Mumbai: Lakme Fashion Week finale shifted abruptly after MNS threat

The fashion show was to take place at Dr Bhau Daji Lad museum in Byculla, but was shifted to a Lower Parel hotel at the last moment after an MNS leader allegedly threatened to protest

When the organisers of the Lakme Fashion Week announced that they would host the finale at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Byculla, the city’s fashion fraternity hailed it as a move that would not only boost the museum’s popularity, but would also result in an alternative public space being used for an international event.

Workers took apart and packed the entire set up at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Byculla after the venue for the fashion week’s finale was abruptly shifted yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Workers took apart and packed the entire set up at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Byculla after the venue for the fashion week’s finale was abruptly shifted yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble

With merely hours to go for the show, however, the organisers hurriedly changed the venue to a city hotel, after an MNS leader allegedly threatened to launch a protest against the show. The five-day Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2015 was to wind up last night with the final show by the Kolkata-based designer Anamika Khanna at 9 pm at the Byculla museum.

With hours to go, organisers had to set up the show all over again at the Palladium Hotel in Lower Parel. The rehearsals were held in the hotel lobby. Pic/Satyajit Desai
With hours to go, organisers had to set up the show all over again at the Palladium Hotel in Lower Parel. The rehearsals were held in the hotel lobby. Pic/Satyajit Desai

But around 4.30 pm, media professionals covering the event were alerted through a text message that the venue had been shifted to Palladium Hotel in Lower Parel instead. The hotel was the venue partner for the event and most of the fashion shows were held there through the five days. There were to be only three off-site shows for collections by Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Manish Malhotra and Anamika Khanna, of which the last was shifted.

The official statement issued by Lakme Fashion Week (a property of IMG Reliance) read, “We have moved the venue of the grand finale of Lakme Fashion Week Summer /Resort 2015 from Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum back to Palladium Hotel due to unforeseen circumstances. The decision was taken keeping in mind the interests of all stakeholders. We are confident of a great finale like every season.”

According to a museum trustee, Byculla corporator Samita Naik’s husband, Sanjay Naik (also an MNS leader) had gone to the museum premises and threatened to take another 300 people there to protest against the show. “It’s a terrible thing to happen for a political party to disrupt a major event in a city of international standards. He (Sanjay) is not some kind of a moral police for everybody.

Anamika’s collection was celebrating Indian garments and was not immoral. This stance of the party is equivalent to telling women to stay home and not to step out,” said Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, managing trustee and honorary director of the museum.

However, MNS leader Sanjay Naik said that the organisers had decided to shift the venue of their own accord. He said that, according to regulations, the museum could only be used for non-commercial purposes and so was not a suitable venue for the fashion show. “The Bhau Daji Lad Museum can hold workshops and other things that are not commercial in nature.

Also, as per our information, the BMC hadn’t given permission for any show there. We informed the organisers and even before we could protest, they cancelled the show,” he added. His explanation did not pass muster with the museum authorities, however. “This last-moment protest is pointless; so many people were employed for this event.

They (MNS) are just trying to sabotage the museum. This was a fundraiser and not a random fashion event; the museum was getting R2 lakh from the organisers. We hold workshops for people of all age groups, and the young fraternity of the city involved in fashion is an equal part of city community,” protested Mehta.

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