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Who sits in the fashionable front row

Actor Madhuri Dixit has graced the front row for designer Varun Behl. So, who really sits in the best seats at a fashion week? Industry insiders clear the air and explain the hype about the coveted front row

fashion and trends Updated: Oct 08, 2011 02:05 IST
Surabhi Chauhan

Actor Madhuri Dixit has graced the front row for designer Varun Behl, artist Subodh Gupta for designer Rajesh Pratap Singh and even politico Renuka Chowdhury has lent her mass appeal to designer Neeru Kumar’s show. Many others want to be a member of the club that gets to sit with who’s who of celebrity world, but getting a seat in a front row of a fashion week isn’t a cakewalk.

At the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week that starts today, each show will have separate seats for buyers, press, sponsors, and the designer’s guests. In total the designers get 300 seats, which usually seat celebrities, customers, and friends. Out of these the front row has up to 40-50 seats. Fashion Design Council of India president, Sunil Sethi says, “Till the time of the show the numbers of front row seats keep on increasing. We add 5-10 seats incase of emergency, as everybody wants to sit front row.”

The front row reflects a designer’s powerhouse: the fashion credentials are magnified by who’s in the front row. When actors Vidya Balan and Rani Mukherji sit in the front row at Sabyasachi’s show, they also channel their fan base towards the designer.

Designers and publicists plan the front-row seating arrangements much in advance to ensure that important guests get coveted seats. “A good front row makes a show trendy and happening. It shows your ability to engage with opinion makers and influencers.” says designer duo Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, who will showcase at the Finale show this time at the fashion week.

So who do designers prefer to have in their show’s front row? “An eclectic mix of people who have had an influence in honing my
aesthetics; and my parents because my front row would be incomplete without them,” says designer Nachiket Barve.

Nachiket Barve
Young designer
Barve’s dream front row is an eclectic mix of people whose work inspires him:

Amitabh & Jaya Bachchan
Bollywood actors: “for their great taste and immense dignity”

David Doubilet, Underwater photographer
“for opening up the ocean world to me as a child”

Jhumpa Lahiri, Author
“for mixing style with substance”

Christy Turlington, Former supermodel
“She’s a timeless beauty”

Shobha De, Novelist
“for her spunk and ability to carry fashion well at every stage of her life”

Grace Coddington, Creative director, US Vogue
“for her skills to make fashion immortal with her imagery.”

Rohit Gandhi-Rahul Khanna
Popular Delhi-based designers cite close friends whom they would want in their front row:

Malini Ramani, Designer
“for the diva she is”

Ambika Pillai, Beauty & Hair expert
“a great friend who always makes us laugh”

Sunil Sethi, President, FDCI
“for the impeccable gentleman that he is”

Madhu Sapre, Former supermodel
“for her contribution to Indian Fashion and for being an inspiration for designers and models alike”

John Abraham, Bollywood actor
“for women to ogle at”

Tarun Tahiliani, Designer
“for his aristocratic looks”

Ritu Kumar, Designer
“for the fact that she still remains to be an icon in the Indian fashion industry who has hailed sartorial class”

Rohit Bal, Couturier
“One of our closest friend and an ultimate fashionista”

Deepika Padukone, Bollywood actor
“for starting as a model and making it so big in the industry”