Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbekistan’s strongman President Islam Karimov, has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons lately. But in the pages of one magazine – her own glossy published in Uzbekistan – she’s a superstar.
A recent copy of Bella Terra, a Karimova project that publishes articles and interviews on style and fashion (and which also has a website), is packed to the gills with material promoting the president’s daughter and her fashion label, Guli.
The December 2012/January 2013 issue of the Russian-language magazine is devoted to the Style.uz event, which Karimova (dubbed “the princess of Uzbekistan” in a promotional interview that recently came to light) organizes in Tashkent every year. Style.uz is a jamboree of fashion shows and cultural events that attracts the Tashkent glitterati and a handful of foreign B-list celebrities.
From the magazine we learn some fascinating facts about Style.uz: This year foreign visitors lauded Uzbekistan’s famed hospitality a full 1,467 times; 76 bottles of hairspray were used in the hairdressing competition; and 10 parachutes could have been made from the 1,050 meters of silk and adras (a silk and cotton mix) used in one fashion event.
But for the most part the magazine gets down to the serious business of promoting Karimova (who is also known as Googoosha, her stage name when she is in her pop star persona).
The “most anticipated [fashion] show of the week,” Bella Terra’s front cover trumpets, was – of course – Guli. A double-page spread showcases Guli designs, while a separate article tells us how Guli is conquering new markets with its “natural fabrics, designer accessories, jewelry and ethno-details.”
Karimova pops up again with a gushing interview about Style.uz, and the magazine is full of photos of her glamorously posing alongside minor celebs like British model Sophie Ellis-Baxter or presenting an oversized bouquet to Greek crooner Demis Roussos.
The magazine is not simply a shameless promotion of Karimova’s business interests – other designers are also featured. Yet it is Karimova who steals the show. One double-page ad promoting her scent, called Mysterieuse, features Karimova looking suitably mysterious in floating gold chiffon.
Bella Terra is coy about naming the prices of any of these products – but in fact a bottle of Mysterieuse perfume will set you back a cool million sum, which is around $500 at the official exchange rate, or around 12 times the minimum monthly wage.