I heard Shefalee Vasudev talk to Chris on Radio One, Delhi about her book Powder Room: The untold story of Indian Fashion, on my way to work one morning. She was narrating the story of the Ludhiana Ladies who actually want to feel, wear and look “Branded”. This really caught my attention and I went ahead and bought the book. All the chapters of the book have a story to tell. She has covered the many parts of India and tried to give an insiders view of the Fashion industry.
The first chapter, ‘Dry Clean Only’ is the story of Raakesh Agarvwal, a successful designer who trained under Tarun Tahiliani. He defends India’s obsession with bling. The second chapter, ‘Price on request’ is about Jennifer, a girl from a middle class family, working for an unnamed luxury store in DLF Emporio. She knows how to address a customer and sells clothes at prices that are six times her monthly salary. The third chapter, ‘The Ludhiana Ladies’ is all about their obsession with brands which cover them from head to toe. She mentions about how money drives them. The fourth chapter, ‘Walk, Don’t talk’ is about Nagma, a small time model who wants to become an actress. ‘Boy, Interrupted’ is about Imcha Imchen from Nagland, a former student of NID who suffers from bipolar disorder and invites the author to the Hornbill Festival in the North-east. ‘The Raja and the Yuvraj’ is about Rohit Bal (the Raja) and Sabyasachi (Yuvraj) and their designs. ‘Ladies Tailor’ is about the various tailors and boutiques that work out of garages and copy the designer outfits the heroines wear in the film.
My favourite ‘In the red’ is about the Patan Patola Saree of Gujarat, an heirloom, in which she meets and interviews weavers from Gujarat and describes the intricacies of making the saree. ‘Peanuts as Salary, Free Trips to Paris’ is about journalists getting free trips abroad in lieu of positive reviews.
Overall, a good reference book for the people who want to know the nitty grittys of the Indian fashion industry.
Book Source: Bought
Publisher: Random House India