Putting on a show, that is what a fashion week collection is simply all about. Often the gap from ramp to reality seems a little too far-fetched. For a designer, the two most important members of the audience are the buyers and the media.
The retailer is looking for clothes that are a perfect combination of commercialism and creativity. The press’s eye is on clothes that will have visual appeal on their pages. In pursuit of their approval, designers can sometimes over step the line between fashion and theatre. Normally pieces shown at a fashion week become “press collections”; only used for editorial shoots and on the red
carpet. What you see in the stores are pieces adapted to be true ready to wear, but it is still a fine balance that designers tread between show-worthy and show-scary.
Rohit Bal put men in skirts back in 2003 at Lakme India Fashion Week, Gauri and Nanika’s finale at Lakme Fashion Week last year had a model on stilts wearing over eight feet long gowns and Rimzim Dadu’s Wills India Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2011 collection was so structural and moulded that it looked more like art. In her case, the “Metallic Warrior” collection looked impossible to wear, but is actually one of her best selling collections. There was no fashion editorial that did not include her that season. It established her as a mistress of moulded fashion.
Gauri and Nainka’s collection was all about fantastical evening wear and the visual impact of seeing these gowns in “super-size” versions was intended to add to the whole majestic feel. It spoke of the fluid femininity the designers are known for. Of course it had its critics, but in fashion that can work in your favour. Rohit Bal’s (who is probably India’s best show-man) “men in skirts”was perfectly timed, everyone was talking about the new metrosexual man. While the skirt trend may not have taken off, his beautifully embellished soft jackets that accompanied the skirts became the must have for any groom-to-be that season. Of course, soon local high street stores were doing their versions of the same.
The “trickle down effect”is what makes fashion week most exciting for most of us. The trends that will be set here will eventually be the must- haves in the next season. As high street stores will pick up and come out with their own more wearer and price friendly versions. So, look out for those larger than life creations, they just may reappear in your wardrobe in a more wearable and affordable version in the next six months!
Models wearing Adama Paris creation wait in the backstage before the Black Fashion Week show in Paris. AFP photo