In October 2001, in the pages of MW, fashion writer Farhad J. Dadyburjor had lamented on the emptiness of his job and his inability to be part of the air-kissing crowd. As Lakmé Fashion Week commences again, we can confirm that little has changed in the intervening two decades.
There are things that you know, and then there are those that come to you in the nicotine light of the hotel ballroom. You sit there in your creasing workday glory, boxed in by the arms of your seat, quickly scanning the crowd of celebrity front-rowers, good-lookers, big spenders, page-three fillers and the scattering of low-lives, and then it begins to dawn on you: Nobody can just be somebody anymore. For if you’ve attended the constant blitzkrieg of fashion events, you’ll realise that it has a mutating effect on the people who ceaselessly attend them. It’s like they’re no longer who they are, should be, or used to be. It’s like they’ve all been ordered to go out shopping and come back with borrowed pretensions.
Point to note—wearing big sunnies and sitting in the front row. While this speaks of a lack of fashion acumen, as those with the know-how will tell you that front-row seats only offer a knee-deep view with our elevated rampways, jarring us with your reflective shimmer is really unwarranted. Besides, doesn’t it beat the entire purpose? Aren’t you ironically showing a lack of vision, which will have you leaving the show wondering (duh!) why the designer’s collection was entirely doused in shades of black, red, or blue? For better results, try this at an art gallery.
If you’ve attended the constant blitzkrieg of fashion events, you’ll realise that it has a mutating effect on the people who ceaselessly attend them. It’s like they’ve all been ordered to go out shopping and come back with borrowed pretensions.
Yes, I hear you—not everyone who comes to fashion shows is interested in seeing the clothes. And the few who are or pretend to—like maybe you, me and that bad fashion writer with the big hairdo—are far busier gawking at celebrities in designer wear than noting the ones on the ramp. You see, what’s happened of late is that local celebrities have displaced the models—with their wee bit more intelligence, lot more cellulite, and larger amounts of leisure cash (and time). So, what if, at their very best, they’re considered funny, peculiar and very ha-ha? And who cares if they clap at inopportune times and chew gum like bratty school-going kids—as they might readily turn around and tell you, their surname can bash up your surname. As for that other small percentage that falls into the illuminating slot of ‘special invitees’ (read Consul Generals and Captains of Industry), you know they’re there either to schmooze, spot, show their support, or cleavage watch. One look at this privileged lot, and you’re drawn to say, “Excuse me sir, but your yawn just touched the floor.”
Yes, I hear you—not everyone who comes to fashion shows is interested in seeing the clothes. And the few who are or pretend to are far busier gawking at celebrities in designer wear than noting the ones on the ramp.
And then, there’s that hardest nut of all to crack. That darn thing that’s always seen but never heard: air-kissing. I mean, how does one go about it without being subjected to an embarrassingly awful lipstick-lashing? Do you just put cheek to cheek, pucker your lips and actually kiss the cheek? And if you so daringly kiss it, is it supposed to be a peck, a snog or a downright naughty nibble? I don’t know, but “Hello, Clarice” might be an avoidable opener if you’re planning on trying the last. Hold on. Does anyone know which puss-faced dork invented this practice? One of those cosmetic giants trying to market their ghastly new line of rouge and lip colour, or some ugly adolescent kid who thought it a wicked way of trying to spread her ripe acne?
Of course, eventually, none of this will really ever matter. Just like it is common knowledge that designers dress far better than the clothes they produce, so is it largely acknowledged that the fashion world can be stridently fluffy, philosophically flimsy and full of whimsy. So whatever one writes or says, be assured that the fashion junta will gladly rise up and do it again: Grovelling like hounds to get those trinkety invites, tediously dressing up to look dressed down, wading through thunderous traffic and sheets of rain, politely smiling, nervously laughing, giving the ‘thumbs up’—and then the quick volte-face—bitching it out the moment it’s all over. In fact, if anything, it’s the last that makes it all seemingly worthwhile —more than enough for some to wake up the morning after and autopress ‘replay’. Which reminds me—didn’t I mention? I better run now, ten minutes to the show. Thanks for listening, daahling! *Puch, Puch*
This story first appeared in MW magazine in October 2001 (Issue 20).
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