Aishwarya L’Oreal Bachchan

New Delhi : When the first Ash at Cannes (2012) pictures began streaming in last evening, I thought it was one of L’Oreal’s biggest marketing successes as a makeup brand. Super makeup and hair, that made Aishwarya, in certain camera angles look almost like her old Miss World self. It could only be a triumph of a wonderful cosmetic kit and a makeup artist with a magic wand. The hair stylist too needs a big applause for giving her a hair flick that drops down to one of her eyes, cleverly (oh, very cleverly) shielding a side of her still-chubby face. She’s lost a bit of weight since we all went bananas about her kilos earlier this month, but that’s not the point. Here she was in an Angelo Katsapis dip-dye maxi looking the heroine that she was and may still be. Nice, nice, tut tutted everyone, her regular naysayers included. She had, had the last laugh. Being more interested in publicity strategies and open wars of opinion, I was only too happy for Aishwarya.

Barely two hours later she walked a mummy-fied version of her earlier outing. Wearing a ceremonial, white chickankari sari by the Bachchan family’s most favoured designers Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla with an even more decorative, full sleeved and multi-hued blouse, with her hair piled up and dark, almost black nailpolish, she went from right to wrong very quickly. Most of the time, Ms Aishwaraya L’Oreal Bachchan gets it wrong on the Cannes red carpet. This continues to fox me year after year: One of the most beautiful women in the world, with the most influential and important designers around the world happy to dress her, a lady backed by a major cosmetic brand, she rarely gets her styling right. She soars momentarily to flatten out again.

Minimalism could have been Aishwarya’s best bet this season, a contemporary, non-fussy Indian garment. Instead she looks frumpy and overdone despite not wearing a single stitch of jewellery except her trademark ring. Who cares how much she weighs? What weighs her down is her (absent) style. Whew.