The Powder Room by Shefalee Vasudev

22 Feb

Very few books can be captivating from the first page of its introduction. Most people even miss the point of having an introduction that sets the tone of the book but Shefalee Vasudev got it just right. As I let myself read, rather slowly, taking in line by line I was awestruck by the way the book was written. No surprises there, Shefalee Vasudev who is an established journalist, who went on to become the founding editor of Marie Claire in India and is currently an editor at The Indian Express, such blemish free writing is but expected.

What I absolutely loved about the book was the steely, almost detached and controlled way in which the writer penned the writing, almost unfurling each plot with a firm reign on the narrative. Not for one moment you feel that the story goes off track.Written in a conversational tone, you can almost see the world of fashion through Shefalee’s hawk like eyes, not losing a single detail. You are struck how simplest of happenings, the way the characters shape up and the events occurs but in a restrained sort of way. Maybe because Shefalee has spent so many years writing about the industry she knows the intricate details of, that she is able to pull of an objective narrative in an unbiased way. Totally commendable writing!

The Powder Room revolves around many characters you can easily identify with, one of them being Jennifer who is a sales girl at a fancy brand outlet that hosts the likes of  Louis Vuitton, Dior and Gucci. In her you see a regular girl who aspires to make it big in the luxury sector someday. The fashion industry is populated by a several Jennifers who dream big. Thus book  highlights the smaller yet significant characters who make up the fashion industry, the darzis, the assistants, the make up artists, the models and the stylists and their likes. Shefalee’s account of the industry is one that is based on through research par excellence where she has given special attention to detail which makes this book such a treat to read.

What probably makes this book such an enjoyable read is the visual effect of it. You can actually imagine the brides-to-be’s throwing a tantrum demanding their very own Sabyasachi creations, the young models and the wannabe’s falling prey to the vicious cycle of the ruthless fashion world. The aspiring designers hoping to make a mark through that one break that would transform their lives forever. Most of the characters are cliches we have all come across time to time, but what makes them such interesting subjects is the way they participate to take the narrative forward.

This book is the perfect bedside book you can ever have. Engaging, interesting and informative. Pick this up for your book collection is incomplete without this.

My rating 4/5

This review is for Random House India; however the opinions expressed here are my own. 

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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in books


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