Just when the fashion fraternity was coming to terms with celebrities being moved to the third row, controversy’s child Rohit Bal has shaken the scene up with another debate. In a recent interview to Mumbai-based publication DNA, the designer said, “Bollywood is the god of style and fashion in the country ... at the end of the day it’s what Priyanka Chopra and Arjun Rampal wear, that matters. That’s the be all and end all of fashion in India. Bollywood rules and we are fools!”
While many designers refrained from commenting on the truth of the matter, others strongly agree with Bal. “I get a lot of queries, especially from the NRIs, to make dresses that they have seen a certain actor sporting in a movie. Sometimes clients even bringing pictures of celebrities, asking for the same look. I refer them to the designers who I know do this kind of work,” says Delhi-based designer Rina Dhaka.
Jattinn Kochhar feels the same — no matter how good a designer’s collection, it does not become a trend unless a star wears it. “The easiest, quickest and the most effective way to catch people’s attention is to have a celebrity wear your dress,” he says.
Designer Rocky S, whose outfits are worn by Bollywood A-listers, says it’s only obvious. “People are huge fans of what Bollywood stars wear ... they become a quick, easy trend.”
Bollywood, on its part, is proud of being the trendsetter. “I wouldn’t disagree with Rohit as Bollywood has a huge hold over the masses!,” says actor Riya Sen. Actor Shahana Goswami adds, “If we had a brigade of other professionals dressing up super fashionably and being in the public eye, they would become style icons too. Since we don’t have that culture, Bollywood stars are the only ones to look up to for a common man.”
Veteran designer Ritu Beri, however, differs. “A big star does create an impression in people’s minds, but it’s the designers who set the trends. If Kareena gets applause for a good dress, it’s the designer who is giving her that look.”
"I agree with Rohit. Stars dominate what people wear. Also, because not everyone can afford designer wear," says Shaina NC, designer.
"I can’t doubt an established designer like Rohit. If he says this, he has all the experience to support it," says Reynu Taandon, designer.