A stick-thin model is strutting down the runway, cameras flashing to capture her every step or, as some sadists hope, misstep. It’s like any other show for her, with just one difference — it’s in a subway train.
The scene is from the ‘Underground Catwalk’ fashion show from the Berlin Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011, which had models present creations by many designers, all on the tube. The scene also makes one wonder why fashion designers in the Capital lag behind when it comes to holding such off site shows.
Is it the money? Designer Prashant Verma thinks so. “The location presets a designer’s idea, so off-site shows should be encouraged and be taken seriously. The biggest problem when it comes to such shows is funding — FDCI usually offers all things under one roof. But, it is not as expensive as it is made out to be,” says Verma, adding that, given a chance, he “would pick the roof of a toilet building in Delhi to do such a show”.
Nida Mahmood, on the other hand, feels designers are just not adventurous enough. “People don’t think out of the box, maybe because it’s a risk and they don’t really know the success rate. But, artists should definitely experiment more - it’ll be fun and bring in freshness to what we do,” she says. “If I could, I would have a runway on a half-complete flyover or on top of an old bus.”
Some simply blame the city. “I’ve always to do an off-site show, but Delhi’s such a haphazard city, especially during the fashion week that it’s difficult to take the buyers to the off site location,” says designer Nitin Bal Chauhan. “I’d like to do one in the hills — something dark and gothic. But the main problem that prevents us from doing such shows is that we’re not an aesthetically sound nation.”
Not everyone is gung-ho about the idea, though. “They’re gimmicky and not for serious buyers. Although it’s good publicity because such shows stay in public memory, they may not necessarily translate into more business for the designer,” says designer Poonam Bhagat. “Showing at a common platform during a fashion week is a lot more hassle free, and it let’s me focus on my clothes.”