Ivory Coast: Whites with Padma Lakshmi

Shades of creamy white look luxe all year round, whether you’re in the city, the suburbs, the country . . . Or you (dream big) have a little sand under your feet. Padma Lakshmi, host of Bravo’s Top Chef, shows us the way.

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Swept Ashore

Padma Lakshmi is yawning, but please don’t take offense. “I haven’t been home in seven weeks,” she explains. “The joy of finally sleeping in my own bed has put me in a coma!”


Jean Paul Gaultier jersey shirt; Jackson Hole Traders, 307-733-1849. Sportmax silk skirt; 212-674-1817. Cartier 18k white gold, 18k yellow gold and 18k rose gold bracelet; cartier.com

Karen Collins

Sea and Be Seen

Just back in New York City after shooting season 10 of Bravo’s Top Chef in Seattle, Lakshmi, 42, is looking forward to slowing her life down to something resembling a steady hum—or at least a steady roar. In addition to hosting and producing TV’s hottest culinary competition, she’s writing a third cookbook, working on her line of jewelry and updating her Easy Exotic collection of kitchen products and specialty foods. She’s also a hands-on cofounder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America (she went undiagnosed for years with the painful condition). And, oh yes: She’s a single mother to two-year-old Krishna, her daughter with venture capitalist Adam Dell.


Hermes cotton veil blouse; hermes.com for stores. Patricia Underwood felt hat; Sophy Curson, 215-567-4662. Beauty note: For nude lips like Padma’s, try Dior Rouge Nude Lipcolor in Grége 169.

Karen Collins

Sea and Be Seen

“It does get overwhelming sometimes,” Lakshmi admits. So what’s her de-stress mechanism? “At night, after I put Krishna to bed and my house is still and quiet, there’s a pile of newspapers and magazines next to my bed. Just lying there browsing and reading is very relaxing for me. Of course,” she adds, “the other thing that’s a good stress reliever is going to the gym, but I haven’t made it there in, like, two months. I’m like a foie gras goose fatted up!”


J. Mendel silk chiffon top; jmendel.com for stores. Donna Karan New York viscose trousers; neimanmarcus.com.

Karen Collins

Beauty and the Beach

Recently the notion that women can “have it all” has been back in the news, with many suggesting that it might not be realistic after all. Lakshmi’s view is both personal and honest. “Well,” she says after a long pause, “I don’t have it all, so I don’t know if it’s possible. But I guess I’m satisfied to have most of it. I have a lot of resources my mother didn’t have. I have help—a sitter who can be with my daughter when I’m working—and I have a seasonal main job, so I’m a stay-at-home mom a lot. I have struggled with it. It’s not easy, but I have a great career, and I have my daughter. So what I don’t have is not as important to me as what I do have.”


Roberto Cavalli lace, silk and bead gown; robertocavalli.com for stores.

Karen Collins

Wave Runner

Calvin Klein Collection cotton dress; 212-292-9000.

Karen Collins

Wave Runner

Zero + Maria Cornejo matte jersey dress; 22 Knots at Four Seasons Resort Maui, 808-874-8000.


Score runway-ready jewels for just a fraction of the real-thing price!


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Karen Collins
Originally published in the November 2012 issue

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