The Savage Beauty of Alexander McQueen

Memories of the V&A and my Parisienne friend Elisabeth Guez are fresh in my mind. The V&A has another nice exhibit where they try to answer: “What is luxury?” Wish I could have seen the John Galliano retrospective also– in Paris. My review of the exhibit here.  And you have to see it on the…

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Would you wear a garment without a blouse?

This piece was a reaction to seeing a room full of amazing black and white photos by Sunil Janah of women who were topless. Like the below photo of a Hill Maria Woman from Bastar.  Courtesy of the Swaraj Art Archive, as are all the images here. The free women in Sunil Janah’s photography Scurrilous…

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Gifts 2014

This could have easily been a photo feature. FIRST PUBLISHED: SAT, DEC 20 2014. 12 46 AM ISTHOME» LEISURE» THE GOOD LIFE The best gifting ideas from 2014 A list of objects that you could consider buying for your near and dear for Christmas Shoba Narayan It is just before Christmas. You are probably in…

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Identity and Culture

One more ode to my favorite garment: the sari. How a simple, draped cloth defines a national aesthetic Shoba Narayan November 19, 2014 Updated: November 19, 2014 07:07 PM There are many ways to come at the concept called identity. Aesthetics is one of them. Every culture has a distinct aesthetic. Chinese poetry describes eyebrows…

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Spirits of India

Cocktails have an intrinsic problem. Unless they are well made/well balanced, they are too sweet for my taste. MISSING THE INDIAN SPIRIT By Shoba Narayan Korea has soju; Japan has sake; America has bourbon; Mexico has tequila and mezcal; Germany has schnapps; Scandinavia has aquavit; France has wine; Greece has ouzo; Britain has beer; Portugal…

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Barcelona

The thing with travel writing is that it takes a long time between travel and the actual publication of the article. Depending on the publication. Barcelona for Eat Stay Love STAY – 80-82 Barcelona 2 We picked Barcelona as a vacation destination for the same reason that many families do: great weather, design, architecture, the…

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Brooms

The big brooming business An acquaintance of mine, Chantal, called from New York the other day with a request: she needed brooms; lots of them. Could I source them from India? Chantal is a gaunt French-Algerian chain smoker. She says merde (shit) a lot; wears Dior rouge lipstick, and lots of moody grey Chanel eyeshadow.…

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Frankincense

Oudh and frankincense are scents of the day. Here is a story that appeared in Qantas magazine, Australia. Thank you, Stanley Pinto for organizing a superb trip to Muscat. And hustling all of us energetic tourists and members of the Bangalore Black Tie into some semblance of organization. And thank you, Shawqi Sultan and Saleh…

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Male Perfume

I thought male perfume was a bit of musk, wood, leather, and all those usual suspect-ingredients. Who would have thought about oudh, orange blossom and the like? These new male perfumers are changing the paradigm. I pitched the story to my editor, Ted, based on Byredo. The perfumer is half-Indian which is how I heard…

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