Friday, August 5, 2011

Suit Yourself !

The first day when i saw the news about the neighbor country ambassador i just admired her neat white suit and the way the dupatta (a long scarf) was draped over her head. i found her looking pretty, trendy, smart, intelligent and a sophisticated traditional.
Then the paparazzi took over and projected her much to her chagrin as a fashion icon. An exclusive feature in the Sunday Times then opened my eyes to more. It was Sunday and for a change i concentrated on this piece of news for i was fed with news of scams, corruption , train accidents, dismal and sad performance of our cricketers, more rapes and still more murders. Moreover there was some anger and wanting to snap at everyone kind of  frustration building up.
As could be expected in such moments diversion was not hard at all. My chosen features were on pages 15-20 on all the days albeit the distraction and indulge into what's hot is supposed to be on page 3.
And so i gulped down the details and managed to laugh at all the boisterous tweets.
i wouldn't have bothered but the repetitive features got the better of me and i had this strong urge of going through the ambassador's pictures once again.

Okay Roberto Cavalli Shades...South Sea Pearls and ...a Birkin??
So while the ambassador grew "incandescent" at being dubbed as WMD (weapon of mass distraction) i was on a mission and silently thanked the paparazzi for bombarding ancients like me with NEWS.

Only thing i hope the paparazzi could have assured me that when i said Birkin...something that rhymed with gherkin i was sounding okay. For it took me quite some time to get Louis Vuitton right.
Thanks to Russel Peters and no thanks to paparazzi for that.

My mission yielded some results and it goes like this.
The Birkin bag is a hand crafted purse made by the French high fashion house Hermès.
Pronounced hair-maizz .
Just like the Kelly bag was named after princess Grace Kelly of Monaco the Birkin bag was specially made for actress and singer Jane Mallory Birkin OBE . 

 Jane Mallory Birkin  
And apart from the so many celebrities who own this very expensive bag the one who has been spotted to have the largest collection nearing around a hundred or so ( approximately 2 million dollars worth) is none other than the fashionable and oh! so slim "Bag Lady" Victoria Beckham.
Sure i checked out some of her spotted- by- paparazzi Birkin bags at

No! it does not amaze me to know " that meticulous craftsmanship and scarcity" create such exclusive bags. For our own country is replete with many such crafts. My wonderment was with the paparazzi which has both the penchant and the connoisseurs' temperament for high fashion and if not for their repetitive screaming that sounded like a slogan i would still be an ignorant fool battling with THE pronunciation of Louis Vuitton.

Definitely now i shall get acquainted with some if not all of both Jane Birkin's movies and music. i don't care about the controversies but what has appealed to me is her dedication towards humanitarian causes and her association with Amnesty International.
It was touching to know that her namesake bag that traveled with her from Haiti to Burma for all the humanitarian causes, she recently auctioned for Red Cross Japan Relief on ebay.
Photo: EMI

However what made me head over heels for this new to me personality/celebrity/Icon of the Sixties/Dame is her self-effacing honesty which she exudes whether it is in her words as she explains the reasons for why she did what she did or her constant endeavor now to contribute to a just cause.
On personalization: “There’s no fun in a bag if it’s not kicked around, so that it looks as if the cat’s been sitting on it—and it usually has. The cat may even be in it! I always put on stickers and beads and worry beads. You can get them from Greece, Israel, Palestine—from anywhere in the world. I always hang things on my bags because I don’t like them looking like everyone else’s.”
On restraint: “I never have more than one bag at a time. I think one is already quite enough. Also, I hate changing bags, so I never have the thing of having ten bags. Any bag that’s with me will take the same course as I will. It will take the same airplanes and will be squashed in the same way and will be used as a cushion in the airports.”
On the Birkin she’s carrying now: “It’s black, but it’s not dirty enough, and it hasn’t gotten any stickers on it. It’s rather more bumpy than the other one was, but the surface will soon get scratched about.” 
On what she carries in her Birkin: “I’ve got my agenda, my BlackBerry, photos of all the children [daughters Kate Barry, Charlotte Gainsbourg,and Lou Doillon], and my makeup, which is all upside down. It’s the nice mess that I always like.”
On the popularity of the Birkin—both real and fake: “It’s very nice that everyone’s got one or wants one. I keep saying to Hermès to make it out of plastic or, even more fun, make it out of cardboard. Then it wouldn’t be so heavy. But if people want to go for the real thing, fine. If they go for copies, that’s fine too. I really don’t think it matters.”
On handing them down: “My daughter Lou does not have one. Personally, I think it would be a horrible thing to have a Birkin bag from your mother."

