Designer duel: The heat is on
The Delhi-Mumbai fashion war just took a new turn. It’s gloves off for Mumbai-based designer Narendra Kumar and Delhi-based owner of Cue and H2O, Rohit Gandhi.
Narendra Kumar accuses Rohit Gandhi of ‘blackmailing’ his business partner, Kadambri. Kumar says Gandhi — a member of the FDCI board (which organises the Delhi fashion week, now called the Wills India Fashion Week) — threatened Kadambri that their decision to take part in Mumbai’s Lakme Fashion Week would mean that they’d never be able to take part in any FDCI event. He says Gandhi’s threat came at the recent Breast Cancer benefit brunch at Olive.
Gandhi denies the charge. "I never made such a statement," he says. Kumar, he adds, bears an old grudge against him that dates back to the days when they both had stores at 1 MG Road. “Our stores were bang opposite each other but his store didn’t get much business,” he reasons.
Kumar on his part claims that his sole interest in the fashion week is only business, serious busi ness. "FDCI is an extremely important organisation and I would want to take part in their fashion week. But people like Gandhi are making it difficult for the other designers," he points out. He also says that he paid his dues to FDCI in January and is now eagerly waiting for the design council to announce names of its participants. While he is showing his women’s line in Mumbai, he has applied to show his men’s line in Delhi.
Gandhi says Kumar's accusation is a "publicity stunt" to gain some attention just before the fashion week. "Narendra is one of the board members of Lakme Fashion Week. He is expected to do such things and come out with such statements against the FDCI board members," says Gandhi. “I won’t be surprised if he’s on the payroll of Lakme and is being paid to make such statement.” If this war of words is any indication of what may spill onto the ramps in the coming weeks, brace up for more action. Watch this space for more: temperatures are bound to soar at both the two fashion weeks and behind-the-scene rivalries are bound to be rampant.