MUMBAI: The glamour and glitz of Bollywood was such that it kind of shifted the focus from couture to star quotient at the just concluded HDIL-India Couture Week. But industry experts are not complaining and claim filmstars are premium consumers of high-end designs and that the event does provide an ideal platform for designers to reach out to wider audiences.
"Fashion week coverage is much better than the coverage a designer gets through any other medium. So it is a bigger platform any day," designer Shahab Durazi told IANS.
"It is a misnomer that couture doesn't bring business to a designer. To be very frank, the real couturiers earn more from their couture line and get better returns," he added.
This was the third edition of HDIL-India Couture Week (HDIL-ICW) that ran Oct 6-10. It was organised by apex fashion body Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), and Sunil Sethi, its president, feels fashion and Bollywood go hand-in-hand especially when it is a couture show.
"Couture means high-end garments and the presence of Bollywood stars can't be ruled out because they form a major chunk of couture buyers. All these garments are custom made and a lot of them place their orders after watching a show," said Sethi.
"So you can't rule out the presence of Bollywood stars," he added.
Fashion critique and former Miss India Meher Castelino doesn't agree with Sethi. She feels Bollywood forms a small market for these couturiers and a designer still has to reach out to the bigger market and most of them are not present at the fashion weeks.
She blames media pressure for Bollywood presence at the event.
"You see, in the race of TRPs these media houses need some reason to cover a fashion show and Bollywood stars fits into the bill completely. How many times have you watched the coverage of a fashion show that doesn't have a star in it?"
"Television media won't cover a show if there is no Bollywood star, hence a designer is forced to involve a celebrity in his show. I have seen so many shows where clothes have taken over a Bollywood star, but who cares?"
But Castelino agreed that designers collaboration with Bollywood celebrities gives them so much of mileage and coverage that would not be possible otherwise.
"When designers are seen next to a Bollywood star, their value and creative portion goes up. We are very new in fashion so we are using these means, but in another 10 years, everyone will realise that fashion cannot just survive on Bollywood. There has to be some substance in clothes as well."
During the five-day fashion extravaganza, eight designers showcased their creations along with a couture jewellery show and Salman's Khan "Being Human" show. During the entire event, Bollywood stars were omnipresent.
Bollywoood extravaganza was prominent at Karan Johan and Varun Bahl's show as well as the couture jewellery show and in Salman Khan's "Being Human" show.
Hindi film megastar Amitabh Bachchan and heartthrob Hrithik Roshan teamed for Karan's show and they even pulled Shah Rukh Khan from the audience and revived the memories of the hit movie "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" - certainly, the perfect material for the shutterbugs.
A bevy of Bollywood beauties scorched the ramp for Salman's show. When Sushmita Sen, Rani Mukherji, Katrina Kaif, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra, Bispasha Basu, Karishma and Kareena Kapoor marched on the ramp - it not only added zing to the show, but satiated the audiences and star starved cameras.
Designer Manish Malhotra managed to put Aishwarya Rai on the ramp almost after 15 years on the opening day of the couture week. While she sashayed down the runaway, her hubby Abhishek Bachchan and mother-in-law Jaya Bachchan cheered for her fromt the guest gallery.
Bollywood beauties Malaika Arora Khan, Sonakshi Sinha and a few others walked the ramp for couture jewellery show.
Arjun Rampal came for Shahab Durazi, Anushka Sharma for Rina Dhaka and Abhay Deol for Arjun Khanna.
The only two shows where there was no celebrity was of Rohit Bal and Dubai-based designer Ayesha Dipala.
The third edition of the couture week was an improved version in terms of ambiance with crème curtains adorning the make-shift venue, artificial flowers hanging from the ceilings and huge rectangular mirrors finding their places outside the lounge areas and the main show area (MSA).
But one thing that bugged people was the delay - though every designer was given 24 hours to put up their sets, the shows were never on time.
This time, none of the designers showed a bridal line on the runaway.
While Manish stuck to his favourite chiffons and nets and presented a contemporary line of lehengas and anarkalis, Rohit Bal showcased a detailed line of Persian-inspired magical collection Khakastri that had well-cut long jackets.
Shahab and Monisha Jaising showcased a smart and chic line of women's evening wear whereas Karan Johar with Varun Bahl and Arjun Khanna presented a stylish collection of men's line.
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