The Week-ness for fashion

THAT WAS one hell of a hectic week, the one that just went by. Not only for those in the fash-pack - designers, stylists, photographers, choreographers, media gurus and fashion editors, but also for us fashion eagles - the watchers, the wearers, and the style-seekers. The mega fashion fair - Lakme India Fashion Week, in its fourth most successful showing, came to a resounding close recently in Mumbai. And the good meaning of the term "withdrawal symptoms" began to sink in.

The event, hugely covered by our friends in the media, had the Mumbai chatterati in grips of shuddering delight for all of seven working-like-a-dog days, and partying-to-save-your-life, nights. The shows and the fash-bashes that followed, were thronged by the bon ton of our smart cities, and who's-who-and-was-seen-where, almost came to being news headlines.

One could say Page Three took a jump to Page One.

Designers, creative creatures that they are, served up a daily dose of ultra-glam clothes, accessories, looks and make-up. In a nutshell, what came our way truly, was fashion - full frontal. Bold and vibrant, pulsating and ALIVE!!! Clothes that astonished and inspired, that took one to the depths of dizzying heights that gave an intelligent meaning to the vainness of vanity, and those that had you reaching for your credit cards!!

The event marked an important milestone in the still babyish yet furiously growing fashion industry in India. The event also sparked many debates.

Mindless! Excessive! Anti-utilitarian! Un-democratic! Our enlightened-Buddhas of the media, particularly the visual media (which incidentally has a delightful habit of going into raptures like a giddy-headed pre-pubescent, over just about anything) stumbled upon the big question - "where is the pr�t ?", which was then tossed about from one news channel to the other, as if lives depended on it . So blinding was the glare of the glitz and glamour that surrounded the event, that serious reportage on the " business of fashion" went largely unreported. That fashion shows, the world over, are all about drama and shock, was not fathomed by our gurus. If they were to look at the under-belly of it all, they would surely have found "pr�t", right there. And being lapped up by buyers, not only from shops around the country but from far and beyond .

A fashion show is like an advertisement for the clothes on show, yes, but more importantly, for a brand image the designer has to create for his product. Does anyone remember a plain speaking boring ad on TV for, let's say, something as mundane as toothpaste? Then how can a designer, who is jostling for space on the world fashion map, attract the attention of the most discerning, intelligent and elusive buyer, with a plain white shirt? That, this plain white shirt is supremely crafted with the finest of Indian cotton and sewn with the finesse of an artist, can be made evident to this buyer only once he chooses to look closer at the designer's goody-bag. For which he has to be firstly, lured back-stage. The same old Adam and the Apple principle. For which the drama ... So you see !!!

Then there was the grandmother of all debates - the Delhi versus Mumbai contest and eminent persons were heard and seen giving their opinions on why one city was better than the other. The two magnificent metropolises of India, are as systematically divorced from one another as May from December. Both equally de rigueur to complete the whole though. Just as you can't take Bollywood away from Mumbai, can you take art and history from Delhi. Tarun Tahiliani , the high-fashionist who's clothes are the most glamorous, in Mumbai , and Abraham and Thakore who's most understated minimalist Zen like clothes are hanging on the smartest shoulders in the whole world, in Delhi . Sir Bartle Frere's, Bombay versus Sir Edward Lutyens, Delhi. Bad apples in Mumbai versus bad apples in Delhi. So where is the competition really? But to round it off - debate however bad, is good for health. No questions asked to those who ask questions - even if they are wrong. Because only then will the questions be corrected first and the answers given, then. That is, truly, the only way forward.

Graphics by D.Vijay Anand