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Riveting, behind the scenes account of the Indian fashion world, Ever been intrigued by the Indian Fashion Industry—its stereotypes of drugged models, gay designers, and fascinating but unaffordable clothes? Join Shefalee Vasudev, former editor of Marie Claire and an acclaimed fashion journalist, on a deep‑sea dive into the gagging depths of Indian fashion. In Powder Room, s Riveting, behind the scenes account of the Indian fashion world, Ever been intrigued by the Indian Fashion Industry—its stereotypes of drugged models, gay designers, and fascinating but unaffordable clothes? Join Shefalee Vasudev, former editor of Marie Claire and an acclaimed fashion journalist, on a deep‑sea dive into the gagging depths of Indian fashion. In Powder Room, she offers an insider’s view of people who make the industry what it is—from a lower middle class girl who sells global luxury for a living to a designer who fights the inner demons of child sexual abuse yet manages to survive and thrive in the business of fashion, or a Ludhiana housewife on a perpetual fashion high. Besides candid interviews of known names in Indian fashion, Shefalee provides a commentary on new social behaviour, urban culture, generational differences, and the compulsions behind conspicuous consumption in a country splitting at the seams with inequalities of opportunity and wealth. From Nagaland to Patan, Mumbai, Delhi, and Punjab, Powder Room mirrors how and why India ‘does’ fashion.


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Riveting, behind the scenes account of the Indian fashion world, Ever been intrigued by the Indian Fashion Industry—its stereotypes of drugged models, gay designers, and fascinating but unaffordable clothes? Join Shefalee Vasudev, former editor of Marie Claire and an acclaimed fashion journalist, on a deep‑sea dive into the gagging depths of Indian fashion. In Powder Room, s Riveting, behind the scenes account of the Indian fashion world, Ever been intrigued by the Indian Fashion Industry—its stereotypes of drugged models, gay designers, and fascinating but unaffordable clothes? Join Shefalee Vasudev, former editor of Marie Claire and an acclaimed fashion journalist, on a deep‑sea dive into the gagging depths of Indian fashion. In Powder Room, she offers an insider’s view of people who make the industry what it is—from a lower middle class girl who sells global luxury for a living to a designer who fights the inner demons of child sexual abuse yet manages to survive and thrive in the business of fashion, or a Ludhiana housewife on a perpetual fashion high. Besides candid interviews of known names in Indian fashion, Shefalee provides a commentary on new social behaviour, urban culture, generational differences, and the compulsions behind conspicuous consumption in a country splitting at the seams with inequalities of opportunity and wealth. From Nagaland to Patan, Mumbai, Delhi, and Punjab, Powder Room mirrors how and why India ‘does’ fashion.

