“That’s my favorite thing, to be inappropriate. That’s my MO for 2010. I’m starting now,” Waris Ahluwalia told us last night at the party for his new book To India With Love. And, yes, he’d just told two lovely young admirers—officers of an organization that promotes South Asian women in business—that he loves South Asian women. But that revelation aside, there were few improprieties. Fans and friends were gathered to celebrate the Assouline-published book (the proceeds of which go to the victims of the brutal November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks) at a tony ballroom at the Pierre, after all.
The book grew out of an idea Ahluwalia and co-editors Tina Bhojwani and Mortimer Singer had to support Mumbai’s victims of terrorism as they felt they’d been supported, as New Yorkers, following 9/11. A few well-placed phone calls to friends filled out the contributors list, which includes Wes Anderson, Natalie Portman, and Rachel Roy. It was, to hear him tell it, a no-brainer. “From my end, it wasn’t so much a request as a demand,” Ahluwalia says of his outreach. “I’ve been to India with a lot of these people. I said, ‘I know you were there. I’ve got photos of you—want me to use those? No, you don’t want me to use those.’ ” The strategy worked. Submissions—photos, drawings, reminiscences—came pouring in, including his favorite, a shot of Cynthia Rowley and Bill Powers in front of the Taj Mahal just minutes after Powers had proposed.
It also happened to be the guy’s birthday. Any big plans? “Just this,” Ahluwalia promised, “and an intimate dinner.” Sounds like the scene of some improprieties, but no: “My mom will be there. She’s the inspiration behind everything I do. She’s a fabulous, strong, incredible woman—she’s who I make my jewelry for.” Honoring thy mother? Looks like the 2010 MO can wait just one more night.