Rohit Bal sets his wo'men' free
According to Rohit Bal, the uncrowned king of Indian fashion, it is time men discovered the women within. And he doused the ramp in blood-red sindoor (vermillion) to make sure no one missed the point.
"I have always tried to make clothes that drape the male body but acknowledge and appreciate the woman that every man harbours inside. The concept of duality is beautiful and I wanted everyone in the audience today to know this. I am delighted by the overwhelming response I have received," says Bal who managed to create quite a flutter with his gender-bender of a show on the second day of the India Fashion Week in Mumbai.
If the incongruity of a dozen male models sporting sindoor-filled partings was meant to shock, it certainly achieved its purpose. And Bal now intends getting in touch with his feminine self more often.
"If a man feels comfortable with this duality and wants to explore it further, who am I to stop him? Fashion is an expression of your creativity and my clothes allow you to be as creative as you want to be," he quips.
While Indians may still be squeamish about seeing their men in skirts, there's nothing jarring about Bal's vision to visitors from abroad. "It's not unmanly to acknowledge the female side of your personality. Getting the models to put sindoor in their parting was truly a masterstroke. Sexual stereotypes are no longer valid and the sooner we realise it the better," says Sophie Lacoste, a French buyer at the event.