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The poverty pret line

Karl Lagerfeld says India's poor are chic. So why didn't he unveil his latest collection in Dharavi?

india Updated: Dec 08, 2011 21:45 IST

Subtle marketing is clearly not Chanel's uber designer Karl Lagerfeld's métier. Unveiling his Paris-Bombay collection, clearly with an eye on the well-heeled in economically booming India, dear old Karl has discerned an element of chic among India's poor. "Even if she has nothing, the poo-rest women (in India) will have two-three bangles, an elegant pink sari… India is a country... where even poor women own three gold bracelets." Has he seen something that's escaped our untrained eye? Come on Karl, pull the other one, it's got bells on.

Now, to stretch a point, he may have been taken in by the Parisian standard of stick thin figures among poor Indian women. Someone please tell this man that this is because our poor don't choose this poverty chic, it is because they don't get a square meal a day. Instead of holding his show in that well-known dump Paris' Grand Palais, he could have held it in, say, Dharavi, where we could have seen this elegance in the poor up close. Perhaps, this is an idea worth mulling over when he comes calling in February. At his Paris show, India's poor were showcased by Sonam Kapoor (is there no place we can go where she won't pop up?) and Frieda Pinto. Oh, and they were in Chanel's 2012 spring collection couture which most of us cannot afford even if we were to sell some of our close relatives.

But let us not kvetch and grumble about Karl's admiration for our poor. Maybe, just maybe, he could part with a teeny weeny bit of the money he will rake in from his collection and send it along here so the poor can buy a few more bracelets and saris. Or maybe he could recruit a few of the below poverty line souls to walk the ramp for his next show. Otherwise the more cynical of us may think he is a crass capitalist in Dominique Lapierre clothing. By which we mean Chanel clothing, of course.

First Published: Dec 08, 2011 21:44 IST