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Appreciation .

Gentleman's Gazette, the online magazine for classic men’s clothing, style and savoir vivre, I contribute articles to, some in collaboration with the owner Sven Raphael Schneider and some that feature under my own name has been voted the #2 Men's Style Blog out of 417 blogs. It is a nice feeling that my contributions, however small, have been appreciated by an international audience. I look forward to receiving such appreciation from my fellow countrymen in 2014.


In collaboration:
http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/cardigan-guide/?utm_source=N0109_Cardigan_Guide_&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=N0109_Cardigan_Guide

http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/the-chukka-boots-guide/

http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/boat-shoes-guide-buy-style-history-care/?utm_source=N0052_Boat_Shoe_Guide_&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=N0052_Boat_Shoe_Guide

http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/madras-guide-shirts-pants-history-where-to-buy/

http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/the-hacking-jacket-guide/

Under my own name.
http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/chelsea-boots-guide/

http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/jodhpur-boots-guide/

http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/jodhpurs-guide-pants-history-style-where-to-buy/

Portraits.

Spent some time taking a few portraits of my daughter Tara using sunlight as a single source of light . Experimented with some soft focus techniques as well . Hope you like them . Straight out of the camera without any PP.

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Bangalore Fashion Week.

I spent last evening shooting at the Bangalore Fashion Week ( it was an assignment for the course I am doing in Fashion Photography) and while I was not allowed to shoot the actual shows as I did not have a press card , I did not mind too much as I find taking candid shots of the models relaxing and taking a break much more interesting .
Unfortunately I did not get much time as it started raining and the light faded quickly, nevertheless I was very happy with the photographs I managed to get. I tried to capture the feel of a fashion week with the models, crowds and the photographers quietly going about their work.

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Catwalk.

My first fashion show went off well . Really enjoyed myself photographing it . Here are the results ( I took over a thousand photographs ) , uploading only the good ones.

Camera - Canon 7 D
Lens - Canon 70 - 200 f4 L IS USM
Aperture priority at F4
ISO - 1600 ( No Flash was used )
WB - 3200 Kelvin
AI Servo
Single shot
Center weighted Average
Some shots taken upto -2 stops
Shot in JPEG

No post processing , shots reproduced straight from the camera as instructed by our coach. Please keep in ind that this was the first time I was shooting under artificial light.

Comments will be appreciated .

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Catwalk.

Back to school , first day of the Diploma Course in Fashion Photography has been successfully negotiated . Shooting a fashion show on Thursday ..... looking forward to it , never been so excited or apprehensive before . Finally an actual catwalk ! Will post updates and photographs as soon as I can .

How to choose the right perfume.

Scents or the way we smell inadvertently communicate a lot about us, much like the clothes and the language that we use. The right perfume can enhance the image we would like to project

The secret to choosing a perfume is that it should be worn like one wears a piece of clothing, to suite the occasion. For daily use one should chose a perfume that subtly enhances ones natural scent and for special occasions one could use a perfume with a strong unique scent that draws attention to the wearer.



Choosing the right scent takes a lot of work and time. Fragrances are divided into family groups and the first step is to choose a certain smell family that appeals to you. The next step would be try it out on yourself and see if it smells nice on you. Some scents may smell nice on others but not on you. This is due to our different skin types, body temperature, diet, weather etc.

The secret to choosing the right scent is to wear the scent over a period of time. It is not wise to judge a scent by smelling the bottle. Many people abandon a scent after their first use as take a dislike to it after a few hours. The secret to choosing a scent is to spray a small amount on your arm and notice how it works with your body throughout the day. It is best the take the help of a spouse or girlfriend, as women are more sensitive to fragrance, and more often than not they will help you make the right choice.

The Jodhpur Legacy .

The princely state of Jodhpur, situated in the modern day state of Rajasthan in India, also known as Marwar, was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, who belonged to the Rathore clan of Rajputs. It has a chequered history and only ceased to exist when it merged with the newly independent state of India in 1947.

While the contribution of the Jodhpur or Marwar state to the history of the Indian sub-continent is immense, its contribution to the world of men’s apparel is no less spectacular. Today ‘Jodhpur ‘is well known among the connoisseurs of classic men’s style. The term refers to the Jodhpuri coat, the Jodhpur breeches and the Jodhpur boot.

The Jodhpuri Coat , or Bandgala , is an essential item in men’s formal wear in India . It is popularly known as the Nehru jacket in the rest of the world. However the term Nehru Jacket is a misnomer as Nehru never wore one! In India , the term Nehru Jacket is seldom used . However the Jodhpuri coat is an adaptation the long coat Achkan or Sherwani , which Nehru wore , and it is probably due to the similarities in both garments , to the untrained eye , that the mistake occurred .

Rajput man in traditional Jodhpuri Coat from the Raghavendra Rathore Facebook page
Rajput man in traditional Jodhpuri Coat .

