The ‘Miss Universe’ Beauty Pageant

Fashion and global cultures come together to demonstrate ‘beauties can have brains too’

The Miss Universe contest undoubtedly is the grandest beauty pageant in the world. Each year contestants from pretty much around the globe compete and showcase their talent, their country’s culture and what, over the years, I have come to regard the beauty pageant to be a celebration of: ‘beauties can have brains too’. It’s really been a mixed bag of winners for the American beauty pageant but, overwhelmingly, they have been from countries whose cultures I have always loved to immerse myself in.

I think when the big question of diversity is thrown into the picture for a beauty pageant originating in the West, I feel that the greatest example of diversity is always demonstrated by a plethora of winners from South America and India. I know it’s been demonstrated by three African countries previously, as well: Angola (in 2011), Namibia (in 1992) and Botswana (in 1999), which was an interesting display of African culture for the international beauty pageant, especially with Botswana because the year it won was also the first time the country had entered itself in the beauty pageant.

But when it comes to exotic favourites, I have always liked to see India win. In 1994, Sushmita Sen became the first Indian woman to be crowned Miss Universe, and it was a magnificent moment – India’s always been a hot favourite with me for the country’s ability to break through societal and cultural barriers for the Miss Universe contest and demonstrate that beauty can be diversified and be equally compelling.

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Bollywood @ Cannes 2017

White, yellow and red…how three Bollywood stars defined fashion at Cannes this year

The breathtaking display of gowns at the French Riviera once again saw its annual addition of Bollywood glamour, with an interesting display of stars and their costume selections. It’s hard to pick favourites but I liked Deepika Padukone’s ensemble presentations, the most, for its very striking colour choices. Meanwhile, Sonam Kapoor managed to startle because I found she looked ravishing in a nude-coloured gown, but the most surprising thing this year was perhaps that Aishwarya Rai, a regular at the Cannes circuit, had really managed to put a good fashion foot forward and avoid any fashion missteps, unlike a fair few times in the past.

Deepika Padukone

Day-2 Cannes 2017 @brandonmaxwell @elizabethsaltzman @lorealmakeup @lorealhair

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@deepikapadukone and @ellefanning soak in the warm sun at Cannes #LifeAtCannes 🏖

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Day-1 Cannes 2017 @marchesafashion @georginachapmanmarchesa @kerencraigmarchesa @elizabethsaltzman @lorealmakeup @lorealhair

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Hello Morning…😊 #Cannes2017 @lorealmakeup @lorealhair

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taking it all in… #Cannes2017 @lorealmakeup @lorealhair

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Sonam Kapoor

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Aishwarya Rai

This Moment 💙💥💙#lifeatcannes #70yearsofcannesfestival #lorealparisindia #aishwaryaraibachchan @michael5inco

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#AishwaryaRaiBachchan's bright lips are a definite Cannes win 👄 #LifeAtCannes

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Life At Cannes 💞 #lorealparisindia #Cannes2017 #aishwaryaraibachchan

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Stunner ❤️❤️❤️

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A GoodBye To Alexandra Shulman

Sometimes, when I wonder about the changes that will befall on British Vogue later this year, with Shulman’s departure, I can’t think any longer

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Having been an avid reader of British Vogue for years, Alexandra Shulman’s latest decision to resign from her position as the editor-in-chief of British Vogue came as a bit of a surprise. As the editor of one of the foremost fashion magazines in the United Kingdom, Shulman took it from one strength to another. What I had personally enjoyed as a reader, were the stories that the magazine would regularly print. It’s not exactly like catching the daily news or something like that on the BBC, as much as it is about keeping up with trends, looking at the latest fashion adverts in the press, and following Shulman’s tastes around.

It sounds like a massive waste of time on paper but sometimes gaining a wider set of knowledge helps me to calm down about the deadlines: I know it makes no sense whatsoever. Why would learning about some random designers (not my regulars – the ones’ whose designs I almost always adore) that are supposed to be important or artsy people who think they are something worth learning about despite their obvious lack of fashion taste, help me calm down? In fact, if anything I should be feeling lost in a world of total randomness and yearning to get back to my comfortable place of LFW but maybe it has something to do with how all of that is supposed to be Shulman’s world, not mine. I am just gladly on the outside of it all, peering over the plastic-veneer into some other person’s vision and taste. Or, it could also be that I read anything and absolutely everything.

Under Shulman’s editorship, the fashion magazine increased it’s circulation figures and also gained a wider footing. Shulman in the past had also been the editor of the men’s magazine, GQ (the British edition), and previously had worked at Tatler and The Sunday Telegraph, as well. Criticized for her disinterest in keeping up appearances as an editor, she had presided over important magazine volumes by British Vogue, such as the the 1997 cover of Princess Diana (in memoriam). As an editor, Shulman shockingly decided to never work with cosmetic surgery, diets on the pages of British Vogue, she chose to never dictate fashion to readers and she also said a firm no to celebrities on the cover, who desire approval for pictures.

