— JASMEEN DUGAL
Meher Castelino was the first Femina Miss India in 1964 following which she represented the country at the Miss Universe and Miss United Nations pageants inMiami Beach, Florida and Majorca, Spain. Not content with just modeling, she wore many hats — heading the designing department of export and fashion houses, pioneer of fashion journalism since her first article in Eve’s Weekly in 1973 and author of three fashion books. So, is it a wonder she was awarded Hall of Fame, Fashion Writer at Kingfisher Fashion Awards 2001, Achievement in Fashion Media from Young Environmentalists Trust in 2012 and an award for her contribution to fashion by B D Somani Institute of Fashion Technology the same year. Having known her as a straightforward, humorous and knowledgeable fashion journalist and author, I was super excited when she sent me an advanced copy of her newest book, ''Fashion Musings.''
No, it's not a tell-all exposé of the intrigue behind the glamorous veneer of fashion! It is better! Presented in a lighthearted Q-A format, the book takes a holistic look at Fashion. I loved the chapter ''Crafty Designer'':
DESIGNER: ’'I am not doing anything; my master cutter and embroiderer will do all the necessary things needed to make my collection look grand…
…I don't know whose embroidery he is copying and I don't care, as long as it looks different in my collection…''
MEHER: ''That is a very risky thing you are doing and there is no originality in your collections…
… the construction is mediocre; and the embellishments are left to the craftsmen…''
DESIGNER: ''But you dont know my skills in communication, marketing, public relations, promotions and media savvy behaviour. No one can beat me when it comes to promoting a collection no matter how substandard it may be.''
MEHER: ''Wow, mow this is one part of the fashion business I did not know. you are not a creative designer but a real crafty designer , who knows all the right stitches and words to keep a collection together.''
And then there's one on sustainable fashion…
MEHER: ''…the farmers who grow the cotton, the weavers who weave, spinners who spin, the processors who process the fabrics and the dyers who add the color.''
DESIGNER: ''Goodness! Now where did all these people come into my collection?''
MEHER: Sustainable organic fashion means that your collections take care of all these people's needs and livelihood''
DESIGNER: How am i going to do that? I can barely look after my own livelihood…"
These are just a small excerpt from the many quirky chapters, from ''FRow Queens'' to ‘'Fakeistas'', ''Fashionably Ungrateful'', ''Fashion Financing'' and ''Instagram Design Graduate’': all of them, saucy and tongue- in- cheek albeit underlined with hard truth. A must-read if you're seeking a broad understanding of the fashion industry and how it works, from an insider's perspective. Such frank glimpses are rare but then Meher Castelino is an integral part of fashion weeks and design institutes, consultant, columnist and author — with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Indian Fashion. Buy your copy now from Amazon or Flipkart! I'm loving mine and hoping for Part II.
26 March 2021 1:18 am THE STILETTO FOODIE
9 September 2020 9:46 pm MADE IN INDIA
5 September 2020 4:40 pm THE HOUSE OF JAIPUR
10 May 2020 12:35 am THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK
14 July 2019 11:03 pm POSKEM: GOANS IN THE SHADOWS
28 June 2019 9:12 pm WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE
27 June 2019 9:24 pm CLOSE TO THE BONE
14 September 2018 1:58 pm ACCIDENTAL HEROES
1 September 2018 2:06 pm THE VANITY FAIR DIARIES
24 June 2018 2:17 pm REKHA: THE UNTOLD STORY
6 May 2016 12:54 pm DRAWING BLOOD
3 June 2015 2:49 pm CHAKH LE INDIA