On Sunday, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was at the 162nd edition of the Prix de Diane in Chantilly, north of Paris. The actor looked peachy in an Elie Saab dress, and a hat that made a sweeping style statement. It’d been a long plane ride to France after a technical glitch grounded the flight from Hyderabad. She returned to Mumbai, flew to Dubai and took the connecting flight to Paris to keep her date with the horses.Within hours of checking into the hotel, she was sitting for fittings with stylists who arrived with a range of designer wear, including 50 exotic hats. She picked one that matched her dress and suggested some silken flowers to be sewn on to make it a little more dramatic.
"It was important to wear the perfect hat because Longines that was partnering the France Gallop for the first time, had set up a tent at the race course. All the ladies who walked in wearing hats were photographed, and at the end of the day, Aishwarya as Longines brand ambassador, was part of a jury that decided which hat deserved the Elegance Award," informs her manager.
Sunday started with a round of interviews, from 8.30 am to 11 am. The foreign media had come all the way from Taiwan and China, and seemed familiar with her recent movies, Action Replayy and Robot.
At 11.30 am sharp, Aishwarya was driven to the grounds in a carriage. "In 1976, Queen Elizabeth II had also come in a carriage, signalling the opening of the races," points out her manager. "There was a crowd of about 30-40,000, and cries of ‘Aish’ from the women and children."
Aishwarya was there till 5 pm, presided over a three-course lunch, sat through the eight races, judged the hat competition, before returning to her hotel for another round of media interactions. She flew back to India on Monday and is back to shooting till 10.30 pm everyday for Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine. It’s a start-to-finish schedule, the film should wrap up by July.
"It’s great to be back in front of the camera after a much-needed break," Aishwarya smiles, on her high after her French rendezvous. "It’s been a long and wonderful association with both my international brands. I recently shot for L’Oreal, for Longines I’m committed to two galas a year. Last year I was at the Roland Garros for the French Open, this year it was the Prix de Diane."
Aishwarya was at Ascot races in UK earlier, and the Melbourne races too but never ata French Grand Prix but interestingly, the first campaign for Longines was shot outdoors in Chantilly. She smiles, "The journos kept asking me about my decade long association with Longines. I had to pint out that it’s actually been 12."