If the response to the recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week is anything to go by, then Mumbai’s most glamourous event might shrink further. With the current season format that the week follows, designers are missing out on big orders and editorial spreads in magazines.
“For prêt, it’s better to work six months in advance because you get a feel of what works and what doesn’t from the buyers who place orders at the venue,” says Kiran Jaisinghani of label Myoho, who showed a Fall/Winter collection despite the Summer Resort theme.
Established designer Amalraj Sengupta says that showing a summer resort collection in the same season doesn’t allow him to be part of magazine shoots, a point backed by Meghna Bhalla, junior fashion editor, Harper’s Bazaar. “Even magazines work many months in advance, planning shoots. By the time we see the shows in March, we’ve already wrapped up our April and May issues, and it doesn’t make sense to show resort trends in June.”
Anil Chopra, CEO, Lakme Lever, says that the fashion week’s advisory board has taken the designers’ complaints into consideration, and has decided to antedate the next season. “While the unanimous opinion was that we should not go back to the old calendar of showing collections for the season six months in advance, we have decided to hold LFW a few weeks in advance to give designers lead time to meet big orders.”
Another complaint doing the rounds is about the quality of designer collections showcased this season. Reports already have pointed out how many of LFW’s best designers had decided not to show this season, and have instead aligned with Delhi’s Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week. Some, like Sabyasachi Mukherjee, don’t even treat LFW as a business platform. He says, “I had private appointments in my hotel room with select clients. For me, fashion week is more of a PR exercise.”
Shaan Thadhani, owner and creative director of Delhi-base store White, is vocal about his disapproval. “If this is the line-up of designers showcasing next season, I won’t be attending,” he says, adding, “We spend a lot of money on travel and accommodation and the business we do at LFW doesn’t make up for it.”
Thadhani adds emphatically, “The big designers didn’t have stalls there, which clearly shows they weren’t interested in doing business. And from among the ones that were present, the quality was bad.” Pradeep Hirani, chairman of Kimaya Fashions Pvt. Ltd, puts a different spin on it saying, “Most designers have two collections, one that they shown on ramp, and one that’s intended for sale.”
But Chopra denies these reports, saying, “I’ve actually heard contradictory reports from the designers, with many telling me they did fantastic business.”