The one thing you’d expect from a designer’s front-row audience is that it sports his or her designs, as a mark of solidarity. In the West, the practice is as old as fashion itself. But, closer home, patrons just don’t seem interested — most front row occupants at the ongoing Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week have been donning international labels while cheering on desi designers.
So, why is Delhi doing this? The reasons range from sensible to ridiculous. “I need to be dressed in clothes which work for a business meeting as well as in the front row. Attending a show is just one activity, and I really can’t plan my entire day around it,” explains restaurateur Ramola Bachchan. Others offer less convincing arguments. “It’s much easier to wear an international label than worry about sporting last season’s designs by an Indian designer. That would be quite a faux pas,” reasons front row regular, Anita Bhattal.
“Clothes by Indian designers are better suited for festivals,” says socialite Tanisha Mohan, spotted flaunting Roberto Cavalli in the front row. Former model Feroze Gujral, who wore Rich & Skinny jeans and a Junk top, says Western labels are “easy to style, with no hassles”.
Ironically, some of the showcasing designers, too, are not wearing their creations at their own shows. “It was a crazy day. So I just grabbed whatever I could,” says designer Pallavi Mohan, spotted taking a bow after her own show in a Miu Miu dress. Designers Pankaj and Nidhi, too, were seen in everything but their own label. “We wanted to wear our most safe and comfortable garments,” they say.
Experts feel it’s time Indians took pride in their own. “Indian designers need to work on visibility, be it in the front row or parties. The sooner they realise this, the better,” says fashion editor, Radhika Jha.