“All I wanted to do was shine the light on the brown renaissance and how Indians have arrived on the world stage in every sphere practically and I achieved that somewhere!”- Sudha Reddy
Many a celebrity walked on the clinquant red carpet on September 13, 2021 at the Met Gala, but the one who sang her own song at this star-spangled event was Sudha Reddy. The only Indian invited this year, philanthropist and Director, Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd. (MEIL) and wife to Hyderabad based billionaire businessman Megha Krishna Reddy, Sudha sent the media at Fifth Avenue on a frenzy with questions on her ensemble.
The Met Gala, formerly known as the Costume Institute Gala or the Costume Institute Benefit is famous for the over the top, sometimes even fantastical costumes and dresses it conjures. This year’s theme, in the spirit of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Elections- ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’ inspired Sudha’s glittering ensemble by indigenous designers Falguni Shane Peacock.
“It is always a special moment to represent your country. I feel grateful that I was able to represent my homeland and its culture on a global platform. I opted to wear indigenous designers like Falguni Shane Peacock and Farah Khan Jewels at the Met Gala, as I wanted to take India to the world,” she avers.
The theme meant a “a celebration of the concept of independence. I’m all for empowerment and independence at a personal and a professional level, and I feel independence is the greatest gift one can give themselves,” she told The Hindu after the event.
Inspired by the American Revolution and taking a grueling 250 hours of handwork, her dress, complete with a theatrical four-meter train and accented with 3D embellishments of Swarovski crystals, sequins and bugle beads sported the colors of the American flag.
Every ensemble at the Met Gala attempts to tell a story. For Sudha, it was ‘the evolution of American fashion into a commercial and practical industry’ and portraying the qualities of fantasy and emotion in fashion. Her outfit to her was the reflection of her eclectic fashion sense and aspirations.
Choosing to keep her make up subtle, Sudha professed to letting her radiant sultry skin shine. “I wanted to imbibe a lot of Indianness in my look and since Indians love over-the-top as a concept, I requested Falguni Shane Peacock to be as forward-thinking as possible”, she says.
Beautifully complimenting her glamorous and edgy military inspired ensemble was her diamond studded ear cuff, inspired by the stars in the American flag. Designed by Farah Ali Khan, the 18-carat gold piece with 35 carats of bezel-set VVS diamonds made such a statement.
Talking of the event, she told Outlook India, “It was an experience that is incomparable and truly one of its kind! It is an honor to be invited for such a prestigious global event where eclectic minds congregate for a cause larger than themselves, that of philanthropy. It was an extremely rewarding outing for me as I was able to exchange notes with many notable personalities, some who are extremely keen to explore socio-economic welfare campaigns in association with the Sudha Reddy Foundation in the future.”
The South Asian presence at the Gala event is usually not much to talk home about. This year too she was the only non-film celebrity from India. Luminaries like Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Isha Ambani and Natasha Poonawala, who have walked the Met Gala red carpet in earlier years were visibly absent this year.
Talking to Fortune India about her appearance at the Gala, she says, “It was a surreal experience and I’ve made so many amazing memories! I had interesting interactions with Donatella Versace, Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Lil Nas X, Anna Wintour amongst others. All I wanted to do was shine the light on the brown renaissance and how Indians have arrived on the world stage in every sphere practically and I achieved that somewhere!
But, behind the veneer of this glamor and decadence, Sudha Reddy is a powerful person in her own reckoning.
The only Indian to be nominated for The Global Gift Empowerment of Women Award, she has handed over grants to two charities- ‘Action Against Hunger and Fight Hinger Foundation’ and ‘Breast Cancer Research Foundation’ in Paris with Elizabeth Hurley in attendance in the past.
Inspired by the philosophy of Princess Diana, Sudha has completely immersed herself in socio- economic welfare campaigns and programs. Moving from ‘cheque philanthropy’ to ‘hands-on philanthropy’, the Sudha Reddy Foundation has empowered hundreds of thousands in Telangana, both socially and economically.
With a degree in design and microbiology, Sudha is a self-confessed connoisseur of art and design. Her home in Hyderabad, designed in the European fashion, styled by Sudha herself is a metaphor for luxury.