Axis: Bold as Love.”

My take on this is the same as always. This stuff (taking artistic license with religious iconography) doesn’t insult me in the least as long as the intent behind it isn’t explicitly malicious or to stir up trouble. I’ll admit, I may have even bought a pair. I know many of you will disagree (and some will secretly want a pair too).

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What’s Behind That Blouse?

…oh, wait! In this case, we know. So! Sometimes, less is more.

More scandalous.

More tawdry.

More of a “hot mess” (Thanks, Cicatrix.)

Via the Daily Mail:

She has a legacy of wearing revealing dresses. But it appears at the age of 44, Elizabeth Hurley is still not ready to give up the game.

The actress attended the Love Ball charity fundraiser last night in a dazzling blue sari WITHOUT the cropped top, a Choli or Ravika, which is typically worn underneath it.

Ravika? There’s a word I’ve never heard. According to Wiki, it’s Telugu. The more you know (Ahhhhhhh!). Back to shiz, I mean, Liz:

The mother-of-one left nothing to the imagination in the ensemble, showing she still has the voluptuous figure to carry off even the most risqué of numbers

I think she could have shown that even with the briefest of blouses. But I’m a rude prude. Some have said that she was probably caught unaware, much like Alexandra Kerry was at Cannes. What, you think Kerry knew her girls would show through? I don’t. She would’ve worn different knickers, if THAT were true. But back to Miz Nangi. I agree with the Daily Mail:

As someone used to attending showbiz parties, she would probably have been aware of the revealing glare of the paparazzi flashbulb.

But it was unclear whether the revealing nature of her outfit was a ‘sheer’ accident or intentional.

Liz was accompanied by her Indian textile heir husband Arun Nayar, who she married in 2007.

Adding to the craptacular effect? Those wild raccoon eyes. Sure, there are smoky eyes and then there are cautionary tales about the dangers of shadow and liner, when applied with a spatula. Perhaps I’m being too harsh? Did any of you find her fetching? Or does the collage below the jump (25-50% NSFW) leave you retching? Continue reading

These Boots Are Made for Scene-stealin’

good-wife30.jpgIf you’re televisually predisposed to legal-drama addiction (I think it runs in my family), you may have heard of The Good Wife, which at first glance looks like a Law & Order-style star vehicle for Julianna Margulies, who recently won a Best Actress Golden Globe for her role on it. The series debuted last fall and SM blogged that Archie Panjabi would be on it. Her role is a supporting character, but I think Panjabi’s Kalinda Sharma, the tough, mysterious legal investigator, is a bit of a scene-stealer. Fans and critics can’t get enough of Kalinda.

“I’d also like to see Kalinda’s character developed a little bit more. Right now she just pops up a few times an episode, wearing kickass boots and generally being feisty. She drinks martinis, she flips the bird, she shows off her cleavage to get the job done. Archie Panjabi is a great actress (also, gorgeous) and I am glad she’s not an Asian stereotype — but I want to see more of her.” (LA Times)

Kalinda’s sexy trademark outfits with high-heeled boots and leather jackets definitely help her stand out. Most of the other cast members are conservatively suited up to blend in at a tony Chicago law firm. In a behind the scenes clip, the show’s costume designer mentions that everyone’s “mad” for Kalinda’s blogworthy boots.

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Are You Sari Yet?

I blame Sanjay Gupta for dragging me away from my studies and back to the bunker. Today, when Dr. Gupta posted a picture on Twitter of the sari his wife was wearing to tonight’s state dinner at the White House – I couldn’t help but be drawn into the fashion maelstrom that marked the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and his wife, Gursharan Kaur. (Sorry Abhi, you can have your fancy dinner menu. Give me saris and ball-gowns any day.) But where to start?

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Ah, Mrs. Obama. Always the fashion darling. She wore not one – but two desi designers today.

She was tending to her hostess duties in a strapless silhouette with the beads forming an abstract floral pattern that was custom-made by Naeem Khan…She wore a matching wrap, a stack of bangle bracelets on her wrist and dangling earrings… Earlier today for a preview of the event, Mrs. Obama wore a skirt by Rachel Roy, also an Indian-American…Khan told CNN’s Larry King that his goals were to dress the first lady in something “Indian, chic, simple but very glamorous.” [Fashion director of InStyle magazine, Hal] Rubenstein said he was impressed that Mrs. Obama used her fashion knowledge to choose a sophisticated and regal style that paid homage to India without wearing a traditional sari-style dress, which could have come off as a costume next to India’s first lady. [Link]

Rubenstein may be right about the costume part, but I admit I would love to see Mrs. O in a gorgeous sari. Maybe someday. Check out the picture of Mrs. O wearing Roy here. You may remember Rachel Roy when we featured her on SM as one of the fashion industry’s best-dressed, young designers. As for Khan, according to his website, he was born in India and grew up in America, before launching his first collection here in 2003. Continue reading

Meet a Model: Lakshmi Menon

So naturally the comments in the Oprah/Ash/Abhi thread devolved into an argument about skin color. Naturally. It’s like the Godwin’s Law of all things desi-related.

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I don’t know about you, but I’m heartily sick of the topic. But listening to dark-skinned model talk about it? A dark-skinned desi model? A famous international dark-skinned desi model?

[OMG. Before you even think about arguing whether she’s dark or not, just. stop. She thinks she is, mmkay?]

From the MTV Iggy blog archives:

If you’re a non-white woman, how many skin whitening products have you come across? Quick, GO!! (You all thought of Fair & Lovely, didn’t you?) Want to know what a fabulous international supermodel thinks about this?

Meet Lakshmi Menon, runway star, fashion editorial darling, face of Hermès, and a native of Bangalore, India. When it comes skin color and beauty, she would know of what she speaks. And sweet heavens above, does she ever!! Post-colonial hangups, “wheatish” complexions, Lakshmi lays it out:

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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. Continue reading

In Argentina, Turbans=Maharajas?

If you want royal treatment at nightclubs in Argentina, maybe you should consider investing in a turban!

While playing golf in Buenos Aires recently, R. Viswanathan, the Indian ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, had an interesting experience: the Argentinian players asked him where they could buy a turban and how to wear it. When the ambassador probed the reason for their interest, they pointed to a home within the country club complex and said:simmarpal2.jpg

‘Here lives an Indian maharaja. He looks handsome with his turban. When he goes to the night clubs, he gets premium service and gets it free because they think he is a maharaja.’

When Viswanathan tried to explain that turbans do not equal maharaja status, the Argentinians asked him to shut up and not reveal this secret at the night clubs.

Turns out the “maharaja” they were speaking of is Simmarpal Singh, the “peanut prince of Argentina,” an employee of Olam, a 5.6 – billion dollar NRI company and a leading global supply chain manager of agricultural products and food ingredients!

Singh cultivates 12,000 hectares of peanut farms and another 5000 hectares of soya and corn in Rio Cuarto area in Cordoba province, about one thousand kms from Buenos Aires. His target is to take his company Olam among Argentina´s top three peanut players in the next few years. When he came to Argentina in 2005, his company was 28th in ranking in peanuts and he has already made it as sixth this year.

Viswanathan’s story, which profiles Singh’s work, ran in various Indian papers, including the Hindustan Times Punjab and The Asian Age, this past week. It examines the farming industry in Argentina and its potential to assist agriculture in India which is going to face shortage of land and water in coming years. Read it in full here.

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