Dazzling models walked down the ramp for top designers at Lakme Fashion Week 2018. Whether showcasing ethnic khadis and silks or western edgy looks, each show offered something special to the audiences. However, it wasn’t just the new fashion trends that one saw at the five-day extravaganza this year. Another trend that could be seen in most of the fashion shows was the lack of a showstopper.
While the likes of Kangana Ranaut, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon and Saif Ali Khan dazzled the audiences for some of the shows, several renowned designers and brands, including Gaurang Shah, Naushad Ali, Rara Avis, Rajendra Pratap Singh and 431-88 by Shweta Kapur chose to forego a showstopper altogether. Though the reasons varied from designer to designer, one fact becomes clear — none of these designers feel the need for a well-known face to sell their brand.
“It’s true that when you have a face to put to your collection, you have much greater media coverage. However, unless I can think of a showstopper who absolutely blends with the concept of my show, I prefer not to take one,” says Gaurang. “Many of my colleagues and management team members told me to take on a showstopper this year. But I had a concept in my head, which included a dancer and a baithak. A showstopper didn’t go along with it.”
While Gaurang rejected the idea of a showstopper after much consideration, Rajendra says that he never even gives a thought to whether he should put a face to his collections. “I never think about these things. If a sponsor or organiser of a fashion show requires a well-known face as a showstopper, then I might ask an actress. Otherwise, I just concentrate on the collection,” he shrugs.
Having a well-known face as your showstopper does have its benefits. “Fashion is aspirational and people want to dress like their favourite celebrity. It helps the brands’ popularity amongst clients. Celebrities who wear 431-88 help us reach our target audience and create recognition in places we normally wouldn’t have the reach,” Shweta confesses.
However, that doesn’t mean that all of her shows need to have a showstopper. Indeed, in the rush to see a celeb’s face, we often forget what the show is about — the clothes. “I feel fashion shows should be more about the clothes. The trend of showstoppers tends to take attention away from the clothes. We like to dress celebrities who fit the vibe of the brand and it’s ethos and if that doesn’t work out then its not something we focus on,” Shweta explains.
Although celebrities add a glam factor to any outfit, it is ultimately for regular people that the designs are created. Keeping this in mind, Naushad says that a showstopper actually goes against the ethos of his brand. “Even if I do have a showstopper for a show, it doesn’t have to be a well-known Bollywood star. At Lakme specifically, I concentrated on making each of my designs perfect instead of creating a design that a showstopper could sport,” he says.
Ultimately, it is confidence in the brand that gives a designer the courage to forego a showstopper. Gaurang incidentally had not used a showstopper for his 2017 winter collection, choosing to have Shubha Mudhgal croon for the show instead. And the collection sold out before the show started.
He says, “I had enough confidence in my collection to showcase it without a celebrity. Even if we didn’t get a lot of media coverage, I knew that the show would make an impact. And I’ve had rave results online and on social media. It’s all about having confidence in your collection!”