The Jodhpuri coat was designed over a hundred years ago by the Royal tailors of Jodhpur, who perfected the ‘Jodhpur cut ‘. It is essentially a short jacket which ends at the hip like a western suit jacket or sports coat. It differs from the sports jacket in that it buttons all the way up the front and ends in a high collar. The classic Jodhpuri coat is supposed to fit the wearer like a glove from the neck down to the waist and to achieve this it is cut high on the arm hole. To achieve a perfect fit while at the same time allowing free movement of the arms is a skill that has been mastered over the years. Due to the unique nature of the garment in terms of fit , the Jodhpuri Coat needs to be made to measure , the ready to wear variants fall short in terms of fit which is the very nature of the coat. It is usually worn with matching or contrasting trousers. However the classic pairing is with a pair of Jodhpur breeches.

Rathore Bandgala image from the Rathore website
Jodhpuri Coat .

In the year 1897 during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria, Sir Pratap Singh, the Maharaja of Idar and the Regent of Jodhpur, paid a visit to England. Sir Pratap Singh was an avid polo player and the Jodhpur Polo Team accompanied him. During their stay in England the Jodhpur Polo Team, besides winning most matches, also caused a sensation with their breeches. The breeches as worn by the Jodhpur Polo Team come to be known as ‘Jodhpurs ‘. There is a story behind the naming , apparently Sir Pratap Singh had a what is now known as a wardrobe malfunction and was forced to visit a Savile Row tailor . When asked what the garment he ordered were called, Sir Pratap misunderstanding the question , replied Jodhpur .

Jodhpur Pants
Jodhpur Breeches / Pant.

These breeches were a variation of the Indian long trouser known as the ‘ Churidar ‘. The churidar is a traditional Indian long trouser which is tight along the calf and loose or baggy at the hips. Sir Pratap Singh used the churidar as the template for the design of his breeches. He was personally involved in their design and subsequent improvements and the first pair were tailored in Jodhpur in 1890. The Jodhpur breeches were long pants and like the churidar, they were tight fitting from the calf to the ankle. The fabric was reinforced along the inner calf and knee to protect them from rubbing while riding. The thighs and hips were flared which allowed for their free movement when riding. This was a revolutionary design in the era before the invention of stretch fabrics. The British adapted the design and their versions were soon being produced by Savile Row tailors in London.

Jodhpuri Coat from the Rathore Collection photo from theRaghavendra Rathore Facebook page RR
Jodhpuri Coat and pants in a modern interpretation.

The Jodhpuri Coat paired with the Jodhpur breeches and worn with tall boots was incorporated in military uniforms of staff officers in Nazi Germany and subsequently in Soviet Bloc countries. During the 1920’s, when women began to ride astride saddle, they chose the Jodhpur. Coco Chanel was reportedly the first high profile woman to wear Jodhpurs. She is said to have been inspired by a friend’s groom!

However the boots worn with the Jodhpur breeches were not the traditional tall boots. The boot of choice was an ankle boot with a rounded toe and low heel. These boots were fastened with a strap and a buckle. Tall boots, besides being more expensive to make, were no longer required due to the design of the Jodhpur breeches. As the fabric of the Jodhpur breeches were reinforced along the inner calf and knee, the purpose of tall boots , which was to protect the same , was made redundant. These ankle boots were first made in Jodhpur and hence their name. The British were quick to realise the advantages and quickly adapted them. Their version is now known as the Chelsea Boot. The Chelsea boot differs from the traditional Jodhpur boot in that it does not have a strap and buckle but has elastic siding. The place of the Chelsea boot in men’s fashion is well known and does not need repeating.

Jodhpur Boot image Wikicommons
Jodhpur Boot.

The Jodhpuri coat has been adopted by many international designers, finding their way into the collections of brands such as Canali and Ermenegildo Zegna . The Beatles wore matching Jodhpuri Coats for their Shea Stadiun concert. It is however extremely popular in India as it denotes luxury due to its need to be custom tailored. It is thus fitting that one of the best practitioners of the art is designer Raghavendra Rathore http://www.rathore.com. As a member of the Royal family of Jodhpur he is all too familiar with the history and traditions of the Jodhpuri coat . The Rathore Bandgala , as he now calls it , is meticulously handmade by local skilled artisans ( yes , he is based in the city of Jodhpur the home of the Jodhpuri Coat ) and takes over twenty three hours of superb tailoring . He uses the best of fabrics sourced from around the globe and maintains the original cut. A graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York , he combines his unique heritage with a dash of the contemporary . He worked at DKNY and Oscarde la Renta before founding the Rathor Jodhpur brand in 1994.His Jodhpuri Coat , the true original , is one of the best products made in India today . Besides the Jodhpuri Coat , Raghavendra Rathore also makes the Jodhpur breeches , but now modified and tailored to go with the Jodhpuri Coat, and renamed the Jodhpur Pant . He recently launched a new collection named the Jodhpur Polo Collection in his home town of Jodhpur in December 2012 . And so the Jodhpur Legacy lives on, safe in the capable hands of Raghavedra Rathore who , it can be empathetically and literally said , is cut from the same cloth.

Raghavendra Rathore in a Jodhpuri Coat image from his Facebook Page
Raghavendra Rathore.

Food Photography.

