An old ice warehouse for a venue; dancers, singers, aerialists, drag queens for models; and animated kissing and hugging on stage for action. Images from a recent fashion show in New York City are enough to point out that fashion shows are going bold. Deadpan, expressionless models walking the ramp is a thing of the past as designers try bold themes and bolder ways to express them. Designer Niki Mahajan’s lesbian theme show was applauded at the recent WIFW in Delhi.
But Indian designers are still a divided house on whether they would have their models kiss on the ramp. “This will never work in India. We are known in the world for our culture and craftsmanship. Kissing on the ramp is not for India,” says designer Reynu Taandon.
Designer Tarun Tahliani says fashion shows should keep their focus on clothes. “You cannot generalise the Indian audience. Kissing is nothing new. But you have to do something like this to know whether this boldness will work here or not. I’m doing something similar during the Couture week. But if it’s a fashion week with focus on buyers and business, one should refrain from it.”
Designer Prashant Verma says, “Kissing on the stage has been done to death. It is pretentious. I’ve included theatrics in my shows and hence, I can say that it works but we need to improve our production skills to make our performances better.”
“If you are a regular to the fashion weeks, you do expect something innovative. It looks nice to have an element of theatre in your show, but striking the right balance is essential. It is coming to Indian fashion, too, but as long as that doesn’t take away from the clothes. After all, we’re a creative lot,” says designer Neeta Bhargava.