We live in an innately unfashionable country (we do. Let’s not kid ourselves). A country with 2 Gods – Bollywood and Cricket. Let’s leave cricket for another day (Thankfully, the IPL is over. Let’s rejoice in peace), but let’s talk Bollywood. In this unfashionable country of ours, we look to Bollywood for fashion inspiration and guidelines.
Innumerable blogs, glossies and websites are devoted to Bollywood gossip where Bollywood fashion gets scrutinised, criticised and lauded on a daily, nay hourly basis. Then why is it so awful? How is it so far removed from actual fashion – i.e. street fashion, runway fashion and fashion mag fashion?
You do agree don’t you? No? Well then, let’s swan dive into Bollywood fashion and see if we can come out with some style cliques (or end up belly flopping in the process) to elucidate our uniquely Bollywood un-fashion hypothesis –Designer Duds – this clique is almost always spotted in flamboyant Italian/French (or an American pretending to be the French/Italian) designer labels. From glove-like fitted animal print dresses by Roberto Cavalli, Herve Leger bandage dresses to multiple Birkin bags and glittery Jimmy Choos, they look glamorous alright, but they also look like set extras on Desperate Housewives.
Ethnic Embracers – This clique sticks to tried-and-tested Indian designers like the ever-reliable Sabyasachi to ‘stand out’ amidst the Bollywood bunch. Again the problem really isn’t about them looking good, they do, it’s the fact that so many are doing it that it becomes yet another assembly line. Which spells boring in its own way.
Safe Sailors – They constitute a bulk of the current crop of Indian actors. The ones with beautifully worked-out bodies and implicit faith in stylists. They’re well-dressed, often interchangeably and always predictably. Red Carpet means strapless gowns, a mermaid silhouette here, a peplum there and Award shows imply Manish Malhotra monstrosities saris. Maybe they’re terrified of finding themselves condemned to ‘Worst Dressed’ lists and have decided it’s better to blend in than to stand out. Whatever the reason, the result is – They’re pretty in the extreme, but they’re also pretty boring.And finally, there is Sonam Kapoor. Are we great fans of her style? We sure are. Do we think she owns what she wears? Most definitely. What we love most about her style is the fact that it’s experimental. She tries new and edgy looks, and though her success rate may vary, no one can accuse her of being ‘assembly line.’ Whether it was her Anamika Khanna Grecian dress or her Gaultier dress last year at Cannes or even her Masaba saris, she’s as changeable and capricious as the fashion world around her is. And just for that, we’re really glad she’s around.
Until Bollywood catches up, we’ll get our dose of happy from the Diane Krugers, the Cate Blanchetts and the Lady Gagas of the world. But we do beseech Bollywood to give us fashion we can dream about. Failing that, give us something to mock.