Lakshmi Menon. I felt she was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life when I first met her on a warm summer night three years ago in Goa.
Tie-dye dress with trinket detail from Savio Jon
Her bare ambery skin and long black hair, parted in the middle, were shining under the moonlight. There was something hypnotizing about the white loose men's shirt she was wearing, the graceful way she was bringing her rolled up cigarette to her lips, those succulent lips with the left corner curving slightly up as if embracing its own private secret and mystery.
Silk voile shirt with roll-up sleeves from Savio Jon. Wide leg trousers from Comme des Garcons.
Lakshmi was mysterious, reserved, introverted and yet extremely genuine and down to earth. At the time, she had just signed a Hermès ad campaign contract. Givenchy, H&M, Max Mara ads, and the big fashion magazines quickly followed. She became a star. And not only in the fashion universe of shooting comets, but also on a larger sociocultural scale, becoming a role model for a population of young Indian (and not only) girls thanks to her emancipation, dark skin assertion, and simplicity. For Lakshmi managed to stay simple and authentic during all this time of huge success.
One shoulder dress from Savio Jon. Leather sandals from Fiorentini Baker
A few weeks ago, we returned to Goa where we first met to work on this special project for The Fashion Spot. Lakshmi faithfully chose what she felt represented her true self: no use of hair and makeup styling, dressed up by an old friend, designer Savio Jon, styling by another dear friend, Sacha Mandes.
In her negational definition of beauty, Lakshmi pleads for scarcity, modesty, truthfulness – I still believe she is one of the most beautiful girls I have seen and captured behind my lens.
Shift dress from Savio Jon
Bojana Tatarska: Are you aware of how beautiful you are?
Lakshmi Menon: Is anybody aware how beautiful they are??? How un-beautiful is that! Also, my man tells me that the moment you become conscious of something like that, the beauty is lost.
BT: What's your deffinition of beauty?
LM: Real beauty to me is too elusive to be pinned down by a definition. But what I don't find beautiful is the current homogenized, plasticized, mannequin-like notion of commodified beauty that seems to be the norm today.
Inverted dress from Savio Jon
BT: Is modeling difficult for you?
LM: No, it's not difficult. In fact, it's a great opportunity for travel, seeing new places, meeting new people, although it can get a little tiresome flying back and forth to the same cities, and of course, the jet lag that accompanies it.
BT: Who has been the greatest influence in your career? The biggest kick up?
LM: Prabuddha (Lakshmi's boyfiend, photographer Prabuddha Dasgupta) has been the greatest influence in my career. He has been my grounding force in this otherwise fickle universe… constantly giving me sanity and not allowing the business to get to my head. The other two people are my agents Caroline and Paulo for more or less the same reasons.
BT: Why did you cut your hair?
LM: For a change. And it needed some relief from the torture I have put it through in the last few seasons.
BT: People might not know it, but you are a great singer (you have studied classical singing), you also had a couple of proposals for Bollywood movies, what are the chances that you stay in show biz then?
LM: I did train in Indian classical music for ten years. Now it's just a hobby. Bollywood is nowhere in the picture for me! Never been interested in it.
BT: What is your philosophy?
LM. Life is too short and winter's too long!
photography: Bojana Tatarska
stylist: Sacha Mendes
model: Lakshmi Menon
Special thanks to SUNBEAM Goa