Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Lessons from LIFW, 2005

Disclaimer: I'm not a fashion person.

I don't know what the next hot colour for the season will be, nor the going trend in the sequined world of hemlines and necklines. I don't even know the names of the new models anymore; it's too tiresome to bother finding out.

But I did go to the Lakme India Fashion Week, on the last day, and caught the 'grand finale' show. Why did I go at all? Because filmmaker friends beckoned. Also, I was curious. I've attended fashion shows, but nothing at any of the previous LIFWs.

So, I sneaked in. And when I say 'sneak', I mean it. It was a very cloak-n-dagger affair, since I hadn't bothered to acquire a media pass (I hadn't done so because I had no intention of covering the event and I know that our magazine would never publish anything about LIFW ... unless, and this is a very remote possibility, President Chavez was chief guest at the Grand Finale, instead of Shahrukh Khan, or if someone dedicated a designer collection to Che Guevara or was inspired to create a Fidel Castro line... but like I said, a very remote possibility).

Since I didn't have a media pass, and it was the media and only the media - and of course, special corporate invitees - who were allowed to enter ('photographers and camera crews first, no camera assistants allowed'), one of my friends who did have a pass (colour-coded green, for media), though she is not a journalist - actually, most of those who entered on media passes were not journalists, and those who were journalists, often didn't have passes in their own names - very generously gave it to me, saying "Oh, I've seen plenty..."

All we had to do was wait for a slight diversion - a very, very old man, leaning heavily on a walking stick, trying to climb stairs and arguing with the security guards - and slip in, flashing the green colour code. Nobody bothered to look at the photo on the card.

[I think there's a potentially-booming business opportunity at future LIFWs. A color-xerox stall set up just outside the venue, a few talented forgers, transparent cellotape - to restore torn invitation cards, so they can be reused by invite-less juntaa, and a vending machine that supplies you with rude-witty things to say to snooty people who are making themselves obnoxious.]

The organisers, by the way, were being exceptionally rude to some of the mediapeople, who had been patiently queueing up outside, for almost an hour.

I personally think that the media would do well to boycott a couple of high-profile events - maybe one whole LIFW - to put the organisers in their proper place. And to teach supercilious PR hoity-toities a very basic lesson - when you invite mediapeople, you treat them like GUESTS, not like they were dumb animals who will 'sit' when you yell 'sit'.

I should not comment upon the collections at the Grand Finale, by Varun Bahl and Monisha Jaisingh (ok, I have to say this - why did Ms Jaisingh have thick, long-sleeved coats and jackets, and satin-brocade pants, as part of a 'Summer Collection'? Somebody tell her that Indian summers necessitate tiny quantitites of white muslin, and nothing else).

I did learn a few lessons at that show, though.

1] I finally know what mommy meant when she said, "They're clotheshorses, baby. And they get paid... you needn't bother."

2] I also finally understand what my aunt in Lucknow meant when she said, "No one wants to touch a skeleton... Eat!"
Thin was not very attractive, off the ramp. Even on the ramp, I thought, there was something to be said for flesh. Just a little bit of weight, a few undeniable curves... that's the stuff a turn-on is made of. Katrina Kaif's butt. Yana Gupta's bust. Case in point.

3] Find your own gait to swing by. Imitation is graceless.

4] Don't look down your nose, on the ramp, unless you have a nose like Nina Manuel's.

5] Don't walk with an out-thrust pelvis, unless your hips don't exist, like Shivani Kapur's.

6] DON'T slouch.

7] Don't bother trying to look like Sheetal Mallar. Just... don't bother.

8] Don't wear stilletoes unless you've had 100 hours of practice. And don't wear knee-length boots. Only Carol Gracious ought to be allowed to wear those.

9] Don't wear flimsy designer-wear if you're a mediaperson at LIFW. You end up looking SO wannabe.

10] If you are a woman and you weigh more than 80 kilos, do NOT wear flowing black tops with uneven hems; SLAP the next designer who tells you that black pants will make you look slimmer. Nothing will make you look slimmer.
However, if you want to get noticed (and don't we all?), then flaunt it, fat and all... Hey, you can only flaunt what you've got, right? And believe me, in a sea of skeletons, it's flesh that stands out.


Suhail said...

:)) Nice account Annie. Your narration makes me feel as if I was in that hall. Very good, and it's very pacy The whole piece has a very ghapaa-ghap(can't get approp.Eng word here) feel to it. I like it :)
btw, look at it this way: At the end of it all you seemed to have got not just names but even prominent features/nuances of quite a few(7, 8..10..??) models.

& this line really had me in splits:

"SLAP the next designer who tells you that black pants will make you look slimmer.."

It's funny because it's SO true.

Janaki said...

hey babe! thats a super account.. its reads a little like fashion correspondent meets serious journo but am sure both wont like the description..

is ur rajdhani pc inspired from the 53 station journey..?

livinghigh said...

LIFW... hum... much ado abt nothing?

I miss de rajdhani. hope to see it again in june, when i travel to delhi! yay!

Anonymous said...


Vijayeta said...

Hey Annie,
Was surfing and found this. Didnt even know it was yrs till i saw the bits that gave u (and us) away ;) And then i saw yr name!! Just one question, is the woman weighing more than 80 kilos wearing flimsy black, who i think she is? Saniya...?

Annie Zaidi said...

yes, vej, it was. i mean, rather obvious, wot? ;p

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