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The runway rage: What makes Bollywood stars turn showstoppers

Bollywood A-listers routinely lend their glamour to runways — be it for friendship, or a good cause. The recently concluded fashion week was no different. What makes this marriage click?

The fashion industry and Bollywood have always looked out for each other. It’s not suprising then that a host of glamorous A-listers routinely take to the ramp as showstoppers. In the recently concluded Amazon India Couture Week and India International Jewellery Week, we saw Chitrangada Singh, Juhi Chawla, Aditi Rao Hydari and Kangana Ranaut headstart or fold up collections. With the Mumbai Fashion Week coming up, here’s a round-up of actors who do the best job at moonlighting as models and what it takes to rope them in.

(L-R) Bipasha Basu, Lauren Gottlieb, designer Rocky S, Shriya Saran and Dia Mirza
(L-R) Bipasha Basu, Lauren Gottlieb, designer Rocky S, Shriya Saran and Dia Mirza

Rocky S

Riteish Deshmukh


The trend

We have no rules while choosing a showstopper. It's usually a star who can carry off a silhouette effortlessly. Yes, star power counts and most actors have a strong stage presence anyway.

The moolah
We designers love to pamper our showstoppers in any way we can. Also, when it comes to charity, most members of the industry are more than willing to walk for a cause.

The pros
It’s difficult to pick a few since so many of them have powerful personalities. Sonam Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut, Arjun Rampal, Deepika Padukone and Bipasha Basu stand out.

Neeta Lulla

Priyanka Chopra with designer Neeta Lulla

Priyanka Chopra with designer Neeta Lulla

The trend

An actor walking the ramp creates buzz. It also helps raise the aspiration factor of the show since these are faces that the audience is familiar with on screen.
The moolah
I have been fortunate to have been part of the industry for over 350 films and many fashion weeks. There is a synergy between actors, designers, and film and fashion. Goodwill is built over time, and I have managed to do it. So, often money isn’t the concern.
The pros
Speaking of who looks best on ramp, I can’t come up with a single name. Several actors add wonderful glamour to a show.

Raghavendra Rathore

Designer Raghavendra Rathore with Anil Kapoor
Designer Raghavendra Rathore with Anil Kapoor

The trend
Without losing focus on the collection, if the flair of entertainment and association with Bollywood is woven into the presentation, I see it as a perfect union of two genres.

Chitrangada Singh
Chitrangada Singh

The moolah
The opportunity of exposure for the star, and the chance for the design house to showcase their outfits through a glamourous name are a mutually beneficial arrangement. But if there are big sponsors involved, it is perfectly acceptable to offer a token amount to the celebrity. 

Kangana Ranaut
Kangana Ranaut

The pros
Stars that can carry off the clothes or the vision of the designer and make good models. But, it is up to the creative house to dress the star appropriately, keeping  the show and audience in mind. Anil Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh, Arjun Rampal, Dia Mirza, Abhishek Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan look good on ramp.

Shruti Sancheti
Designer Shruti Sancheti with models
Designer Shruti Sancheti with models

The trend
The trend gets more popular season after season. Instead of relying on A-listers, designers choose faces from across genres. This gets the designer media and public attention and helps elevate them to another level.

The moolah factor
Still, I’d say, models do maximum justice to garments. With their poise, confidence, grace and body type, they enhance the garments. As far as my experience goes, it is mostly a barter system and dressing the actors up for various occasions.

The pros
Deepika Padukone, Lisa Haydon, Nargis Fakhri and Kriti Sanon are stunning. They are all tall and lend grace to an ensemble.

Amy Billimoria

Shilpa Shetty
Shilpa Shetty

The trend
The fashion scenario in India is Bollywood driven. Celebrities add an aspirational value to the brand being showcased. The common man will carry a longer and more lasting impression of an outfit sported by a celebrity than a model.

The moolah  
Several stars charge a package to walk the ramp, depending on the brand they are representing. But several of those who have walked for me have done it out of goodwill.

The pros
Celebrity showstoppers who work the oomph on the ramp are Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut.

Jyoti Sachdev Iyer

Sonam Kapoor

The trend
Using celebrities is a great way to showcase a collection because celebrities in India, Bollywood faces especially, have a huge following.  India has mastered the art of marketing as far as fashion shows are concerned.

The moolah
Nothing comes for free. And not everyone has celebrity best friends who will walk the the ramp as a favour. To show their gratitude, designers give away anything from an envelope with a cheque that carries a number of 0s or stilettos with red soles.
The pros Well, my personal favorites are those who started their career on ramp like Arjun Rampal and Lisa Haydon.

Masumi Mewawalla

Arjun Rampal
Arjun Rampal

The trend
The trend has existed for a while and it helps to bag more viewership during a show. Besides, the audience relates better to actors than models.

The moolah
Remuneration whether in cash or kind exists but more as a way of saying thanks. Also, over a period of time, designers develop a bond with actors, so getting them to walk isn’t all that tough.

The pros
Kiara Advani, who walked at IIJW wearing my label, was graceful and beautiful.

Abhishek Bachchan
Abhishek Bachchan

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