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2009: A year for Fashion Week overkill

Last updated on: December 30, 2009 18:39 IST

2009: A year for Fashion Week overkill


Bhaskar Pant

Fashion weeks are usually preceded with a buzz among the fashionistas and the industry but year 2009 saw so many of them in the country that it almost snatched away the exclusiveness of the gala outings. 

The dust in the Indian fashion fraternity raised by a parallel fashion week along with the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) a year ago finally settled. However, the fashion world got more and more decentralised with few takers
for the multiplying number of fashion weeks.

"There has definitely been an overkill and I am not sure that there will be much business for the large number of
fashion weeks," fashion designer Ritu Kumar told PTI.

If the second edition of the Kolkata Fashion Week was a dismal show, the debut of Bangalore Fashion Week and the
Hyderabad Fashion Week faded as soon as they emerged on the fashion scene.

"There is a difference between city-wise fashion weeks and a national fashion week. Those weeks are just a glamour
and party event that does not end up in any major orders at all. Our fashion weeks are B2B events where people have to pay for their stall," Sunil Sethi, president, Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) told PTI.

"They do bring awareness but they should be called a fashion event not a fashion week as the participation is very
erratic," he added.


The men steal the show

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However, a glimmer of hope came with the 'Van Heusen India Men's Week', a first of its kind fashion week in the
haute couture history that was dedicated to explore opportunities in the burgeoning market of men's fashion.

Achieving considerable success in it's debut, it led to India becoming only the fourth country to hold an all-men
fashion week after London, New York and Paris.

Trend wise, innovation became the key for both the old horses and the greenhorns as they played with a variety of
themes in their collections.

India's tryst with fashion weeks may have happened just a decade back, but designers have learnt how to surprise
their audiences, be it a dress with our PM Manmohan Singh emblazoned on it or a collection inspired by World War II.

Couturists brought the Macedonian era come alive, blended Indo-Chinese culture magnificently and provided an icing on the cake by giving the 'Indian Saree' a unique turn to be worn over jeans in a bid to make it more catchy for
the next generation.

Image: Salman Khan showstopped for designer Ashish N Soni's grand finale.
Photographs: Courtesy PR Pundit
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Stars dot the ramp

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The year did start on a note of pessimism with orders being cancelled or reduced Internationally and on the domestic
front payments were being extended. However, with the wedding season things now have improved especially for couturists," Sethi said.

Fashion weeks also saw stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sreedevi and Sushmita Sen lending
Bollywood glamour to the fashion world. 

However, it was difficult to point out whether fashion was using Bollywood or the stars were using the runway to
promote their films.

The debate still goes on, but the showstopper for the fashion world was Sanjana Jon's 'starry' show at the WIFW that
featured celebrity siblings including Salman Khan-Sohail Khan, Sushmita Sen-Rajiv Sen, Riya Sen-Raima Sen and Amaan Ali Khan-Ayaan Ali Khan.

Sanjana, sister of celebrity Indian-American fashion designer Anand Jon, had organised the show in support of her
brother Anand Jon, who has been sentenced for 59 years of imprisonment in the US for multiple sexual abuse cases. But her debut at the runway raised some eyes over her credentials as a fashion designer.

Image: Sushmita Sen showstopped for Vikram Phadnis at Lakme Fashion Week.

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How much is too much?

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The year ended with a 'Gurgaon' edition of the first-ever India International Fashion week which saw fashion designers from countries including UK, US, Tanzania, Canada, Pakistan, France, Denmark, China, Italy, Peru rubbing shoulders with their Indian counterparts.

"It's been a good year since all of us came together but there's just one fashion week for me and that's the WIFW," Rohit Bal said at the Chivas Studio.

"In the coming year we are looking for a better link-up with the textile ministry and hoping for them to give fashion world an industry status. We also want to take fashion forward by catching up with niche markets and a special focus will be on International fashion, from Japan to Paris," Sethi said.

There might have been no 'wardrobe malfunctions' this time around, but with the Chennai Fashion Week coming to an end and the Pune Fashion Week and a fashion week for Goa to be held soon, one wonders whether the fashion world malfunctioned in making fashion available to one and all.

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