From Wall Flowers to Stars

From Wall Flowers to Stars

Of those who will do anything for anything in fashion.

Of those who will do anything for anything in fashion.

As in many creative fields,some of the cleverest people belonged to the world of fashion. One artistic genius can take his enfant terrible act to his 50s. Another wizard has King Midas’ touch,success follows his every enterprise. One fashion designer is so brilliant but so afraid of getting out of the comfort zone of his hometown,the other sells his home-state like a proverbial puchka . Some clothes-smiths are afraid of the spotlight,another bunch will present the same collection up to a dozen times a year.

But these are just our fashion designers. The glamour world is looking for new heroes. Not models,no one cares about them anymore. All eyes are being trained on a brand new bunch of fashionies who bring more substance to style than the labels themselves. The fashion journalist is the new fashion icon.

Much of this is the result of our digital zeitgeist and our insane propensity for social media. Not too long ago,there was only Anna Wintour,the icy magazine editor who could make or break a designer’s career with just a nod. Along came the impossibly chic Carine Roitfeld,with her signature eyebrows,and her BFF status to some of the most important designers in the biz. (She was rumoured to jon Tom Ford,but she launched her own magazine instead,CR Fashion Book ).


Soon enough,fashion writers became fashion stars. The Italian Anna dello Russo wears head-to-toe catwalk looks—headpieces,accessories,makeup et al—at shows and soirees. She looks a bit nutty,if you ask me,but has the world eating out of her manicured fingertips.

Blogs and Twitter have replaced business cards,even businesses. And fashion hacks are beginning to bend the rules. No one who’s anyone wears the erstwhile uniform of black T-shirt and jeans,journos’ ensembles go from the avant to the plain ridiculous,with little in between.

Street-style photography and fashion paparazzi have made celebrities out of weirdos. Punk hairstyles,outrageous outfits,mismatched socks,anything seems to fashionable on them.

On one hand,this may seem like a brave new attitude to fashion; it’s less traditional and more fun. But on the other,the celebrity of the fashion editor has serious run-ins with the ethics of the business.

Many people I meet here are not in the biz for the love of a 16-panel lehenga or the beauty of a masterly tailored jacket. Fashion is a ticket to socialise and they’re here to be famous.

One magazine editor recently had her daughter’s birthday party within the premises of a luxury store. How’s that for spoiling the poor little rich kid and your cred in one go! Many socialites turned up and ooh-aahed at the marvelous idea,bearing expensive presents. And they were all covered in a four-page photo spread in the magazine.

From the unreal,ethereal life that fashion editors were known to have,where they were actually taken seriously,few editors live and breathe fashion anymore. While their mantra was once ‘anything for fashion’,it is now ‘anything in fashion’. This is why you see some of them doubling up as public relations people,while they’re still holding on to their journalistic credentials. I’m referring to one smart cookie who can be a designer,a journalist and a PR spokesperson at the same time. And can get away with it unscathed.

Another lady,a veejay turned star hanger-on,goes by as a stylist these days,simply because she has friends who won’t work without her. The lucky lass made Rs 2 lakhs in a day’s work just connecting the dots: she introduced a famous star wife to a mobile phone company’s head and got her to model for it.

An actress who’s graced the cover of a magazine as one of the most stylish women in India is married and rich,but actually struggles with her sartorial choices.

So how did famous-for-being-famous become the new black? I’ll tell you as soon as I master the tricks of my trade.