Recently Anna Wintour remembered her longtime friend Sozzani, the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia. I have happily never known Sozzani – I think her melancholia drains the energy out of people, but unlike the Sphinx, Wintour knew Sozzani to be good with keeping her secrets. This very nature of the friendship reminds me of how British Vogue, for a very long time has been a fashion publication I use to regularly look forward to reading, and Shulman had played her part in my keenness in anticipating what’s the next cover going to be about, so it would only be natural to assume that Shulman had done a pretty brilliant job as the editor-in-chief of British Vogue. Shulman is going to leave British Vogue in June and maybe with all the time she will be having on her hands, she can find herself immersed (and enjoying) on the other side of the world, for a change, as a fashion onlooker.

The Kate Middleton Effect

One of the most exciting stories about the British royal family is undoubtedly the impact Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge has on fashion

Kate Middleton is one of the most prominent fashion personalities in the United Kingdom, today. After her romantic liaison with Prince William got officially confirmed through an engagement in Kenya, in this (worldwide) infamous ecologically-conscious zone, which mostly houses vast amount of greenery, schools, and students, and was even formerly a cattle ranch, all eyes were fixated on what Middleton would choose as her engagement dress. It was a royal blue Issa dress that matched her new sapphire engagement ring, from Prince William. The dress was made by Daniella Issa Helayel, who left Issa in 2013, but at the time of Kate’s engagement, the fashion designer had made a typical silk jersey dress, which was also somewhat designated as a proper classic item. Daniella was thrilled that Kate had chosen Issa for her wedding day and even went so far as to throw plenty of kind words to describe the princess along the way.

Decoding: Kate Middleton

 

Kate has often been cited as a fashion inspiration source for many women around the world. This accomplishment of hers has even bizarrely gone into the cosmetic surgery department, and began right after Kate’s engagement to William, even though the young couple had dated for many years previously. This effect is important to the British fashion industry because even popular labels, such as L. K. Bennett have gone on record to state that when Middleton is spotted in a dress, it immediately finds itself on a waiting list. Furthermore, Whistles has also described her perfect material for adverts really since it is so tough for ordinary customers to copy her style; Middleton prefers to avoid being trendy with fashion, unlike reality television stars, which means that by the time the public will actually see Kate in a dress it would have sadly already long gone out of stock in stores.

Decoding: Kate Middleton

 

The Duchess of Cambridge has also been put on the cover of several magazines, such as for Vanity Fair in 2012, and for Vogue’s 100-year celebratory issue in June 2016, and these accomplishments have actually further cemented Kate’s status as “a modern day British fashion icon”. Kate is also a frequenter on numerous fashion lists, from best dressed in People (2007 and 2010), to evolving into a “top style icon” in Tatler (2007). I think the Duchess does a great job in ensuring a prominent member of the British royal family is always putting her best foot forward, for fashion selections. Two of my most favourite look of hers would be: for pre-wedding, I would select the bold outfit Kate wore to a charity roller disco in September 2008, and post-wedding to Prince William, for Kate, would be a glittering sequinned dress from one of her favourite fashion labels of all time, Jenny Packham.

Decoding: Kate Middleton

 

After Republic Day: A Celebrity Parade

In India, Republic Day was recently celebrated. Republic Day is about marking a change of constitution for India, post-independence from the British Raj, because previously the Raj‘s devised colonial structure was what the written constitution was all about. Republic Day, should thus be also remembered, I believe, for the Raj‘s contribution to India: like Canada, the government in India is (very rarely) modelled after the Westminster system, but apart from that the brilliant Raj‘s place in the history pages in colonial history, is unrivalled. Here’s a look at what celebrities in India have been onto amongst all the celebrations:

Priyanka Chopra, on the sets of Quantico
KJo, with childhood friends, Karisma Kapoor and Twinkle Khanna
Jacqueline Fernandez’s furry cat
The “scuba diving” Sonakshi Sinha, holding onto awesome blue fishes, underwater!!! xx

How India Celebrates Diwali

Deepavali was recently celebrated in Malaysia and it is a public holiday here. The occasion is also known as the ‘festival of lights’ and it is a time when a lot of lights can be seen shinning in plenty of housetops, doors, windows and also in temples. The day involves prayers, lighting up diyas, eating sweets and gift-giving to loved ones. But how did India celebrate Diwali and what did their day involve for the special occasion?

Jacqueline Fernandez
Kareena Kapoor
Soha Ali Khan
Karisma Kapoor
Sonam Kapoor
Kareena Kapoor
Deepika Padukone