Decoding fashion at the Lakme Fashion Week

Aug 24, 2014, 08:44 IST | Nikshubha Garg and Deepali Dhingra

After attending the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014 for the first time, Nikshubha Garg and Deepali Dhingra believe they have come closer to understanding the intricacies of couture. The duo tries to decode the hype behind one of the biggest style extravaganzas in the country

Click clack, click clack. The sound of heels fills the room as we make our way to the main stage of Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014 at Palladium Hotel. The lights, chandeliers, flash of the cameras and the glitterati reaffirm why this event is one of the most-awaited fashion events in the country. We wait outside the main area and can’t help but notice how most people seem to know each other. Soon, the room is abuzz with talk about the designers and who’s ‘showing’ what.

Models liven up the ramp while unveiling Masaba Gupta’s collection. Pic/ Pradeep Dhivar

Ramp talk
It’s the night of the opening show. At 9.30 pm, the gates open. The shutterbugs are already rushing forward to find a place to get a good angle from. We walk up slowly to the assigned media seats. With photographers trying to find the best place to click their pictures from, people armed with mobile phones trying to find the best seats and the organisers doing their best to help everyone out, the scene is one step short of being chaotic. A colleague, who’s been to innumerable shows, had warned us beforehand. “The invite says 9.30 pm but it will start at 10 pm.” It’s almost 10 pm and the scene looks far from settled. But, within a few minutes, everyone seems to have found a place. The lights dim, the venue is shrouded in silence and the music begins. The show has begun!

Amit Aggarwal helps a model with fittings ahead of his show

Our eyes are glued to the ramp, from where models showcasing designer Amit Aggarwal’s collection will walk out. The first one appears, wearing a dress that fits her snugly. She walks the ramp, tall and poised. She reaches the end of the ramp, poses for the cameras and turns around slowly, letting the audience take a good look at the outfit. And then, one by one, more models follow. We’re transfixed by their well-choreographed movements. Clearly, it takes a lot of effort for them to perfect their moves and for the designers to give finishing touches to their creations. Designer Anita Dongre, who has showcased her collections in LFW over seven times, says, “We begin work on their clothes four-five months in advance. A week before the event, we have to look into fittings, alterations, cue-sheets, co-ordinate with experts for music, hair and make-up and rehearsals. It’s an elaborate process,” she says.

Models walk the ramp for Jayesh Sachdev and Rixi Bhatia (left) PIC/SATYAJIT DESAI and Sreejith Jeevan (right) Pic/Shadab Khan

Vaishali S, who showcased her collection for the fifth time at LFW, feels that each show brings in response and encouragement, which helps every designer in the long run. “If we don’t get any feedback, we cease to be creative.

We don’t get to know where we can do better.” Then there are a few like Neha Agarwal who showcased her collection in the Gen Next category, who believe that there is no right or wrong in fashion. “It’s about going ahead with what you think is right,” she says.

The show ends, but not before actress Sushmita Sen walks out in a black outfit, confidently striding across the runway, her curls bouncing. Masaba Gupta’s show follows next, and for some more time, we’re treated to funky clothes, which we wish we could fit into. Show over, the lights are back and everyone streams out for the after-party.

Storm before the calm
Like anyone else, we’re curious to know what happens backstage and the security guard manning the entrance looks formidable enough to send any peeping Tom packing. The next day, permission taken, we step inside, and learn that the models are rehearsing on the ramp for the next show.

Unique headgears were the hero of the collection showcased by Neha Agarwal. Pic/ Satyajit Desai

But there’s no dearth of activity even without the leggy lasses. While a whole batch of makeshift booths wait for the models to arrive and change into their costumes, there is a flurry of activity at the other end. Clothes are being ironed and accessories are being readied. “Don’t pinch the dresses, you’ll crease them,” shouts out an assistant, as the helpers carry the ironed outfits to the booths. The rehearsals are over and the models head towards the hair and make-up section.

All those years of watching models sashay down the ramp on TV, looking poised and elegant, have not left us ready for what follows next. “Move out of the way!” shouts an assistant, as one by one, the models run out of their booths, skirts hiked up with their hands. And when a photographer suddenly looms forward and tries to get a model to pose for him, he’s ticked off. “What is wrong with you?” the assistant shouts irritably, “Why don’t you do my job instead? Then you’ll know!”

Backstage, we can hear the music and know the show’s already begun. A few minutes later, the models are back and running, shrugging off a jacket or unfastening a neckpiece, before they disappear inside their booth. Every second counts, as the next show is to begin in mere minutes. So before we step in their way, and invite the wrath of the assistants, we move out. But not before we appreciate the efforts of each person who works behind the scene to put across a spectacular show. Aggarwal, who showcased for the second year, is all praise for the crew too. “We are provided with a full-fledged team of professional stylists, make-up artists and backstage co-ordinators. Those are the people who make a show successful, it’s not just the clothes,” he says.

When we attended the first show at LFW, we were novices. But now, we know where to wait between shows, where the media room is and we definitely know where to head for the after-parties! So next year, when the fashion extravaganza makes its way to the city, we’ll have it all figured out.

Best of Day 4: Lakme Fashion Week with Dhara Vora

Payal Singhal has been shining bright for some time now and we couldn’t get enough of this show, too. Skirts were worn over churidars with crop tops using prints, embroideries and sheer materials. We see this one on the red carpet soon. PIC/SATYAJIT DESAI

Veteran dancer Astad Deboo opened the show for duo Monica and Karishma’s label Jade. Throughout the collection, the beautiful beaded embroidery took centre stage. PIC/SHADAB KHAN

Pranav Mishra and Shyma Shetty is a pair we look forward to every season. And they didn’t disappoint this time too. Staying true to their sporty-chic ideal, leather- finish shorts and panels of sweat pants, skirts and boxy shirts with sheer panels, there was very little to not like about the collection (though the leather garbage bag like-dresses have been done before). Pic/Shadab Khan

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