I dived right back into the social scene on Sunday when Vijay Mallya launched his legendary swimsuit calendar in Delhi (they flew the paparazzi in you see.) The venue was the very swanky and soon-to-be-officially launched Emporio Mall in Vasant Kunj. Gucci, Louis Vitton, Fendi, Armani, Hugo Boss, Escada, Kenzo, Paul Smith and Tiffany & Co. are just a few of the 130 brands (of which 70 are International) available there. I even saw this amazing Tarun Tahiliani sari which I was all set to splurge on till I realized it was for 77,000 rupees. Snap.
But back to the 2009 Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar – in its 7th year now – they decided to mix it up because they always launch in Mumbai and apparently people are starting to get a bit ho hum about the whole thing… (also Vijay Mallya’s apparently trying to be sensitive about large celebrations in a still-somber city after 26/11. He even cancelled his annual New Year’s bash in Goa leaving several social butterflies with nothing high-profile to attend – of course they claimed they were in no mood to celebrate anyway.)
So this time the who’s who of Delhi’s rich and restless turned up including Priya & Charu Sachdev, apparently dressed as twins. (I actually went to the British school with these girls eons ago in Delhi and you could tell even then that they had stilettos in their future.) Also spotted actor Rahul Dev, Nafisa Ali, designers Ritu Kumar with her son, Suneet Verma, Ashish Soni, JJ Vallaya, Malini Ramani, Priyanjali Dhanjal, Manav Gangwani, Ritu Beri, Mumbai restaurateur AD Singh who’s got a new Japanese cuisine hot-spot for the fancy to frequent called “Ai,” theatre personality Sita Raina, Head of Louis Vuitton Tikka Shatrujeet Singh, Vijay Arora, Chetan Seth, Shabnam Singhal and a large number of foreign folk from various consulates (I even spotted former J & K. Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah marching out with his full security detail at around 5:00pm, although I’m not sure if he actually came for brunch or business.)
Cyrus Broacha hosted the festivities in his own inimitable style with a few impromptu beer-drinking competitions (with a surprising set of female contestants including one social diva who’s response to why she likes beer was, “I had a baby and now I like beer!”) and several inside jokes involving Atul Kasbekar and the King of Good Times Mr. Mallya himself.
Interestingly, Delhi’s “Page 3’ crowd is a motley crew of Gucci-toting and sunglass-wearing, swanky-dressers with just a tad too much make up! Arjun Rampal was the guest of honor and made quite an impression on Delhi’s rich and restless when he showed up on Delhi on his bikini-babe expedition for buddy Mallya. The Calendar girls looked pretty and stuck to their PC views for the most part and Arjuna accommodatingly hopped into the Force India Formula One car for a photo op, brunch extended (as it does) well into the evening when finally the chill set in and the Kingfisher cowboy hat clad, set out.