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Red carpets in India used to feature the rustle of heavy silk saris. These days,you’re more likely to see a Gavin Miguel shift dress customised for the occasion.

Has red carpet fashion finally come of age in India?

Red carpets in India used to feature the rustle of heavy silk saris. These days,you’re more likely to see a Gavin Miguel shift dress customised for the occasion. It hasn’t been long since Indian celebdom woke up to the possibilities of red carpet fashion,but it has embraced the trend enthusiastically. The red carpet fashion scene,it would seem,has finally evolved in India. So for every Rekha,who continues to wear traditional Kanjeevarams as she did to the recently held Nokia 16th Annual Star Screen Awards,there’s a Shahana Goswami who looks elegant in a blue Shantanu & Nikhil gown and jewels by Amrapali,while Katrina Kaif wears a Tarun Tahiliani outfit with almost Grecian drapes.

Individual quirks peek through—Sonam Kapoor keeps things fun and girly like the Manish Arora outfit she wore to the IIFA Awards in 2009,while Kangna Ranaut likes a hard edge to her clothes,as evidenced in the studded belt she wore with her ruffled Balmain outfit at the Apsara awards 2009.

“It’s only in the last three years that red carpet fashion has gained prominence in India,” says designer Narendra Kumar,“and it’s mostly because celebrities are more aware of fashion now.” Designer Pria Kataria Puri adds,“Every year,we sit and watch the red carpet at the Oscars and the Golden Globes to see what all the top people are wearing. What they wear now will dictate trends tomorrow all over the world? It’s the same with India now. Once upon a time,it was what they wore on screen that would find its way into our wardrobes. Now,what they wear on the red carpet is what we try to emulate.”

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The attention being paid to red carpet styling is noticeable. Kataria Puri points out,“Some years ago,actors would think that it was OK to wear what they wore on screen to an awards function. They didn’t understand that what looks good on camera—like yellow satin—can look very flashy on the redcarpet.” The younger generation,she says,pays attention to such details. “People like Kangna Ranaut and Sonam Kapoor truly love fashion. They know how to put a look together.”

The red carpet is the prime example of the symbiotic relationship shared by fashion and movies. If designers can make an actor look good,conversely,designers gets a great deal of publicity simply because their creations are worn by famous people. Haute houses of fashion like Christian Dior,Louis Vuitton and Salvatore Ferragamo regularly lend out their creations for red carpet occasions,while designers like Manish Malhotra and Archana Kochhar are also much in demand. Kumar agrees,“If you’re in the fashion business,it’s important for your creations to be on the red carpet. It affords designers a great deal of visibility.” Swapnil Shinde,who has dressed actresses Priyanka Chopra and Mugdha Godse,says he owes a lot to the obsession with red carpet dressing. “There’s no doubt that the designer benefits the most—I’m a well-known name because celebs wear my creations.”

There’s no denying that ours is a celebrity-obsessed culture and given how frequently famous people are scrutinised,it comes as no surprise that they can get quite paranoid.

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Actress Vidya Balan,for instance,received a lot of flak for a shiny orange Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla churidar she wore to the Filmfare Awards in 2008. In 2009,she switched to designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s elegant saris to much appreciation and since then,has rarely been seen in anything else.

Priyanka Chopra too has been much criticised for rarely stepping out of her short,fitted dresses. “There’s a lot of space devoted in the media these days to dissecting outfits of famous people. So naturally they want to make sure that nothing’s ever out of place,” says Kataria Puri. This,she says,has led to many not taking any risks with what they wear. “They want to wear safe outfits,what they know they look good in. So while they’re extremely professional and they look lovely at the end of it all,they don’t have any fun with fashion,which is really a shame since these are beautiful people who can pull off almost anything.”

First published on: 18-01-2010 at 01:49:48 am
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