One day I got a call out of the blue from a friend , he wanted me to take a few food photographs . I arrived at the address at the appointed hour with my camera. I had to photograph four dishes for their tent cards . There was no lighting and I had to make do with natural light streaming in from a window. I used paper instead of a white table cloth . Very amaterusih but what the hell , nothing venture nothing gain . As expected I did not hear from them again . However here are the results and lessons have been learnt .... need to go back to the classroom to learn how to photograph with studio lights and so have signed up for a Diploma in Fashion Photography at the JD Institute .

The results .....

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The Great Gatsby ....... by Baz Luhrmann.

I grew up in the age with very little television (in India) and thus it is not surprising that I was a big movie buff. The movies influenced my choices very much like television does to young viewers today. They were a source of entertainment, and also inspiration. One thing is certain that they were also the central point of reference when it came to matters sartorial. Of all the movies that I watched (and they were many) the one that stood out was the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby. It was a movie judged worthy of being seen by our school authorities and a special screening was organized for us. I was too young to grasp the subtleties of the plot but somehow it stuck. Maybe it had more to do with the name than anything ... which young kid does not want to be rich and called The Great? Plus there was golf, a sport that my father played and to which I was attracted.
Many years later (in college) I started reading F Scott Fitzgerald and rediscovered the Great Gatsby; it remains my favorite Fitzgerald novel. I am not quite sure why. About a decade ago I decided to revisit the film (on VCD). I am extremely reluctant to revisit films that I have watched during my childhood as I always feel let down.... they are never how I remember them to be. The Great Gatsby was no exception, it was not how I remembered it, it was better! I guess I had grown up.

Two things stood out. The first was the performance of Robert Redford, a perennial favorite. I was blown away with his portrayal of quiet sophistication with an underlining of violence. The second was a shock. It seems that my love for dress shirts stemmed from the movie. Gatsby wore my favorite, a shirt that has always been a part of my wardrobe and always will be. I wore that shirt the day I went to meet my future wife! Ralph Lauren has always been one of my favorite designers and it was a pleasant surprise to learn that he had designed the clothes for the film. I guess the film had influenced my choices far beyond what I had realized.

I was therefore extremely excited when I heard that there was going to be a remake. It was the most anticipated movie release of my life. I made a promise to myself that I was going to go in with an open mind and enjoy the film as it unfolded. A little preliminary research was done, the choice of the director made me realize that it was at least going to be visually spectacular. Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby was a choice I approved of. Music by Jay – Z? I was a bit apprehensive of that. Brooks Brothers seemed a good choice. The trailers were watched on Youtube and they were spectacular. It seemed that this was going to work.

I made my way to the theater a few days ago with my daughter Tara, who was as excited as I was. My enthusiasm had infected her and she liked the trailer and approved of the music! Unfortunately the movie was A rated and we were about to turn back when she insisted that I watch it alone. She would wait for its DVD release. And so I found myself alone at the movie surrounded by 20 year olds. I was bit surprised, I had expected an older audience. I guess all the publicity had attracted the younger crowd. The theater was however half empty. It was then that I decided that I would also try and gauge their reaction to the film. Today’s youngsters wear their feelings on their sleeves and it would be interesting to see their reactions as the film progressed.

The film was a roller coaster ride. Brilliant in parts. The acting was superb. Much faster paced that the 1974 version. However some scenes were found lacking, sometimes they had a fairy tale feel to them. The long shots of Gatsby’s home for example. The architecture of his home was more like a castle in a fairy tale. There were a few changes which did not take away from the plot and I guess they worked. This is discounting the fact that Nick was narrating the story from a sanatorium! But that too somehow worked. I am assuming that you are familiar with the both the 1974 film and the book. The end was powerfully portrayed and I left feeling good.

As expected the film lacked a fair bit in authenticity. However what it lacked in authenticity it more than made up in its pace and flow. A few things that disappointed me – the introduction of Gatsby were rather tame impact wise. The line that is central to the story – “Rich girls don’t marry poor boys “was not delivered by Daisy and thus lost all its relevance. Some amount of violence is shown which was not required. There is an underlining of violence in the story and it should have remained implied in the film. The clothes were ok, I agree with the review in the Gentleman’s Gazette - ‘I liked the general approach to the Gatsby collection, and the fact that BB put some effort into making the style accessible to a larger audience. ‘The cut and fit were contemporary.

The biggest surprise was the music. This was something I was most skeptical about. It was delightful. The BWW review sums it up beautifully – ‘Overall, the GATSBY soundtrack is a nifty mix of contemporary music styles and 20's era jazz that results in a unique, vibrant, and infectious film soundtrack. While some of the tracks are not worthy to be on this album, this is still a commendable soundtrack of a decent film. I find that the sheer ingenuity of the soundtrack for THE GREAT GATSBY works well with the film and it's a stunning collaboration of music, which I found it satisfying, and most of all, fun.’

The reactions of the audience? No great excitement, it seemed as any other movie to them. Did not seem to have much of an impact either way. I don’t think it will play for long in Bangalore so go see it before it disappears from the screens. I only wish it were not in 3 D which I find very disturbing.

To sum up – I enjoyed it. And am looking forward to watching it with Tara on DVD.