Deccan Chronicle

Showstopper Formula

Deccan Chronicle.| Noor Anand Chawla

Published on: August 8, 2023 | Updated on: August 8, 2023
The ladies in question included Kiara Advani in barbie core pink for the opening show by Falguni Shane Peacock.

The ladies in question included Kiara Advani in barbie core pink for the opening show by Falguni Shane Peacock.

After a nine-day extravaganza of splendour and pomp, the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) Hyundai India Couture Week 2023 in association with Reliance Brands, concluded last week. On display were collections by 16 of the best couturiers in the country — those who have been in the business for decades as well as newer names making waves in India and abroad. Drama and opulence ran high in the form of embellished clothes, creative sets,foot-tapping music, and a glittering front-row occupied with the ‘it crowd’.

The cherry on top were the slew of celebrity show stoppers that ended the shows wearing the designer’s most exclusive designs. And this is where we saw a pattern emerge.In most shows, Bollywood starlets wore the exact same silhouette with the only notable difference being the colour or fabric. The out-fit in question consisted of a shimmery or sequinned bralette or cropped top paired with a fitted floor-length shimmery skirt with a risqué thigh-high slit.

Many noticed this trend.Creative entrepreneur and con-tent creator Tarini Manch and apointed out on her Instagram stories, "I’m super invested this time and on day 7 out of 9 — I can safely say there is a trend.Bollywood showstoppers = glittery bralette + long trail skirt +high slit + ankle strap high heel."

The ladies in question included Kiara Advani in barbie core pink for the opening show by Falguni Shane Peacock, Bhumi Pednekarin beige for Varun Bahl, Shobhita Dhulipala in grey for designer duo Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna, Ananya Pandey in gold for Rimzim Dadu, and Disha Patani in silver for Dolly J.Eschewing the high slit fish tail silhouette for a voluminous lehenga skirt, but with the same kind of top was Vaani Kapoor in sparkling red for Rose Room by Isha Jajodia, Janhavi Kapoor in a deep blue for Gaurav Gupta,and Sara Ali Khan in blush pink for Shantnu & Nikhil. Seema Dhawan,writer and managing editor of digital platform, Retro pop lifestyle,agrees.

"Yes, there was a pattern we saw this time. Many of the showstoppers wore out-fits with similar elements and detailing. The trend that was most noticeable was slitted mermaid skirts and along dramatic train paired with either bralette blouses or cropped tops." One has to wonder where this show-stop-ping outfit formula came from. Is it possible that the belief that putting a famous celebrity on the run-way wearing sexy, barely-there clothing inspired by social media trends ensures commercial success? Are the designers not concerned that their designs will end up looking identical? Dhawan shares, "There is no doubt that social media is driving the demand for fashion because it’s easily accessible for everyone. It’s a direct means for designers to connect with shoppers and hence improve shopper engagement." However, she does not feel that this showstopper similarity points to a lack of creativity, as the overall collections of designers were distinctive and creative.

When asked her thoughts on this edition of India Couture Week, she says, "It was a celebration of India’s cultural heritage and traditional craftsmanship while embracing contemporary elements. Designers offered a mix of opulence and subtlety.

It indicates that fashion is not just about clothing but it’s an art form t h r o u g h innovation and progress, and there is no doubt that the designers highlighted their signature styles."

Fashion blogger Shahnaaz Khan who is passionate about Indian craft and handloom as well as timeless fashion in general, agreed with Dhawan that the India Couture Week 2023 offered a fine balance of all kinds of couture, be it bridal or avant garde.Yet, she decried the sameness of the showstoppers on the runway,saying, "I prefer traditional ethnic fashion which is elegant. For me, the andaz-e-bayan or the way you narrate the story of art or fashion, is extremely important.I found that all the showstoppers from Bollywood, wore revealing ensembles, though they may have had other options to choose from. It seems their take on Indian couture is different. The only showstopper who did justice to the foundation of Indian couture, in my opinion, was Aditi Rao Hydari, who walked the ramp for Ritu Kumar wearing a beautiful lehenga paired with a well-crafted choli. She chose a timeless piece which looked classy."

Interestingly, Khan believes that showstoppers choose their own outfits, often based on social media trends. "This isn’t a healthy practice. I believe, our Indian crafts are very beautiful,and people can showcase them even while making their outfits more global. For instance, look at Rahul Mishra and Anamika Khanna. Their work and fabrics speak for Indian art and craft. So, if designers and showstoppers are unable to be on the same page because of social media pressure,it’s disappointing for us fashion lovers."

— Noor Anand Chawla writes on lifestyle for various publications.

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