Antique jamevar pants,velvet kurtas,suede shirts,cashmere jackets with built in scarves,overshirts this isnt the stuff you would usually associate designer Ravi Bajaj (Inset) with. But for his opening show at the Van Heusen India Mens Week tomorrow at Grand Hotel,Vasant Kunj,Bajaj is more than willing to deviate ever so slightly,especially since hell be part of a fashion week for the first time. Appropriately,his collection is titled the Dandy March and geared towards those who are not embarrassed by their interest in fashion,and who,says Bajaj,have the vanity,the time,the inclination and the money to indulge themselves. Not surprisingly,the price points of the collection start at around Rs 6,000 for shirts and Rs 35,000 for jackets.
Its been over two decades since Bajaj started off yet the man who was among the designers who conceived the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) has always chosen to stay away from the multiple fashion weeks. The tiger hunts alone, comes the wry retort when we ask him why. Probe him further and a candid Bajaj admits how he does not see fashion shows as integral to success,or his design sensibilities. Besides,I like to do things in my own style. I take a whole day for fittings. I walk in,I walk out,I lose my temper a million times. Theres always a champagne waiting in the dressing room for those impromptu celebrations. But when its a fashion week,you have to work within parameters. Its not something I enjoy, says the 44-year-old.
The mens fashion week though,says Bajaj,seems to be poised for serious business. Madura Garments,Indias main apparel maker is the brand supporting it. Its heartening because thats their core business. They are not in it for surrogate advertising, he says.
Menswear by designers is a niche industry in India,in any case,it plays second fiddle to bridal wear and the huge choice of pret options. With the arrival of international brands like Canali and Armani in India,the relevance of Indian menswear designers is questionable. Our future is in using indigenous techniques peculiar to India and we should use them at a smaller boutique level. The economy of scales is too much to bridge, he says.
Of course tie-ups are a possibility,but the nature of it has to change. We need strategic tie-ups with venture capitalists now,who will invest in the industry, says the man,who had tied up with Shoppers Stop way back in 1997 to launch a ready-to-wear collection. (Bajaj has moved away from pret since).
But theres more than design that keeps this couturier busy. Coming up next in his flagship store at Greater Kailash N-Block market is a new wine bar,where over 25 different kinds
of wines will be available by
the glass. It will add to the already existing plush cafe that has become a hallmark of his store. But at the moment,all attention is focussed on his show tomorrow. Its a bit of a departure,but it will still have the
Ravi Bajaj hallmark. Its still about luxury and beautiful
tailoring, he ends.