30 review for Powder Room : The Untold Story of Indian Fashion

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bhargavi Balachandran

    I don't think I have ever been a keen follower of fashion and could barely tell a Sabyasachi ensemble from a Masaba masterpiece. But that was before I decided to indirectly get involved in the world of fashion .I now faithfully thumb through the fashion glossies to make sure that I keep myself abreast of the latest fads and 'Fashion'. Well, if there is one word that is abused and bastardized , it has to this F word, Fashion , which changes at a mercurial pace like the moods of a sullen,moody tee I don't think I have ever been a keen follower of fashion and could barely tell a Sabyasachi ensemble from a Masaba masterpiece. But that was before I decided to indirectly get involved in the world of fashion .I now faithfully thumb through the fashion glossies to make sure that I keep myself abreast of the latest fads and 'Fashion'. Well, if there is one word that is abused and bastardized , it has to this F word, Fashion , which changes at a mercurial pace like the moods of a sullen,moody teenager. Moody or not, my fascination was piqued and I decided to read this book. A fellow blogger had also recommended this book and rated it highly. I found Powder room brilliant, insightful and full of amusing anecdotes Ex-editor of Marie Claire , Shefalee Vasudev has written this book like a sociologist would have, with considerable journalistic detachment. Having observed various facets of 'fashion' from close quarters , her observations and arguments don't seem sensational or voyeuristic.The book is divided into ten chapters , where Shefalee tackles a different story or talks about a certain aspect of the world of fashion. Apparently , she spoke to close to 300 odd people before writing this book. The academic rigor and research she has put into this book is evident in the mind-boggling amount of data and information that hits the reader. Right from the first chapter, where Shefalee talks about Raakesh Agarvwal , a troubled , yet hugely successful designer who was abused as a child and still has demons inside him that haunt him , to the socialite wives of Ludhiana to the lower middle class girl selling luxurry products , to the politics behind the fashion weeks , Shefalee weaves a narrative that bounces back and forth like a ping-pong ball.Yet , at no point in time will the reader feel disoriented, because the stories she has to tell are all extraordinary. My favorite stories have to be the one about the lower middle class girl and that of the Ludhiana society ladies. If you are looking for scandals or gossip , this might not be the book for you(of course , that aspect is there too). This book is more an exercise in sociology, an attempt to see where the fashion trajectory of India is headed. The chapter on models was an eye-opener. Madhur Bhandarkar probably has done a huge disservice to the model community by talking about the negative aspects of the modelling world. Shefalee's book will make you realise that such wayward models are exceptions and not the norm. Huge egos of designers, manipulative PR agents , unscrupulous editors, appalling lack of integrity in fashion journalism..Shefalee's book talks about them all. Maybe if you just want the juicy parts, you'll still love this book. The chapters on Patan Patola and the last chapter on the politics at the fashion weeks makes one realise the pettiness and business-mindedness of some factions on designer community and the clout that the big brands have over everyone. It is disheartening to note that going by the way things are being handled old traditional weaves like the Patan Patola will probably go extinct soon. Hats off to the family for trying to keep this art alive, but one does wonder if a more commercial approach is required by the artisan family to ensure that their craft doesn't go extinct with them. I was also moved by the chapter on Imchi Imchen and how Nagas feel alienated from the "Mainland".I am intrigued enough to want to read a book on Nagaland and how insurgency has affected the people there. Maybe there is an underlying tone of melancholy and desperation in the book. Certain parts of the book paints a rather bleak picture of how things are in the fashion industry , but somebody has to talk about these things. Overall an excellent book that I 'll recommend to anyone curious about the Indian fashion industry. Five star all the way ( I decided that I would give a five star to this book barely into 100 pages of reading this book!)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Manjul Bajaj

    I’m not sure how or why I ended up reading a book on the Indian fashion industry, since the subject doesn’t really interest me. But it was an engaging enough read and I’m not complaining. Much of the book covers material which is very familiar and obvious even to rank outsiders like myself - of top designers and their partying ways, of sleazy models and superior divas, of how the industry survives on wedding bling and bollywood excesses, of ladies tailors in Lajpat Nagar who copy designer stuff I’m not sure how or why I ended up reading a book on the Indian fashion industry, since the subject doesn’t really interest me. But it was an engaging enough read and I’m not complaining. Much of the book covers material which is very familiar and obvious even to rank outsiders like myself - of top designers and their partying ways, of sleazy models and superior divas, of how the industry survives on wedding bling and bollywood excesses, of ladies tailors in Lajpat Nagar who copy designer stuff for a fraction of the price, of the rivalry and jealousy of the two competing fashion weeks in India etc. However, Vasudev distinguishes herself in chapters where she follows the fashion trail into the hinterland – to Ludhiana’s ladies who lunch set and to fashion influences in the North-east; or when she documents the decline of the Patan Patola in Gujarat or her own fervent efforts to find larger meaning in a fashion editor’s job. The question that stayed with me after I put down the book was this – why does the author who decries the fact that Indian fashion magazines are toothless and fail to cover issues like wages to karigars, child labour or abysmal work conditions in the industry (pg 273) then go on to write a 330 page book that doesn’t cover them either? And though she tells us that the future belongs to young, innovative designers who are busy creating their own funky, alternate fashion she keeps the spotlight entirely on the names we’ve already heard bandied about ad nauseum.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Priyanka Tandon

    A good read. Shefalee's writing style is engaging and flowing. She takes you along with her and lets you take a look into the world of fashion - from the designers to the consumers and everything in between. In the process of narration, Shefalee opens herself up to the reader, thus exposing herself to the risk of criticism on more of a personal level. However, this very insight into her, helps the reader decide the context in which to read the book. The book is an amalgamation of the life story o A good read. Shefalee's writing style is engaging and flowing. She takes you along with her and lets you take a look into the world of fashion - from the designers to the consumers and everything in between. In the process of narration, Shefalee opens herself up to the reader, thus exposing herself to the risk of criticism on more of a personal level. However, this very insight into her, helps the reader decide the context in which to read the book. The book is an amalgamation of the life story of the Designers and their Business, Models - not just the drug-sex-bollywood-'will do anything to succeed' obssessed but the ones who are disciplined, professional and committed, the Darzi Couture and the Tailors-Masterjis and the Indian weaves. Though the last 1-2 chapters seem to show more of Shefalee's exasperation with the Industry than anything else, however given the book has been a good read so far and the reader understands where she is standing on the subject, so her bias can be easily overlooked and the story read with appropriate filters. Read this book; not for the gossip but to understand what makes Fashion in India, to gain insight into the designers world (more than the models), to understand how are you as a Consumer and make sense of it all.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shriya

