Anxious ticket-holders, confused models and buyers, furious designers and stressed organisers — drama and chaos prevailed at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week at the NSIC exhibition grounds in Okhla yesterday as police refused to let the show get on the road.
The inaugural show at 12 noon was halted by police, because organisers had failed to get a No Objection Certificate from the Fire Department. Those who had gathered outside the Main Show Area were asked to leave. “The show is not starting at 12… why is everyone still waiting outside the MSA?” was the announcement. People were directed to the holding area, without any explanation. A traffic jam developed near the show grounds and pass holders were denied entry.
Designer Tarun Tahliani said, “This is a sad day for Indian fashion. Buyers from across the world have gathered and this is the picture we’re presenting.” Satya Paul, which had a show scheduled for the afternoon, announced a cancellation of its show. Virender Singh Chahal, Additional Commissioner of Police, South East said, “The organisers didn’t submit the requisite papers to the licensing department. They can’t start unless we give them the NOC.”
A visibly dejected Sunil Sethi, president of the Fashion Design Council of India, was told about the problem at 9 pm on Tuesday and had, since then, been making the rounds of licensing offices trying to resolve it. He said the police had informed him that, after the recent fire in Kolkata, the fire department was being extra cautious. “When this is all over, we will introspect and figure out who is to blame but right now the priority is to make it happen,” Sethi said. Backstage, designers Nida Mahmood and Little Shilpa didn’t know why their show had been delayed. “I’m hoping the buyers don’t leave and that it all goes well,” Mahmood said. By 1 pm, Seth accompanied by 3-4 policemen, was heard trying to calm journalists. “We are just trying to ensure all arrangements are in place,” he said.
Monica Sharma, a pass-holder said, “This is the first time I came to such an event, and I’m sure I won’t do it again.” Designer Ritu Beri said, “When things are not in your control, there’s no point getting jittery. It’s happening to everyone, not just me.” JJ Vallaya, who was scheduled to showcase his collection at 9pm, said, “I have my fingers crossed, I hope it doesn’t spiral into something big, delaying everything.”
At the time of going to press, the organisers were waiting for an official to sign the NOC and it still wasn’t clear when the Fashion Week would start.
—Inputs from HTC