Who Stitched The Empress's New Clothes?

20/05/2015 9:39 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Andreas Rentz via Getty Images
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 18: Actress Sonam Kapoor attends the Premiere of 'Inside Out' during the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2015 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images,,)

For someone who's not a keen observer of the red carpet, my friend and film journalist Rohit Khilnani's critical analysis was an eyeopener.

His Facebook post, accompanied by a picture, read, "If she feels hungry on the red carpet is she allowed to eat those noodles from her dress?".

There she was, standing bang in the middle of the mecca of glamour. Sonam Kapoor at the Cannes. But in a dress that indeed resembled oodles of noodles. I clicked the picture to get a closer view. My eyes widened even as my pupils constricted. These were not just noodles bunched at the top but a train of them. A full year's supply for someone who's twitter handle reads - 'a female actor who lives to eat and read in that order'.

Sonam's 'noodle dress' - incidentally a creation of the famous Lebanese designer Elie Saab - has stirred the pot on social. Sonam has been likened to the "Big Bird of Sesame Street", a stack of hay, a shredded cabbage and even a basket of soanpapdi.

But Sonam alone can't be blamed. Almost every Indian actor who has made it to Cannes has, at some point, draped themselves in attire that could have been bought at a furnishings store.

katrina kaif cannes

Katrina Kaif's red dress, matched-to-the-shade red lipstick, red hair and red rouge got a big thumbs down. As she stepped out in an Elie Saab (Again?) for the premier of Mad Max at Cannes, most wondered why she chose to become an extension of the red carpet.

Now, rewind 12 years. Remember Aishwarya Rai at the Cannes in 2003. Her indo-western, multicoloured outfits designed by friend Neeta Lulla, drew the nastiest of comments from fellow designers. She was labelled 'Maid in Manhattan'. Her hairdo was likened to a 'desert pudding tops' by Rohit Bal. Shaina NC, designer and BJP spokesperson rolled into one, even called her wardrobe "so Karol Bagh".

aishwarya rai cannes 2003

Had there been twitter in that era, Aishwarya-the-star's epitaph would have been written. But she was saved the ignominy of social media, quickly corrected herself and ensured she outperformed at the Cannes year after year.

Unlike Aishwarya, Sonam has carefully curated herself as a style diva from the very beginning. Like her, Sonam exudes confidence and can carry Indian and Western wear with equal ease. The Sandeep Khosla sari she wore at the Cannes press call and the electric blue Ralph and Russo gown at the red carpet did wonders of her sense of style.

So if feathers are what appeal to Sonam this season, she could have opted for a more sophisticated Elie Saab gown, like the one actor Naomi Watts wore for Cannes Opening Ceremony. Why this caricature of a dress?!

I'm no fashion pundit, but even for a layman, Cannes 2015 will go down in history as one of the worst years collectively for Indian style divas. Katrina's red, Aishwarya's green and Sonam' noodle dress leave the eyes sore. Ladies, wearing celebrated designers is indeed a huge image booster. But does anything go in the name of haute couture?

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