    Powder Room has been on my to-read list since 2012. When I seen it in the library I was eager to scoop it up. I love Fashion. I have a fair amount of knowledge about the Indian industry. Although this book didn't do much for me besides learning one thing. I wish there were more designers and history. Powder Room has been on my to-read list since 2012. When I seen it in the library I was eager to scoop it up. I love Fashion. I have a fair amount of knowledge about the Indian industry. Although this book didn't do much for me besides learning one thing. I wish there were more designers and history.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Samarpita Sharma

    My review: http://sankshvet.blogspot.in/2012/10/... My review: http://sankshvet.blogspot.in/2012/10/...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Prerna

    Had heard about this new book on Hit 95 FM on my way to work one morning. The theme as well as the name of the book really interested me. Came to work and the first thing I did was looked for the book and ordered it. This time around, since it was a fairly new book could not find any reviews. This debut book by Shefalee Vasudev justifies the title explanation really well 'The Untold stories of Indian Fashion'. Some stories known and some unknown, each chapter is beautifully crafted and is easy t Had heard about this new book on Hit 95 FM on my way to work one morning. The theme as well as the name of the book really interested me. Came to work and the first thing I did was looked for the book and ordered it. This time around, since it was a fairly new book could not find any reviews. This debut book by Shefalee Vasudev justifies the title explanation really well 'The Untold stories of Indian Fashion'. Some stories known and some unknown, each chapter is beautifully crafted and is easy to be comprehended by the reader A must read for all the fashion lovers.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Suprama Singh

    Two weeks back I caved into the world of Indian Fashion , an untold story told by Shefalee Vasudev . In her book , Powder Room , she talks about the glamorous industry of Indian Fashion . I've always been intrigued by the glam world , I've had my share of reading about it and also watching a couple of movies and documentaries like Devil Wears Prada , Coco Before Chanel , The September Issue , and books like The Gospel according to Coco Chanel , to name a few . Powder Room is an insightful read a Two weeks back I caved into the world of Indian Fashion , an untold story told by Shefalee Vasudev . In her book , Powder Room , she talks about the glamorous industry of Indian Fashion . I've always been intrigued by the glam world , I've had my share of reading about it and also watching a couple of movies and documentaries like Devil Wears Prada , Coco Before Chanel , The September Issue , and books like The Gospel according to Coco Chanel , to name a few . Powder Room is an insightful read about the stereotypes of drugged models , gay designers , and fascinating but unaffordable clothes . It talks about the famous fashion designers from Tarun Tahiliani to the most sought after brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada , Gucci , and most famous labels and logos of India , about the struggling models who often have to maintain diets and the party culture that comes along their way, and about fashion Journalists . One can find candid interviews of known names in Indian Fashion , but also Shefalee has provided a commentary on new social behaviour , urban culture, and also about her career as a fashion journalist and how hard she had to work her ass off to have a career in the glam world . The contents of the book are really fascinating like Dry Clean Only, Price on Request , Ludhiana Ladies , Ladies Taylor to name a few , and one of my personal favourites , Boy ,Interrupted . This book has well crafted stories and also one gets to read a plethora of the personal life experiences in the fashion world . From dwelling into the lives of the Karigars , this book also explores the personal experiences of the young designers and models , and also the tailors , who work hard to earn their bread and butter .

