So India had its very first off-site show when Rohit Bal had his presentation well away from the main venue of Delhi Fashion Week at the Emporio, at his new restaurant Cibo.
Now that the feud between the Fashion Design Council of India and the Fashion Foundation of India has become a rather boring affair to talk about, I think this show came as a breath of fresh air.
Rohit Bal’s presentation was as powerful as it can get. His creations had all the elements that a finale collection should have — theatrics, elegance and creativity. Topping it all was the venue itself where the couture presentation, as some designers do in the West, took place. Had the number of people invited been somewhat a bit more controlled, the scene would have been just perfect. In any case, if at all finales should take place at Indian fashion weeks, against which I have strong reservations, I think off-site venues may well prove to be the ideal places to hold the same.
I expressed my reservations on the ‘finale’ concept as I do not understand the very purpose of the same except that it is done to make sponsors happy. My question here is that aren’t they getting what they want every day of the fashion week when their brand names get mentioned in newspapers and magazines? Besides, they advertise fashion weeks with their names and through spot ads on pages. It is not that I do not enjoy being at the finale. In fact, I do. But, it has become one of the worst nightmares in fashion weeks as no finale starts at a decent time. More than double the capacity of the venue are invited and whether its prêt or bridge, when the show begins it looks like couture. And seldom designers stick to seasonal themes.
There’s yet another fascinating aspect about these finales. Every single posterior that wriggles out of fancy cars lowers the same only on front rows. Visualise this: with each additional ‘behinds’ being thrust in between guests (I have seen this happening even at fashion weeks every time), guests sitting on both ends of the bench end up either falling down or sitting with half their bums on the bench.
There are hundreds of people standing and jostling for space behind the rows. So what otherwise should look like an elegant evening, ends up looking like an overcrowded DTC bus with ladies in diamond and designer clothes. No, I don’t get it. For finales, organisers should perhaps look at venues that can accommodate crowd in large numbers.
Off-site shows can find a solution to this. Here time can also be saved and set construction etc can be done even while regular shows are underway at the main venue. And the designer can do what he wants in terms of props, seating and décor to make his showing different from the rest.