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Antic-ated!
Text by Sohiny Das and Photographs by Gulshan Sachdeva (WIFW) & Arjun Chippalkatty (DFW & LFW)
Published: Volume 17, Issue 5, May, 2009
Ah, fashion weeks! Or aargh, fashion weeks? Surviving Wills India Fashion Week (WIFW), Delhi Fashion Week (DFW), Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) and Kolkata Fashion Week (KFW) can be a serious test of energies! Designers, organisers, celebrities, media – all alert. Sohiny Das lists the 10 heinous trespasses that need to be purged, once and for all

1. Divorce fashion from theatre
Fashion, when presented as a skit, can be painful, painful, painful!(Nitin Bal Chauhan at WIFW, Narendra Kumar at LFW) The heart wrenching drama, the childish mimes, the headache inducing acting by models wanting to be the next Bollywood discovery, the super extended shows thatr drag on and on... Anyone!

2. Stop the ‘show-stoppers’!
Madhur Bhandarkar’s movie is NOT to be treated as a guidebook! At LFW and even more so at KFW, the media was only concerned about “Tell me who is your show-stopper! We want top secret information for an exclusive spread!” Giant photos of celebrities in the papers deny the poor designers substantial and sensible coverage. Mar jaawa!

3. Gun the ‘gowns’!
Yes, I have a ‘show-stopper’. So I have to, have to put her in a devastatingly ugly, giant fancy dress costume gown with ruffles, flowers, crystals, feathers and more! (“Archana weds Kochhar,” sneered a witty designer). This she will then drag, and smile (or grit teeth, according to level of discomfort) and pose, and turn 456 times, before I join her on the runway and pose another 456 times. Spank me!

4. Venue. Vidi. Vici
A fashion week on a hill (KFW)! The other in a hotel, with designer stalls in rooms across four floors (WIFW)! Anyone thinks of women in heels? Or even men – would they take the stairs to the 7th floor? When the only solution is to wait forever for the lifts, or hike our way to the shows in scorching heat (and heels, again), we think of what the organisers have been eating for breakfast!

5. No talking, please
Audience and media, show some respect! If you are attending a show, watch it. Especially the fashion media. Constant loud whispers, and cross-row conversations like, “So I bought a swanky new jacket,” or “Suneet, what is that fabric? Brocade?” irk those around you. And you call yourself ‘the elite’ of the fashion world? Nah daahling, nah!

6. Adios, visuals!
“Time goes by, so slowly,” sang Madonna. During pre-show audiovisuals that go on for 10 minutes (I am not exaggerating much, trust me), we feel the same way. Slide after slide and long drawn videos showing us the pitiable plight of craftsmen (Samant Chauhan at WIFW) or social vices or political dirt or a company endorsement music video (Skoda had a song about their car – we kid you not!), we feel like screeching in the Bollywood way, “Naheeen!” Short and precise make the most impact, please remember that.

7. Worth the wait?
Running late by 15 minutes is alright. Half an hour – sigh, well okay. But delays of over two-and-a-half hours? Because you are creating giant sets (J J Valaya’s finale at WIFW) or you want to kickstart an event and still have organisational hitches (DFW, CellDSGN’s show). We enter the show area in a bad mood or in high spirits (by which I mean dead drunk) because there is an open bar serving cheap liquor. Blasphemous!

8. Capacity calamity!
Seating capacity – 300. Invites issued – 600! You do the math. “Ex-squeeze me, please!” Stampede, pandemonium, whatnot! All Unclejis, Auntyjis, Tinku, Pinky, Babloo welcome – with all their khandaan. Oh, and KFW had a single entrance for audience, media and photographers! Us lady journalists will invest in some armour suits because, unlike popular perception, we DO NOT enjoy getting our bottoms pinched and chests brushed against during these madly disorganised hellish times.

9. Backstage banality
Poorly constructed greenrooms ensure that peeping Toms have a field day watching girls change clothes! And oh, tell me this, genius – how does one iron clothes without adequate light (LFW)? The dim, bar-like backstage lighting results in creases and loose threads being overlooked before garments go on the ramp. Better still, a steam iron dies, and no replacement is available (KFW). Clueless organisers look at each other, flabbergasted!

10. Recession refuge
The economic doldrums seem to be everyone’s excuse to salvation. Stale designs running through three or four seasons (Gaba, Rabani and Rakha and numerous more) – oh, it’s recession! Boring clothes that we’d rather see on store rails than on a runway (Deepti Toor and others) – what to do, it’s recession na. Also, fashion week selection process cutting too much slack means that some seriously untalented non-creators cum design-lifters get a platform to unleash horror. All you need is a rich dad, and during times like these, pay your way to the runway.

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