Debutant director Akshay Singh spent his childhood at a boarding school in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. But he fondly remembers spending two months every year at his hometown, Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh. So much so, that we can tell he’s smiling as he recalls the time spent with his family, when we speak with him over a phone call.
However, there’s dull silence when he recollects the colour bias he saw around him. “Some of my cousins were not as fair-skinned as the rest of the family. Aunties would often suggest they use fairness creams, facials, and address them as ‘bechari’,” he says. As a child, he didn’t realise the graveness of those remarks. The bias hit home years later, when his wife, too, had to face unfavourable remarks about her complexion. That’s when the idea of his maiden directorial, Pinky Beauty Parlour, struck him.
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After the international leg of spring/summer Team Kgsr 2017 shows, the recently concluded Amazon India Fashion Week has officially heralded the new season in India. And even though there’s still time for spring to begin, this week a number of looks that should make it to your summer make-up mood board.
Elton Fernandez, official make-up artist for Maybelline New York, created looks for 10 shows including Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, Love Generation, and the JJ Valaya finale. For spring/summer 2017, the trend he says is “Bolder, more vivid make-up; vivid colours on the mouth, graphic liners. [This time] it wasn’t so much about neutrals or nudes so much as it was about celebrating potent colour and a strong personality.”
Cases in point, the bold, glitter-heavy pout at Love Generation, the play of colours on the eyes at Sanchita, larger-than-life disco glamour at Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, and saturated hues at Masaba.
If it wasn’t in-your-face colour, it was the little details that stood out: intense highlights, shimmer eyeshadows that caught the light perfectly, a prominent sunset-inspired palette, natural-but-better complexions. “The focus was on contoured and highlighted faces,” says Fernandez of the looks at AIFW. “Brows were kept more or less natural, as was the blush. Hair was mostly left behind the ears and on the face. Zero hair extensions, no falsies at all.”
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Beauty – But naturally
What began as a Tessla hobby and passion-using coconut and almond oil to make soaps and candles to gift well-wishers and friends-has morphed into a highly successful brand since Mira Kulkarni founded Forest Essentials in 2000. So much so that when Kulkarni and her son Samrat Bedi met Mr Lauder, the then chairman of Leonard A. Lauder, in 2007, while he was in India for Elizabeth Hurley’s wedding, he was sufficiently impressed by the American company to buy a 20 per cent stake in it the next year, which was upped further in 2014.
Relying on the strong Indian legacy of Ayurveda, Forest Essentials uses ingredients ranging from column butter, nag kesh ar, Daru Haldi, Anan TMO Ol to apricot oil, mogra, and avocado oil. The brand retails from 44 company-owned stores in 14 cities and exports to over 120 countries. Since all its R&D and production take place at the Rishikesh factory, a world-class facility was built here in 2009. “Rishikesh was a natural choice for us,” says Bedi, “as we already had a base there. You get fresh ingredients in abundance.”
Launched in 2002 by four individuals (Rajshree Pathy, Vikram Goyal, Dave Chang and Vivek Sahni) who wanted to promote the message of authentic Ayurveda through the Coimbatore-based Arya Vaidya Pharmacy (AVP), today, it is helmed by only one of its original founders
Sahni has been running a successful design communication firm for the last two decades and forayed into the world of Ayurveda by chance. “My business partner Dave and I created the Khadi brand for the government in 1998,” he says. “When that got over, we decided to do something different. The Kama was the result.” Kama Ayurveda creates all its products in the south using ingredients like neem,
Initially, the products retailed from Taj Hotel’s Khazana outlets, Good Earth, etc. In 2003, it retailed only through distribution channels. In the same year, a functionary of the Paris-based Perfumerie Generale took notice of Kama and started importing its products. Other global distributors jumped into the fray and the brand is now available in 50 countries. In 2005-2006, Kama started getting certified in the EU. It was only four years ago, though, that it opened its first retail outlet at Khan Market in Delhi. It now has18 stores in eight cities.
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lNEPAL: “Mother and son The Haze on the streets of Kathmandu.”
For me, beauty knows no bounds,” says photographer Mihaela Noroc. “You can see it in the eyes, in a smile, in a story, in a gesture. It comes from inside.”
At a time where so many of us are locked in a daily struggle to adhere to society’s increasingly narrow concepts of beauty, Noroc’s inspiring work has taken on a deeper significance.
Her mammoth Atlas Of Beauty project features powerful photographs of hundreds of women, taken in more than 50 countries.
While our culture and surroundings set us apart, womanhood can be a force that unites us, believes Noroc. “After traveling the world, I realized that despite being so different we are all part of the same family. All the women in my photos have something in common—a feeling of kindness and serenity.”
Noroc’s stunning snaps taken in India and Nepal truly inspire a feeling of shared ideals and sisterhood across borders. Here, Noroc shares her discoveries during her photographic odyssey.
“I started photography in my adolescence and my first subjects were my mother and sister. I enjoyed taking pictures of them very much, which is why I continued to take portraits of women. This project was born after a trip to Ethiopia, where I discovered a lot of fascinating women. This made me realize that I could combine my two passions: photographing women and traveling.”
“I try to explore different environments in order to show as much diversity as possible. When I choose a subject, I try to see a story in her eyes, or hear it in her words—I’m looking for naturalness and authenticity. I try to capture feelings of honesty and serenity each time I take out my camera.”
A FACE TELLS A STORY
“In most cases the women that I photograph don’t consider themselves beautiful. But they are. We wear our story on our face, and that is part of who we are. These women usually see another kind of beauty in the media, someone more glamorous, and they lose confidence. I’d like my photos to help them realize how beautiful they are and encourage them to remain natural and sincere.”
“Global trends make us look and behave the same, but we are all beautiful because we are different. In India, like in much of the world, mass media links beauty with having light skin and, unfortunately, many women are influenced by this trend. Through my work, I try to show that beauty goes beyond skin colour and each woman has her own charm. The media encourages women to be trendy, to buy as many clothes as possible, to wear make-up and so on. That’s not beauty anymore. It’s just a marketing strategy to sell more products. Beauty is diversity. It’s not something defined by a marketing strategy. Perhaps in 50 years all women from all around the world will dress and act the same. I hope my project will remain a witness to my era’s cultures and traditions.”
“The women in Nepal were extremely open when I was asking to photograph them. Most of them really enjoyed having their picture taken, but in India, I got many refusals. Although both countries are incredibly diverse, I noticed that Nepalese women are influenced by the Indian culture. They watch Indian movies and they love Indian music. So, in their style, you see similarities with India.”
“Since starting this project, my personal perception of beauty hasn’t changed, but, on the contrary, today my perception that beauty knows no bounds is stronger than ever.”
“An original is always better than a copy. Being authentic and natural, instead of trying to copy something that is not you, makes you more beautiful. Be yourself—be authentic and keep your cultural heritage. This way, both your inner and outer beauty will shine.”
“I feel proud that I managed to photograph women from very different environments across India—from the slums in Delhi to a Bollywood actor [Sonam Kapoor] in Mumbai. I was particularly fascinated by the look of Rajasthani women and the beautiful way they mixed colours and jewellery. I talked to many fascinating women in both India and Nepal. They shared their struggles and dreams with me and I felt inspired by their strength. I hope my photos will make these women see how special they are and encourage them to remain natural and authentic.”
“After traveling the world, I realized that despite being so different we are all part of the same family. All the women in my photos have something in common—a feeling of kindness and serenity”
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