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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Third World Chic

mumbai Updated: Nov 07, 2018 00:41 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,malavika's mumbaistan,Lakshmi Menon

Lakshmi Menon

One of the most striking fashion shoots we have laid eyes on has been the Wall Street Journal’s recent paean to fall fashions, featuring the statuesque Lakshmi Menon along with a male model named Jitendra, in a series of mostly B&W or monochromatic pictures shot in Maheshwar on the banks of the Narmada. Called ‘In India, Dreamy Fall Fashion for Him and Her’, the pictures of the models clad in Hermes and Gucci, against the quotidian starkness of everyday life in India, evoke a sudden startling beauty. ‘Take an excursion to the majestic city of Maheshwar, where tailored pieces from the fall collections, suited for him or her, bring worldly flair’, goes the introduction. “It was quite a coming together of many stories (something that happens often in Maheshwar),” said Yashwant Rao Holkar, scion of the erstwhile ruling family, who now runs the Ahilya Fort Hotel on the property. “The nephew of Aimée, our maitresse de Maison at the hotel, was traveling through India with his partner, Julia Wagner, who is a very talented and accomplished set designer and stylist. They came to Maheshwar to visit Aimée and both fell in love with the place. Julia then told the photographer Ethan Green about Maheshwar. They came here, loved it, and pitched the story to the photo editor of the WSJ magazine, Jennifer Pastore, who happened to be a friend of mine from New York, who had come to Maheshwar a few years ago! One thing lead to another and they produced their fantastic images,” he said. And with Green’s haunting images and masterful styling by Anastasia Barbieri, and set design by Julia Wagner, the term ‘third world chic’ gets a whole new meaning.

What’s Your Drink?
At a recent filmy Diwali party, we noticed the prodigious amounts of Single Malts on offer like Talisker, Laphroaig, Glenvilet, Monkey Shoulder, Oban etc. Is it really the case that the industry has taken such a shine to the spirit? “Most likely not,” said a source.” I think it’s more for the image. Stars like to show that they’re sophisticated and have refined tastes. In fact, if you ask me, its vodka that is the current favourite,” she said. “Easy to procure and camouflage as a glass of nimbu pani or water if there’s media around and what’s best, no hangover and puffiness at the next day’s shoot! It’s the preferred drink of choice for everyone in the industry,” she declared. But of course, there are exceptions to this: Saif Alli Khan for instance, is supposed to be pretty knowledgeable about wine, especially fine Bordeaux, and he, along with Akshay Kumar and Twinkle, are said to maintain the best wine cellars in the industry. Gin and tonic is also gaining ground, especially within the younger, hipper crowd of actors and filmmakers, according to another insider. And who is not familiar with the Raj Kapoor clan’s famous fondness for Johnny Walker Black Label? Legend has it that the keys to the cupboard containing their prestigious stock of the brand were closely guarded by the men folk and only a few choice guests were offered this. As for Aamir Khan, whose always marched to the beat of his own drum, his preferred choice of drink these days is apparently rum and coke. “He began by drinking rum with regular coke, but now, given his health fads, he’s migrated to diet coke,” said the source. What’s more, we hear that on a recent trip abroad, Khan managed to get Anil Kapoor sold on it too. From the days when Chivas Regal, mostly produced in the by lanes of Mumbai, ruled the bars of every self-respecting filmy home to rum and wine and single malts, Bollywood has come a long way.

“Something immensely cruel about the way, we in Mumbai and Thane have to undergo a second summer that is even worse than pre-monsoon. But…at least the maddening heat ensures we have better air quality. Meanwhile, of course, we shoot tigers, seize their land for Adani and push out the adivasis, axe thousands of trees and will soon be bursting crackers, regardless of the court. But aaah! Yes, we have the statue.”
- Journalist Freny Maneksha’s recent biting comment on social media on the way we are.

Them Three

Rohit Bal (extreme left), JJ Valaya and Suneet Verma (right).

“It was shot a few years ago at a wedding in Delhi,” said Delhi-based designer and photographer JJ Valaya, about a portrait he’d posted featuring him and fellow designers Rohit Bal and Suneet Verma, which he’d described as ‘Us Three’. On the cusp of announcing an exciting international project in April next year, while working on his first luxury showcase home, and putting together his next photography show, the workaholic designer says he is currently involved as creative director for signing new licensing associations in fashion and homes along with tending to his fashion label. “Besides, we just won the third EDIDA, three years running, for our carpet collection,” he adds.

As for his congenial portrait with his contemporaries, he says: “I like it because we’ve all evolved together, competed with each other and yet stayed dear friends.”

First Published: Nov 07, 2018 00:41 IST