My mission was quite something for not only did it dissipate the bitterness and the anger i felt about the undue and vulgar emphasis on wealth when larger issues of survival was at stake but i also realized that my feelings were so common.
Yeah the grapes are sour kind of thing. i mean if i was a celebrity who could afford such luxuries would i abstain from it?
It's so common to sit in your place and if you are in a non-agitated state, be cynical about everything that is out of your reach and silently curse the media for making news out of anything. Even laugh at all the crude jokes spilling out after the media has flashed something.
But come to think of this when we can appreciate German mastery over tools/automobiles/machines, the Swiss watches and chocolates, the Savile Row suits, the Rolls Royce and the likes what stupid reasoning stops us from appreciating a bag and the fashion house that created it.
i thank the media for educating me on this too but more than that i feel happy today to get introduced to one interestingly complex celebrity who not only shocked the world with her strange amalgam of insecurity and arrogance but is now on her way to conquering the hearts of the so many who need help.

What i have been trying to harp on is that there's always 'The New' in News that anyone can use. Maybe the next time i see Lady Gaga then instead of getting all fired up on her costume i'd rather concentrate on her voice or even try and figure out the meanings of her songs. The song "Paparazzi" for instance which has my teenager clueless, i feel is about the the artist/celebrity and the paparazzi both wooing each other. "...celebrities need a higher level of exposure than the rest of us so it is a two-way street. The celebrities manipulate."

BTW the dainty hand adjusting the dupatta did feature a very worth a dekho (must have a look) watch. Did i miss out on that...i hope not.

Added today :7th Aug 2011 from Sunday Times TOI


The handbag is the foreign minister


Hina Rabbani Khar is not Pakistan’s new foreign minister, a source close to the policymakers said in a remarkable revelation this week. “It is not Khar but her Hermes Birkin bag that was appointed to office last month,” he told this scribe. “The idea was to promote a soft image of Pakistan.” 
    He cited the coverage of the bag in the Indian and Pakistani media and the analyses of its role in impacting ties between the two countries, as evidence of his claim. 
    The appointment is likely to have serious economic impact and indicates Pakistan’s changing foreign policy especially towards America and its war on terror. “The price of the bag is close to the annual US aid to Pakistan,” a foreign policy expert said, “and the move signals to the US that Pakistan might not need financial help any longer.” 

    “We needed someone to carry it around,” the official said, “and there was no politician better than Hina Rabbani Khar to take care of Pakistan’s precious economic resource.” 
    Critics denied the report, saying it was a rumour spread by the establishment in the form of a leak. “The establishment has become fond of making political jokes,” an expert said. It is pertinent to mention here that most of these political jokes later became federal ministers. 
    Analysts do agree that the Birkin bag fits the profile of a traditional male foreign minister quite well — It belongs to a family that has been influential for centuries, it is oversized, has a big mouth but doesn’t know how to speak, it takes months to get hold of it, and it does not have the ability to make foreign policy
    Based on these qualities, some foreign policy experts do not see the new appointment as a radical change. “It’s not like Shah Mahmood Qureshi came with a shoulder strap.” The report sparked a debate on Twitter about the gender of the bag and 
its implications. 
    Before the new revelation, results in public polls in the print media led Urdu columnists to demand an apology from Hina Rabbani Khar for being rich. They said she was cut off from the public and therefore did not qualify to be the foreign minister. One suggested she drive a rickshaw for several years first, to connect with the common people and learn the art of negotiation with 
stubborn opponents. 
    Religious parties had similarly demanded an apology from Hina for being a woman. At the time of the filing of this report, she had not officially denied the allegation. 
    Her supporters in English newspapers and the blogosphere however denied that she was pretty, dismissing reports of her good looks as baseless propaganda. Some have urged the minis
ter to grow a moustache to dispel the impression among common people that she is beautiful. 
    Meanwhile, feminists have strongly protested calling Hina Rabbani Khar a woman, saying the W word is derogatory. “It is a different thing if we call each other women,” one civil society representative told this scribe while twisting her moustache. “For us, it is diminutive but inclusive.” 
    After the revelation that it was the Birkin bag and not Hina whose qualifications needed to be analysed, a number of political analysts expressed satisfaction with the government’s new move. “Pakistan has come a long long way in the last few months,” an expert said. “Having a designer bag as a foreign minister is significantly better than having no foreign minister at all.” 
The writer is a media and culture critic from Pakistan. He can be reached at 

Image courtesy:


  1. very interesting.and educating too.

  2. @Gauri yeah and this was just yet another attempt to pass the education.
    Thank you for finding it interesting too.:)

  3. Good one.very informative article.

  4. @Anonymous i feel happy to pass on the information.
    Thank you:)