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TV a new draw for fashion designers

Lending clothes to reality shows and ads has become a marketing tool for Indian designers looking at a higher brand recall.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 17:20 IST
HT Style
HT Style
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Thenext time you skip a commercial to visit the loo, keep in mind that you are missing the style statement of the season. When Rakshanda Khan began her stint on television with Jodee Kamaal Kii, the show became much more than a compatibility test for couples — it became a showcase for Tarun Tahiliani’s outfits, worn by the host.

Meanwhile, Mandira Bedi, who has succeeded Madhavan on Deal Ya No Deal, is draping Satya Paul saris over her itty-bitty blous es. On KBC, the designers on board were at first Raghavendra Rathore and then Shantanu-Nikhil.

Even as the debate over ‘mass’ and ‘niche’ markets continues in fashion, designers indicate which way they are headed as more and more TV shows find couturiers vying for brand placement.

John Abraham in Narendra Kumar's clothes in the Bombay Dyeing ad

Realising the high brand recall that TV offers through reality shows or even advertisements, designers are lobbying to get their clothes endorsed.

The new Pepsi ad for instance. When it came out, with Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra flanking a bottle of ‘Cafechino’, the talking point was not only the new flavour but also the two ladies’ costumes — Priyanka was in a Rocky S outfit; Kareena had slipped into Manish Malhotra’s threads.

According to Malhotra, the percep tion of television has undergone a change. “There was a time when designers were run ning away from tele vision; today they are running after it.” The situation, he adds, is similar to what happened with Bollywood — it was considered lowly once; now everyone, from socialites to designers, has accepted it as a trendsetter.

It helps that television has become sleeker, enabling the designer to place his product on it. A show like Karan Johar’s Koffee with Karan had audiences as eager to see what the guests wore as much as what they said.

Mandira Bedi says of the trend, “An increasing number of designers are now looking at reasonably high-profile TV shows as a form of advertising. They provide their clothes free because they’ve begun to look at dressing anchors on television as a form of marketing.”

While characters in the saas bahu serials continue to wear their Maharashtrian saris, vamps and other “sexy” characters have gone designer. While much was made of Jassi wearing Satya Paul, Shaan’s classy and understated wardrobe in the just-concluded Sa Re Ga Ma Pawas designed by Raghavendra Rathore. There is also Yeh Meri Life Hai, which sees clothes by Ritu Kumar.

The new Bombay Dyeing ad with John Abraham, currently on air, has designs by Narendra Kumar. “It’s a complementary relationship,” says Kumar.

“Designers get more visibility (by giving clothes for TV) and it is also good for the star’s image.” The number of advertisements in Manish Malhotra’s kitty has more than doubled over the past six months or so.

The designer already has two endorsers on television — Kajol in the red trench coat and black cat suit for the Marie advertisement; and Kareena in the Cafechino ad. For another Pepsi ad, currently in the making, he has lent overalls to Priyanka and Kareena.

If the pie has got bigger, the number of designers vying for a slice of it has increased as well. Larger advertising budgets and pressure from client firms to make stylised ads also have a lot to do with it, say ad gurus.

First Published: Mar 07, 2006 17:20 IST