Saturday, January 9, 2010

Carmen Lomana and the Majarana of Jaipur

Carmen Lomana

The underfed Spanish socialite Carmen Lomana, known for collecting haute couture, is becoming ubiquitous in Spanish magazines and TV. Although I have no idea what is driving her to appear in the media, certainly it's not financial need, her comments and way of being provide entertainment and depending on your outlook provoke outrage. I first noticed her in one of the classic HOLA! magazine spreads featuring a wealthy Euro-trash or Hollywood celebrity's tacky and ornate home. The mystery regarding her wealth, origins, and situation leading to her sudden celebrity only feed the myth surrounding her. Did she become fabulously wealthy thanks to her late husband's 1,000 patents? Is her allegedly limitless income drawn from her presumed aristocratic background? And just how old is she? She has skillfully mastered the art of modern Spanish celebrityhood- appear in a glossy, give a lot of interviews on TV gossip chat shows, at parties promoting products, anywhere they shove a mic in your face, offer provocative quotes, and, finally, pick a fight with a celeb that is more famous than yourself. Such is her popularity - ironic for most as she is a bit of a camp icon, that some claim that they "practico el lomanismo" (practice Lomanism), an obvious pun on another word.

Following the HOLA! spread, where she introduced the fact that she "collects" haute couture and does not have walk-in closets but rather rooms in her mansion devoted to a single designer, she later discussed her rivalry with frenemy Nati Abascal. The latter, an underfed and miraculously ageless fashion icon and international Eurotrash fixture, was the equivalent of a supermodel back in the day, posing for Avedon, modeling for couture greats, later becoming Valentino's muse (she makes hilarious cameos in the recent documentary). She also had a small part in Woody Allen's "Bananas," playing a nubile guerilla fighter with whom Allen's character hooks up in the jungle. Married to a Duque whose family was a pillar of Sevillian society, her marriage ended in scandal when her ex-husband was the subject of grave accusations. You cannot make this up. Now acting as a fashion stylist and jet set Eurotrash handler for HOLA!, Abascal is THE fashionista in Spain for a certain generation. Her two sons, who are gorgeous beyond belief, also model and run fashion companies.

The fabulous fashion icon Nati Abascal with Valentino

Lomana implied that Abascal is old and jealous of her, ensuring that the press would pursue her for further clarification. As part of her latest publicity blitz, she appeared in one of my favorite Spanish TV shows , Donde estas, corazon? (DEC) which I have written about before -- ( recounting her recent trip to Jaipur. Allegedly invited by the "Majarana of Jaipur," Lomana let viewers into her glamorous daily life, as she shopped, sight-saw, and enjoyed the dignitary's lavish hospitality. Her Spanish pija (upper class) lockjaw drawl and laissez faire attitude adds impact to her comments.

As usual, she made statements that will provoke ironic delight or plain outrage.

Some of Lomana's offensive/patronizing/ignorant/racist statements:

"Los indios hay que frotarlos y plancharlos." (Indians should be scrubbed and ironed.)

"Tienen que montar una campaña para que tengan mas higiene, que no hagan sus necesidades en la via publica, y hay demasiados mosquitos" (They need to establish a hygiene campaign so that they won't go to the bathroom in the street, and there are way too many mosquitoes)

"La gente es tan hospitalaria...sientes la espiritualidad del pais." (The people are so hospitable here...the country is suffused with spirituality)

"Esto es un lujo asiatico, como las Mil y una noches." (This is Asian luxury, like "The Thousand and One Nights")

literally taking a female guest's hand without asking (she constantly touched people she saw, on the street, in parties, etc. as if they were the bracelets, spices, or scarves she examined at shops or open air markets) at the Majarana's party, pointing out her jewelry "Miren que super fashion" (Look how super fashion)

"Soy muy humilde" (I am very humble)

Most entertaining (and less offensive) are her comments while going "shopping" - she uses the word in English:

she calls bisuteria - or costume jewelry - bisuta as she is seen loading up every available area of her body with gorgeous items she buys during her travels

while in a textile shop, we see her handling fabric and exclaiming "Esto es mejor que Dior!" (This is better than Dior!) [sidebar: originally, not being used to the posh cadences of her pija lockjaw Spanish, I heard DIOS (god) instead of Dior, until a friend corrected me, sadly this would have been even more amusing than what she actually said....]

'No tengo armarios, tengo cuartos" (I don't have closets, I have rooms)

during the on set interview, while looking at photos of her with her late husband and discussing how down to earth they were, despite their wealth and her aristocratic background: "Guillermo y yo nos prometimos siempre recordar como eramos cuando eramos novios - con nuestro punto bohemio.......ah, si esta foto es de cuando eramos novios, en Biarritz...." (Guillermo and I promised each other that we'd never forget our bohemianism from when we were dating....yes, here we are then, in Biarritz) - If Biarritz is what she considers slumming, I have no words

In the midst of Spain's worst economic depression in decades, Lomana's flagrant flaunting of her wealth, her contradictory statements claiming down-to-earthiness, and her mix of apparent intelligence mixed with complete offensive ignorance, offer sure entertainment for the millions of fans that escape their miserable fate by watching gossip shows and reading magazines about local and foreign Eurotrash, aristocrats, and other celebs.

Here are clips from her travels to Jaipur: