Fashion’s New Extras

Just before the finale of the WIFW,army of workers began to dismantle the installations and the back stage areas.

Written by Shefalee Vasudev | New Delhi | Published: April 20, 2012 4:40 pm

Last night,just before the finale of the WIFW,as a Shivji ki baraat (everyone from everywhere) began to assimilate outside the main show area at Pragati Maidan,an army of workers — carpenters,painters,labourers and others began to dismantle the installations and the back stage areas. They are the new extras of the fashion industry. Theirs is a story to tell. We should go backstage and find out what they think about this jamboree.

On one hand,there were the booze and snack lounges hosted by the main sponsors (which lounge you are seen in apparently talks of your society resume),with the eminently self-conscious,high-heeled crowd. On the other were these labourers and their managers,choreographing how giant pieces of wooden planks should turn and how they should be carried down and out of the venue. If you stood leaning against a wooden balcony covered by black cloth,they told you to move,so that they could rip out the cloth and dismantle.

The two polarized sections of the fashion industry bumped into each other often enough and I tried to follow the gaze of a few carpenters as a group of fashionistas on severe stilettos passed them. The men looked at the girls momentarily amused,but that’s it,they couldn’t be bothered more than that. If I had assumed these dressed to kill girls were going to leave the energetic group of workers gobsmacked,I was pleasantly surprised to note that fashion was treated as fancy dress,like any entertainment sport by the working crowd. Not something to stare and be fascinated by. We got a few pictures,see!

The Grand Bazaar

Senior couturier JJ Valaya completes 20 years in fashion this year. His finale staged last night was a take on the Ottoman Empire (another one this season,after Tarun Tahiliani’s). Valaya,whose sets were being nailed together till the very last minute –- the show started more than an hour behind scheduled time — had tried to recreate an Oriental bazaar on the ramp.

One of the most memorable parts of it was a tambourine player who sat in the middle of the ramp,with the spotlight on him and continued to play as the eager audience trooped in and found their seats. The light was blue and violet and if you looked around,there were trees,a few balconies with people in Turkish garb busy with chores,with prayers,with this and that of life.

Later when the tambourine player went away,after a thunderous round of applause from the guests already feeling a bit warm due to the dark colours and overcrowded show area,the fashion show would begin.

The first set of clothes that would come down was stunning to say the least. Subtly embroidered white jackets,velvet churidars,shaded saris,jutis and heavy jewellery. Later,there were even ornate and blindingly decorative Gaga glasses worn with heavy lehngas,with shawls cinched at the waist with slim belts.

The clothes were good,but the show turned out to be a jamboree as there were too many distractions: an acrobatic contortionist,a belly dancer,a whirling Dervish. A spectacle marred by muchness.

Designers Rohit Bal and Suneet Varma walked the ramp for Valaya as did those from the society and arts — Bharatnatyam dancer Navtej Singh Johar,businessman Naveen Ansal,producer Mozez Singh… Too many collegiate ingredients in a show that had some memorable garments. This kind of drama around a line of clothes on a fashion week ramp wouldn’t happen anywhere else in the world. Are good clothes not enough to say it all?

Post Script:

*My favourite accessory on the last day was blogger Santu Mishra’s hair band with red and fuschia feathers. See pix.

* Favourite model at the finale: Rohit Bal. His gaze at the cameras was to die for. ‘All is fair in love and fashion’,it seemed to suggest.

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