Things that dazzled in 2023

It put old-fashioned glamour back in our wardrobes

You could blame the pandemic for the fashion pause it induced upon us, but there really cannot be an excuse for wearing sweatpants in public. For all the highs and lows 2023 has brought on, its most impressive achievement was putting some good, old-fashioned glamour back in our wardrobes.

The year began with Louis Vuitton’s newest global brand ambassador, our very own Deepika Padukone, presenting at the Academy Awards. Dressed in an off-shoulder velvet gown, her now-famous smoke-eyed makeup, and gently tousled hair, Padukone shone introducing “a banger” of a song that RRR’s ‘Naatu Naatu’ was. Despite looking like she could belong anywhere in the world—from South Asia to the Middle East to South America—Padukone’s confidence was buoyed courtesy her distinctly Indian accent. All the mamas rolling their Rs to please an American audience took notes, and then faded away into oblivion.

Almost in the same vein, all of the world’s leading fashion folk descended upon Mumbai in March for Dior’s first-ever fashion show in India. Dior opened its stores in India nearly two decades ago, but finally decided to present to a live Indian audience. All of this under the aegis of its new creative head, the brilliant Maria Grazia Chiuri, who not only is a feminist in her practical manner of dressing women but also in empowering female artisans who she believes make the backbone of couture. Dior, and Chiuri, were in India with over 200 international journalists, to say thank you to India for her amazing embroidery work. This was a historical moment indeed.

Actors Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt with their daughter Raha | AFP Actors Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt with their daughter Raha | AFP

Sabyasachi’s new store in Mumbai is nothing if not India’s homegrown luxury flexing its muscle. The four storey, nearly 40,000 square foot flagship is set in a massive, 100-year-old, neoclassical building in Mumbai’s oldest district. It rubs shoulders with Christian Louboutin and Hermes on one side, and the country’s biggest Zara boutique on the other. The uber glamorous opening, hosted by the Kolkata designer’s new investor Kumar Mangalam Birla, saw a fleet of Mumbai’s elite crowd as well as a smattering of movie stars attend. But the real jaw-drop was the occasion itself—the gorgeous, gargantuan, grand edifice.

Former movie star Zeenat Aman, now 72, made her Instagram debut in January 2023 and what a needle she moved. More than anyone else before her, Aman 2.0 heralded a new era of agelessness and timelessness. She made it to two magazine covers already, one in India and one in Saudi Arabia. But her real clout came from the fact that Aman has finally convinced the country at large that a mature, thinking woman with silver hair is possibly the sexiest girl alive.

Indian kings have always worn jewels, but soon enough the shirt-and-trouser wearing man distorted ideas of masculinity and shed his baubles. Sure, North Indian grooms will wear a brooch on their turbans sometimes, or will add on their mother’s string of emerald or rubies, but men’s jewellery has barely moved beyond the wedding ring and the odd link bracelet. Until the wickedest of them all, Bobby Deol’s character in Animal, made his entry on an Iranian love song. The viral reels show the bronzed, bearded and boozed up Deol dancing in snug blue trousers, an unbuttoned white shirt and a long jadau pendant dangling off his bad, bad chest. After the boyfriend jacket, the ‘girlfriend necklace’ is now a thing.

Little Miss Raha Kapoor’s first appearance has us going aww. Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt’s year-old daughter finally made her first public appearance this week, showing off her mother’s cheeks and her light-eyed Kapoor lineage. Our hearts melted seeing the mother and daughter in matching red shoes. Christmas had christmassed, and it will be a happy and haute new year.