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Grand enough?

Celebs or clothes — what’s important? The WIFW Grand Finale brings back the debate

fashion and trends Updated: Mar 30, 2010 01:27 IST
Rahul Sabharwal

It had all the makings of a Grand show — hype, an established designer, and the country’s biggest fashion gala as a platform. Yet when the Grand Finale show by Rajesh Pratap Singh at the Wills India Lifestyle Fashion Week ended, many were seen shaking their head. Their complaint? While the clothes were fabulous, the show, — tad short by grand finale standards — wasn’t dramatic enough.

Audience, used to seeing the flamboyance of Rohit Bal with celebrity showstoppers sashaying down the ramp, had trouble digesting the simplicity and lack of drama in Pratap’s show, marked by a performance from an a capella choir. “Something was missing and there wasn’t enough drama. The clothes were undoubtedly great and the stage setup was nice, but people had also come in expecting a celeb showstopper and something out-of-the-box,” said jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali, who was tweeting from the front row. “If he wanted to keep it simple, he could’ve opted for any other show than the Finale,” said an audience. “Maybe Abraham & Thakore would’ve been a more apt choice for the finale,” said an editor of a fashion magazine.

“It was a small show,” said the usually reticent Pratap after the show, insisting that his shows are about clothes and not celeb showstoppers. Asked about the lack of drama and if he had any specific theme in mind, he replied, “I’m sorry to have disappointed you... Themes and inspirations are marketing gimmicks.”
Meanwhile, FDCI chief Sunil Sethi was seen trying to salvage the situation. “What may seem bland to you is iconic to others. There’s a difference between showmanship and talent. In fact, it was his precondition that he’ll do the finale without a celeb. You must realise, there’s a difference between Raj Kapoor and Satyajit Ray,” he told the media.

Designers had a mixed opinion. “I think the drama works because the audience is also there to have fun. But I can’t comment on another designer’s work,” said Nida Mahmood. “Yes, a showstopper can take a show to another level, but Rajesh likes to add elegance to his clothes instead. That’s the way he is,” said Reynu Taandon. “Rajesh is the king of prêt. You don’t need drama with prêt, you need it with couture,” said Manav Gangwani. “You should have a celeb only if it matches with your theme. Just because we’re used to something silly (the trend of having celebs on the ramp), it doesn’t mean it’s right,” said Ritu Beri.