Padma Lakshmi on ‘Indian beauty’, paparazzi, modeling


Padma for Tarun 2

New York City-based model TV host, cookbook author and socialite Padma Lakshmi says the Indian beauty is considered “special” in the west. “I think Indian beauty is still seen in the west as exotic and special,” she told IANS. “But I think this is a good thing,” she continued, adding, “I wouldn’t want to look like everyone else on the runway anyway.”

Lakshmi was speaking on the sidelines of the Lakme Fashion Week held Feb. 1 to 5 at the Reliance Jio Garden in Mumbai. Laksmi made her debut as she walked the runway for veteran fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani in a creation from his latest collection titled “Chashme Shahi,” Feb. 3. Lakshmi opened the show for Tahiliani, sporting a beautiful ivory colored embellished sari with a cape.

Lakshmi told IANS she was nervous about the debut on the event. “It’s been a long time, years in fact, since I’ve been on the runway,” said.

Closing the show, Lakshmi, who has modeled for international names like Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace and Ralph Lauren, changed into a stunning brocade salmon pink lehenga paired with a shirt-choli in the same color. The supermodel sported minimal make-up and chose to tie her hair into a ponytail.

Asked what attracts her to Tahiliani’s creation, Lakshmi said: “His craftsmanship, the timelessness of his pieces, the attention to detail, and how you feel like royalty when you put on one of his garments. You know when you’re getting dressed in one of Tarun’s pieces, that it’s a special occasion.”

The stage for Tahiliani’s event was decked up with beautiful mogra flowers. The color pallet for the designer ‘s show consisted of whites, creams, beige, jade and black interspersed with pops of colors.The silhouettes included kalidar lehengas, sarees, and kurtas with French knots and Swarovski crystals.

About his latest collection, Tahiliani told IANS: “Inspired by Mughal gardens and architecture, the Spring Summer collection aptly titled ‘Chashme Shahi’ reveals clothes that transform into a breathtaking aria of fantasy and romance. Representing the ateliers timeless craft combined with a modern muse, skillfully presented in an array of elegant cool garments to create an offering reminiscent of summer and all that it brings with it.”



Talking about the differences between India and the U.S., Lakshmi said in India she can move freely and that the paparazzi culture in New York is unbearable.

“I would imagine somebody like Priyanka and you are coming from this culture to that culture it could be quite a shock because she is already such a big star here (India),” she said.

“So she would be used to of a lot of attention, but it doesn’t really compare. It’s not on the same level at all. Here I have been able to move freely, people are very respectful, they ask if they can take a picture most of the time…in New York it is pretty unbearable,” she added.

Lakshmi said there are several occasions when the paparazzi has parked right outside her door.

“If you are somebody who is a movie star, it can be really be obnoxious and I have friends in that situation. It’s not pleasant and can be dangerous,” she said.

The “Top Chef” host is also promoting her two culinary books in India and says her tour here has been really wonderful. “When I come to India I dont work here. I just find more time to spend with my family and I have always missed having a grown up life in India. So just to go around the country and travel with my two books is been quite moving,” she said.

Lakshmi thinks that her book has resonated with the people here. “It’s been great to have the feedback from people, who have read it and I wanted the Indians to like it a bit more it was very important for me that it resonated it with everyday Indians. I am very happy to say that I think has,” she added.

Lakshmi said she is looking forward to going to four more cities to promote her books. She will be travelling to Hyderabad, New Delhi and her last event will be in Chennai on Valentines Day.