Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was once declared the most beautiful woman in the world but those titles proved harder and harder to come by after her marriage to fellow actor Abhishek Bachchan. Worse still, after the couple became parents to their first child together - daughter Aaradhya - the natural post-pregnancy weight gain Aishwarya experienced led to huge controversies about her looks and appeal.
The actress responded in style, by walking the red carpet at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival draped in traditional Indian clothes by Indian designers Abu Jani - Sandeep Khosla. The fashionable Aishwarya took care to hammer the point home at an appearance during the opening of the Bulgari hotel in London.
According to the Daily Mail, Aishwarya wore an elaborate black and gold dupatta (Indian scarf) covering a dress with a black top half and a flowing embroidered white skirt. The outfit was created by famous Indian designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee. The actress restricted her make-up to copper eye shadow and heavy eye liners. Accessories too were kept to a minimum. The actress has often been seen in anarkalis (flowing ethnic gowns) after her pregnancy - speculation she was trying to hide the extra pounds. The Cannes red carpet was along the same lines.
Mukherjee, at an earlier event in Dubai, spoke on designing clothes for the star. The designer said he would opt for a simple outfit and allow her inner beauty to be the focus.
"Aishwarya has the most beautiful face. If I were to dress her up again, I would make sure that her clothes are simple," he explained.
Meanwhile, the actress, who continues, in some sense or the other, to be in the midst of a storm about her weight gain, seems quite happy to attend to her daughter and let the world quibble about everything else.
"Motherhood is wonderful. You ask the question and I beam! It's splendid... It's inexplicable. The joy, the bliss, is wonderful. A smile from my daughter and that's it! She's good. She's great," she said.
The other celebrities in attendance at the event in London were supermodel Petra Nemcova, actresses Li Xian Ran, Rosamund Pike and Isabella Rossellini, singer Florence Welch and Francesco Trapani - the President of LVMH W&J Division.
"Though it was a brief exchange, Ash found Isabella (the actress briefly met Rossellini) to be very warm. They chatted on B-Town films where Isabella expressed a desire to visit India soon. Ash invited her to be her guest. Ash told her that it was a dream come true to meet her. Both had to leave soon as they had another event to attend, but they plan to keep in touch on mail," a source close to Aishwarya told The Times of India.