Magazine Wars: September 2012
On the cover: Nineteen-year-old Alia Bhatt, daughter of Mahesh Bhatt (maker of such classics as Jism 2), in a burgundy Gucci gown, flaunting her ravishing figure courtesy of a 17 kilo drop down. “I was totally flummoxed,” says Karan Johar of his debutante who, horror, came to see him with “her chubby arms under a sweater”.
Read it: “Tribute” to photographer Prabuddha Dasgupta who passed away, aged 58, last month and gave Vogue some of its most memorable covers, including the breathtaking one of his girlfriend Lakshmi Menon in a neon yellow bikini. “Another Pakistan”, because packaging the beleaguered country for a fashion magazine takes some canny planning, something Vogue has ably done by spotlighting the very pretty women populating the country’s art, culture and social activism scene.
Don’t bother: “Culture Chameleon”, because when we start claiming only “part-Indian” mixed bloods (that would be True Blood actress Janina Gavankar) as our own, we’ve got some serious gene pool problems. “Tuscan Son”, because Vogue‘s copy eds are perhaps stretching it by calling an interview with fashion perennial Roberto Cavalli an “exclusive” (you’ll see why below). “For The Love Of Fashion”, which is the Indian fashion mag wet dream: two of their favourite stars—Gucci creative director Frida Giannini and actor Sonam Kapoor—meet! Naturally this calls for a four-page feature.
On the cover: Clearly Harper’s Bazaar got the same memo as Vogue—find a debutante who hasn’t been plastered over newsstands (yet) and then outfit them in shades of
burgundy “Bordeaux”. The guinea pig here is actress Ileana Cruz, described as a “reluctant model-turned-reluctant actor” who is making her crossover from Telugu films to Bollywood in Barfi, and getting her knee oddly Photoshopped out along the way (refer to the second page of the feature).
Read it: “My List” with Rohit Bal, who provides the key to living the good life: showering and eating his only meal of the day at around noon (fresh juice with eggs and toast in case you were wondering), proceeding to work post 1pm, and doing exactly what he wants by putting “myself first”. Bal, a “recluse”, also says he hasn’t watched a movie in two years because he’s “wary of crowds” and people “bothering me for pictures, etc”.
Don’t bother: At some point, magazines are going to have to realise that the word “exclusive” means naught when it’s bandied about in reference to designers who wouldn’t know the meaning if it bit in them on their couture-outfitted bottoms. Which is why you can safely skip “Milanese Marvel” about Italian designer Angela Missoni. “Bright Young Things”, a cringe-worthy piece on Armani Junior’s entrance to India (they’re opening a store in New Delhi), which explains the kiddie couture trend thus: “The clothes revolve around the lives of children, and so the range includes something for every moment, from school-time to play-time, and from sportswear to formal pieces”. Cue hysterical laughter from parents who live in the real world (and know that for kids all “wear” is the same wear). “A Life Less Ordinary”, another “exclusive” with designer Roberto Cavalli. “Eye Spy”, because a story which starts with the line “Can Indian women ever get enough of eye makeup?” and employs the eyelids of British arm candy Amy Jackson, bronzed presumably to look less foreign, knows not the meaning of irony. “Diets Decoded”, which illustrates a health story with an image of a model gnawing at a glittering green crystal studded blob, which the caption tells us is a “pave broccoli”. Let this be a lesson on what happens when you starve models.
On the cover: Jacqueline Fernandez in a fugalicious ensemble (studded hat, fur skirt), mostly provided by Louis Vuitton, as the face of fall’s key pieces.
Read it: “Dumb Charades”, about the evolution of television programming and how it’s increasingly targeted at small-town India. For a triple whammy female empowerment dose, read “The Showgirls” about the small screen’s most powerful female actresses; followed by “Creative Sparks”, about the creative world’s most inventive women; topped off by “A New Perspective”, on Future Group’s heiress apparent, Ashni Biyani. “The Force” a touching tribute to photographer Prabuddha Dasgupta, including stories recollected by stylists, make-up artists, and editors.
On the cover: Sultry model Nidhi Sunil, looking captivating in a glittery black Gucci blouse and Nikhil Thampi skirt (she’s also wearing burgundy lipstick!).
Read it: “Better Safe Than Sorry”, which gives you the low-down on sexual assault laws in India (they are at best vaguely defined) and how to file an FIR. “Les Petites”, where for a change real women, here a duo of small-framed friends, model fall trends.
Don’t bother: “Smells Like Glamour”, where Donatella Versace shills her new perfume called Yellow Diamond, inspired by, what else, crystal. “The Story Online”, about the “low down” on popular e-retail sites, which neglects crucially to dish on shipping information and which ones bundle in import duties.
On the cover: Farhan Akhtar in a grey Louis Vuitton suit with a feathered lapel pin. Akhtar looks a tad grim faced, perhaps because he’s been made to wear that feather. Inside, he shares his “Rules For Being A 21st-Century Gentleman”. Like all such celebrity-authored self-help articles, Akhtar’s advice is obvious albeit sensible. His life tips include: hold on to your male friends, particularly the old ones; it’s totally possible to be just friends with women; and the only time cheating is acceptable is when you’re marooned on an island and there’s no chance of ever getting off. Of course, it’s all just an excuse to kit the director-actor in a series of sharp suits, because this happens to be a “Fashion Special”.
Read it: “The Gentlemen’s Club”, a Q&A with five men from the Indian fashion industry—J. J. Valaya, Raghavendra Rathore, Ravi Bajaj and Ashish Soni and Fashion Design Council of India president Sunil Sethi. The quintet is refreshingly candid, offering up such choice quotes as “Bangalore is full of misers” (Valaya) and “The guy who comes from Panipat, the guy who comes from Ludhiana, those are the guys who want red pants” (Bajaj). “Hollywood Hold ’Em”, this GQ UK piece about the mysterious Hollywood star populated Poker Club that was brought down by hedge fund manager Bradley Ruderman.
Don’t bother: “King Louis”, about the story of the Louis Vuitton brand, which reads straight out of a catalogue and should have really been printed with the words “Promotion” or “Advertorial” on the top of the page. “On The Fast Track”, yet another photo feature on luxury watches.