The recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week x FDCI in Mumbai was less about clothes and more about celebrity culture and Instagram PR
Who is the star of any fashion show? Is this the designer who spent months crafting a collection hoping it would set the tone for the year ahead? Is it the model who confidently wears those creations, showing off the silhouette and the details in all their glory? Is it the music and sound technicians who set the mood bringing the designer’s ideas to life? Is it the runway that sets the mood with the lighting and sets?
At the four-day Lakme Fashion Week, in association with the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), which concluded in Mumbai on March 12, the only star seemed to be a celebrity showstopper. If Manish Malhotra had worn Ananya Panday and Aditya Roy Kapur Spilled Rekha (left me asking for more), Limerick had Shilpa Shetty in what looked like an ill-fitting jumpsuit-meets-catsuit. Meanwhile, Shaheen Mannan brought Zeenat Aman (who recently made her Instagram debut) to the ramp in a smart, safe outfit. Anushree Reddy, on the other hand, had Sushmita Sen, recovering from a heart attack, a beautiful but boring Lehenga-choli. There was also content creator Niharika NM who debuted on the ramp in a Sameer Madan outfit which had the element of over-the-top.
This comes just a month after Rahul Mishra and Gaurav Gupta showcased their collection at Paris Fashion Week. At a time when Indian fashion is being worn on red carpets across the world, it seems unnecessary to lean on Bollywood actors or social media influencers to garner attention. It’s been over two decades since India started its annual fashion shows, but the last four days haven’t reflected any of the maturity with which Indian designers have approached their craft.
It is true that now it is important to sensationalize on Instagram first, and then think about IRL. Even internationally, fashion houses focus on making an Instagram statement, but rarely at the expense of the clothes themselves.
For example, just days before the Oscars, Versace hosted a star-studded fashion show in Hollywood with industry and social media people in the front row, which made for great Instagrammable moments. On the ramp too, there were A-listers—but every single one of them was a supermodel, from Naomi Campbell to Gigi Hadid. There’s no doubt that the Versace Fall-Winter 2023 show was all about fashion.
Ramp shows don’t mean tagging just one actor at the end, especially one who has no relation to the brand or its values. The showstopper has to reflect the aesthetic and story of the brand. They have to persuade the consumer to buy by building a relationship with them. A fashion show has to start a conversation, spark a trend, and push the viewer, buyer, or Instagram user to re-think about the meaning of style and fashion.
Because, “Instagram PR” doesn’t get you very far. While your social media followers discuss which celebrity has walked for which designer in their DMs and multiple WhatsApp groups with family and friends, they almost forget which apparel is being showcased, until That clothes don’t really succeed in creating magic. Today’s consumer may have a shorter attention span, but is fast enough to tell the difference between substance and gimmicks.
As I’m writing this, I’m looking back at the 50 collections that were presented between March 9 and 12, and only a handful bring me joy. Anavila’s play with only one piece of garment, for example, demonstrated its timelessness and fluidity throughout the show. No petticoats, no blouses, just beautiful sarees that pay homage dabbu, an ancient mud resist handblock printing technique from Rajasthan. At Hiro’s Heirloom Jazz, fashion inspired by the post-apocalyptic world comes alive with sharp tailoring and edgy design and style. Rudraksh Dwivedi’s eco-cruelty-inspired collection will assure you that geometric lines and handcrafted textures can give a completely different spin to classic silhouettes like fit and flare. The clean, simple designs of Chamar Studio and Bodice are a lesson in intelligent garment construction and innovative use of colors.
One of the highlights of the Lakme Fashion Week in association with FDCI was the Anavila Showcase. It showcased the simplicity and intricacy of the saree
Such experiments with silhouettes, or innovative play with textiles and embroidery are missing from many shows at Fashion Week. I feel endless lazy round lehenga choliA boring collection of familiar coordinate sets followed. Where’s the magic? Fashion has the ability to lift our spirits even in the darkest of times. It can allow us to show a new side of our personality while still being ourselves. It can be fun, liberating and exciting.
India is one of the few countries that retains its strong connection with its traditional crafts, which find a place in contemporary fashion. The Indian fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar one and global brands and luxury houses are acknowledging what Indian artisans bring to the table. Unfortunately, this play of past, present and future just didn’t happen at our biggest fashion week.
While commercial advantage is a good enough reason to stick to familiar designs and styles, it should not be an excuse to stop experimenting. Yes, it’s important for designers to stay true to their DNA and look to their archives to create new creations, but at the same time, they also need to push their design vocabulary to create something that stands out in a market full of clothing. Is.
I don’t know why Mumbai Fashion Week was largely unimaginative in terms of presentations. I know fashion and film industry need each other, and being a showstopper helps in getting extra likes and clicks. But in the race to find a celebrity to close a show, let us not forget that the star of any fashion show is always the clothes. The producers, the models, the sets, the locations, everything else is what the supporting actors make up.