It was the largest and most decadent invitation I'd ever received - all handmade paper with a watercolored, peacock-motif edging and an illustration of a tall, thin woman in a flowing gown. The invite came complete with real rhinestones and beading. And what, pray tell, type of event could this extravagant invitation be for? Why the 1st Bollywood Fashion Awards, of course! This first international, gala event honored the outstanding achievements of Indian fashion designers and featured exotic models, bumbling comedians, inspiring singers and (drum roll, please) Steven Seagal! Woowee! Yessiree, Mr. Segal bowed and saluted the Indian supporters present for the opportunity to preview his very own fashion collection for the first time. Other designers who graced the catwalk with their stunning designs were Neeta Lulla (designer, costume designer, lecturer), Suneet Varma (designer, author, Brand Ambassador of Moet et Chandon), Alia Khan (Asian Andaz Inc. and Asianandaz.com) and Anand Jon. The Lifetime of Style Award went to the glamorous Jerry Hall, who slunk on stage, said a few brief words and slunk away just as quickly.
Before the event began, there was a big ol' cocktail party where all the ladies in their beaded and appliquéd gowns with scarves and sarongs swirled around men in tuxedos and dark suits. I wore my favorite dress - a hand-painted silk design made by my friend Anya Eliashevich, who incidentally sells beautiful clothes at Zvon, the hip clothing gallery in Soho. Upon arriving, I met M&S Filmworks President & CEO Bob Tuli and the bubbly Mala Singh of Toronto-based Sama Model and Talent Agency, who was all ready to sign me up. Now I just need to get up to Toronto for a Cocktails with Courtney! Columbia University Professor, South Asian Journalists Association Co-founder and Writer Sreenath Sreenivasan was in attendance with a few bedecked and bejeweled friends. I also met Sun Venture Consultants Partner Rave Mehta and K21Q's Kaushika Patel before heading into dinner. My host, the ever-popular and influencial Raj Pamnani of Quantum Venture Partners, held court with six tables lining the runway. I chose to sit nearer the back, where I could chat freely with my tablemates - entertaining fellows from firstrain. President and CEO Gaurav Rewari, his fiance, Radhika Cooper, Director of Finance Navaid Farooqi, Senior Director of Marketing C.V. Sudhir and Director of Product Management Manu Warikoo were among their clan. During the spectacular show, we chatted, enjoyed some rare wine and waited patiently for dinner. At long last it arrived, and we dove into the family style servings with much vigor. Afterwards, the after party continued on at Pravda. For the first fashion event Bollywood set a good tone. There were a few kinks to work out, but nothing that 400 million views via satellite wouldn't have noticed! For more info: http://www.bollywoodfashionawards.com