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ojaswi Sharma

    Good journalistic work. Read it years ago but remember it as a very interesting and educational read. It is about fashion in all its form and if you're interested in the topic, I would recommend picking it up. The writing is minimalist and conversational. Good journalistic work. Read it years ago but remember it as a very interesting and educational read. It is about fashion in all its form and if you're interested in the topic, I would recommend picking it up. The writing is minimalist and conversational.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Garima Sharma

    Insightful.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rajnish Sharma

    An inside glimpse of Indian fashion,and Fashion Designer, modus operendi of whole system, how a piece of cloth origanated from some weaver, in gujrat or Rajsthan and its journey of mathamorphosis at different stages ultimately reaching at designers Hot Selling list..a being the media frenzy. This book is an eye opener reflecting so many paradoxes of fashion industry.where a race is going on to perch oneself on top..a relentless struggle to steal the limelight ;very very insecure bunch of highly t An inside glimpse of Indian fashion,and Fashion Designer, modus operendi of whole system, how a piece of cloth origanated from some weaver, in gujrat or Rajsthan and its journey of mathamorphosis at different stages ultimately reaching at designers Hot Selling list..a being the media frenzy. This book is an eye opener reflecting so many paradoxes of fashion industry.where a race is going on to perch oneself on top..a relentless struggle to steal the limelight ;very very insecure bunch of highly talented group decides what the glam amd glitteries will wear at various glam functions

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nikhita

    While some chapters of this book were particularly intriguing, I feel like the author is someone who isn't really apt to tell a story about Indian fashion. She's obviously biased since she left the industry, and I don't see much depth. However, the book was interesting and well researched. As a future fashion journalist, I loved the inside scoops on the industry and some of it read more like a novel than a piece of nonfiction, which made me smile and kept me immersed in it long after bedtime. While some chapters of this book were particularly intriguing, I feel like the author is someone who isn't really apt to tell a story about Indian fashion. She's obviously biased since she left the industry, and I don't see much depth. However, the book was interesting and well researched. As a future fashion journalist, I loved the inside scoops on the industry and some of it read more like a novel than a piece of nonfiction, which made me smile and kept me immersed in it long after bedtime.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Arathi

    A good insight into the fashion industry, clearly stating that there is much more to the industry than seen in glossies & party columns; that the weavers & craftsmen have not received rightful justice for their work, how some Indian heritage crafts are loosing value etc. However the book was more on what the author's take on the industry is than the 'untold story of the industry'. But still a good one for her first publication & A MUST READ! A good insight into the fashion industry, clearly stating that there is much more to the industry than seen in glossies & party columns; that the weavers & craftsmen have not received rightful justice for their work, how some Indian heritage crafts are loosing value etc. However the book was more on what the author's take on the industry is than the 'untold story of the industry'. But still a good one for her first publication & A MUST READ!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sweta

    Good book for an introduction to the many facets of working in the fashion industry in India. Indian fashion is relies on having Bollywood stars to make trends, a la the increasing number of fashion shows employing Bollywood stars as showstoppers. It's interesting to note a revival in the traditional embroideries and support for traditional handicraft items. Good book for an introduction to the many facets of working in the fashion industry in India. Indian fashion is relies on having Bollywood stars to make trends, a la the increasing number of fashion shows employing Bollywood stars as showstoppers. It's interesting to note a revival in the traditional embroideries and support for traditional handicraft items.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mansi

    The good, the bad, the ugly, it's all here. The facts and history seems to be interesting but the writer comes across as a judgmental and a little spoilt. The English and writing is very,very average, not something I expected from an editor. Glaring mistakes, obvious deductions and repetitive words make the book quiet a drag. Not my kind of room, I guess. The good, the bad, the ugly, it's all here. The facts and history seems to be interesting but the writer comes across as a judgmental and a little spoilt. The English and writing is very,very average, not something I expected from an editor. Glaring mistakes, obvious deductions and repetitive words make the book quiet a drag. Not my kind of room, I guess.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Vishwa

    Giving it 4 stars for the sheer amount of research that the author has done to give a first hand, factual, no-nonsense kinda approach in unraveling the secrets of the Indian fashion industry. The writing style is narrative, easy, and non-judgmental. A must read for anyone interested in knowing about the fashion and retail industry in India.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Klaudia

    Great Inside into the lives of Indian fashion designers and their battles with competitions of the third world. Shefalee takes you through their journey into mainstream with a front seat throughout.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mallika

    A good narrative from her perspective. Although, I loved reading each account and believed most of it may actually exists... some parts leave me skeptical. A good read, overall; not great though.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jahan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kushal Murkumbi

  20. 4 out of 5

    Pooja

  21. 5 out of 5

    Surabhi Mehta

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aditya Nagarajan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Aditi

  24. 4 out of 5

    Surabhi

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pratigya

  26. 4 out of 5

    Soumya Sehgal

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sonil Agarwal

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pravie

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shreya Kumar

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bhavna

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