Earlier this year, famous shoe designer Christian Louboutin, filed a million dollar lawsuit against French design house, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), for allegedly copying his signature detail — the distinctive red of Louboutin soles. YSL counter-sued Louboutin on the grounds that no designer should be able to patent a colour and monopolise it, even though Louboutin's lawyer declared they solely own the patent of a shade of red, a distinctive, bright lacquered red that has been used since 1992 when Louboutin crafted the signature colour as his own.
Closer home, Kareena Kapoor seems to own a fiery red of her own — the red haute sari she wears in the Chammak Challo song sung by Akon in the upcoming Diwali release Ra.One. But naturally, since Kareena is Bollywood's reigning heroine — and since Bollywood dictates fashion and makeup trends in India — fashion forwards want to own this particular red this season, no other will do — only the Kareena Kapoor wala red! She definitely does not need a Twitter account to be "followed" – her onscreen presence is enough to cause a fashion following of her very own, and bet you anything, she knows that too.
Mumbai's most affable and jet-setting glamazon, Roopa Fabiani, has turned to red after watching the Chammak Challo song. "It is that time of the year again when warmer colours dominate your moods. Kareena looks so good in that red haute colour that it makes everyone want to wear red, including me! For the festive season, I have asked my favourite designers, Neeta Lulla, Suneet Varma and Rohit Bal to make me some outfits in the Kareena Kapoor wala red," laughs Roopa.
Samidha Wanganoo, a fashion stylist for Bollywood films who is currently working on Agent Vinod, that stars Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, patiently hears out people requesting her for the Kareena red every day. "The way Kareena carries off the red sari, it makes people want to wear it more. Red is a fiery colour and a very bold one too, so it is not an easy colour for anyone and everyone to pull off. Every day, since the Chammak Challo song came out, I am asked by women to make them look like Kareena in the song! They ask me to either get them an outfit just like Kareena's in the exact shade or get them anything in that shade of red. It is insane how Kareena has caused a sort of fashion hysteria with her little red sari in the song. Everyone wants to wear red! It makes the haute black look so redundant now,” says Samidha.
But Sangita Kathiwada, creative director of Morarka Foundation and her store in Mumbai, Mélange, that houses some of the best designer labels in India, is not quite convinced Kareena has anything to do with the colour, though she does think saris will sell after the Chammak Challo song. She says:
Red is a fiery colour – it brings out the good and as much bad. This is the season for bright colours and earthy tones, red being the most popular. Red has got nothing to do with today – it is the colour of blood. My association with the colour is that of flowers, spirituality, puja and the eternal life force. The colour has had great significance in old civilization and temporary and contemporary heroines donning the colour have nothing to do with its popularity. What is Kareena Kapoor wala red? I mean Kareena is gorgeous and looks lovely in the Chammak Challo song and many more saris will sell because she just looks stunning wearing it. But I still wouldn't go as far as calling it the Kareena Kapoor wala red.
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It is not just the fashion forwards in India who are favouring the red, but those on the island of Mauritius are too. Kiran Gidwani-Tolaram, a fashion consultant and designer in Mauritius is being flooded with demands for the Kareena Kapoor wala red. "The red that Kareena is wearing in the song is a very vibrant and hot shade. It is natural when someone as stunning as her wears a bold colour like that, it is bound to be in vogue and dictate trends. Bollywood is big here on the island. The Mauritian Prime Minister's wife, Veena Ramgoolam's favourite colour is that Kareena wala red. In my stores here, the biggest demand currently is the Kareena wala red and I am going nuts just getting my orders for the same. Everyone walks in wanting an outfit in that shade or the same outfit which is just not possible!" says Kiran.
Swati Shah, Director of Estaa, a luxury jewellery store in Mumbai, where Hollywood stars like Hugh Jackman like to drop cash for the big rocks, loves wearing red during Diwali and the festive season. "I have always worn deeper shades during the festive season, red saris being my favourite. But I think this season I am going to wear more red saris than ever before since Kareena has made the look so popular! Just yesterday, some of my friends were discussing how absolutely stunning Kareena is and what a natural beauty she is. She looks good in anything, but she looks spectacular in the red sari in the song. Personally, I think a red sari looks best when worn with a pearl and diamond set with just a hint of rubies."
And no, red rubies haven't managed to upstage the popularity and demand for emeralds, which reign supreme in the bling business despite all the Kareena wala red hoopla.
Louboutin may just lose the "sole" battle for its coveted red underlining of its shoes to YSL, but Kareena seems to have inadvertently patented the red she swings her hips in to Chammak Challo. Don't be surprised if this shade of red officially gets dubbed the Kareena Kapoor wala red in the near future!
PS: Manish Malhotra designed the sari and the look.