People in India are often fascinated by attractive women from across the border, whether in entertainment or in politics. In 1972, Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Bhutto brought his gangling daughter Benazir (who went to graduate from Harvard and to become a leader herself before being assassinated) to the Simla Summit. On the agenda was a peace agreement between the countries, in the wake of the liberation and creation of Bangladesh, a brutal war and the capture of 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war. But the media and the Indian public went gaga over Benazir, whose presence seemed to limit coverage of far-reaching issues.
Hina Rabbani Khar was born five years after Benazir’s visit to Simla (now called Shimla). Last month Mrs Khar, mother of two and a hottie in the eyes of most South Asians, became Pakistan’s youngest ever Foreign Minister, also the first ever female to hold this office. One of her first official actions was to visit New Delhi. And the media went wild. “All eyes on glamorous Pak minister,” said the Rediff website. “She is clearly being looked at as a perfect combination of beauty and brains.” Journalist and author Seema Goswami saw a link between the monsoonal downpour that struck the Indian capital Wednesday morning and the generally fawning coverage of Khar. “Even the Delhi skies are drooling,” she wrote.
Khar’s was a remarkable contrast with her Indian counterpart, S M Krishna, who at 79 is probably the oldest foreign minister in the world. Both were educated in the United States, Krishna in the 1960s and Khar at University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2001. She is the co-owner of the Polo Lounge, an upscale restaurant located on the Polo Grounds in Lahore.
According to the Wall Street Journal, her ensemble and accessories became the talk of fashion and media circles on both sides of the border. The Hermes Birkin black bag that Khar was seen carrying as she touched down in New Delhi, remained one of the top trending items on Twitter last week.
Hermes’ new store in Mumbai’s Horniman Circle area follows its others in Pune and Delhi, but the Mumbai outlet is the first to be opened directly on Indian streets. The Pune and Delhi stores are tucked away in luxury hotels Ista and The Oberoi, respectively. Hermès has taken up residence in Mumbai in a grand two-storey building. The store has been designed by Parisian architecture agency Rena Dumas Architecture Interieure.