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Learnings from Mysore Fashion Week

Sathya Saran  (click here to know more about this blogger)

"It was only the second in the city, and one did not expect much, but it proved to be a great learning experience," reviews Femina's Former Editor and Harper Collins Publishers India's Consulting Editor Sathya Saran.

"As I sat in the front row at CKC (short for C Krishnaiyah Chetty and Sons) Fashion Week, it was inevitable that comparisons with other such events watched from a similar position should arise in my mind. As the three-day affair rolled on, the comparisons piled up. And the mix of impressions was quite interesting, because there were some that were good and quite some that were bad. So here they are, the good, the bad and the avoidable of Mysore Fashion Week, held recently at, of course you guessed it, Mysore.

The Bad

1. Student Shows. While applauding the intent behind giving student shows a platform to strut their stuff to an audience that goes beyond starry eyed parents and anxious teachers, I must add that some quality control is a must. Next time can some designer should be called in to mentor, edit and channelise the creative energies of the student designers, so that they do not show stuff that hurts the eyes as much as it offends the sensibilities of anyone with a sense of style. Student shows need not be a mishmash of what look like jugaad styles, and rehashed garments, with threads trailing from and creases streaking across some of the garments. It reflects poorly on the institution they represent. And if the teachers do not know better, it might help to call in someone who does. 

2. Indo west drapes. Being held as it was in Mysore, it was evident that many designers had tried to mix the sari drape with a western silhouette. Which translated as pleated sari or dupatta lengths tucked into pants, or crinkled and stuffed into a loop at the waist. Variations were many, and I am not sure if the results of the endeavours would have made the Master of Drapes, Tarun Tahiliani proud, or droop in dismay. More alarming was the thought that struck me as I watched the cell phone cameras at work… that the owners of the phones would try to emulate the styles at the next page-three-worthy do! 

The Good

1. To give organisers their due, the event ran smoothly, and almost close to the schedule. Late starts were covered up by shorter waiting times between shows, which helped all round as the pre-function space was really small and an absence of seat numbers ensured everyone tried to stay as close to the entrance as possible. The music was interesting and off beat, and the choreography was routine and not overtly slow. So far, so good.

2. Some good design ideas that were thrown up bear mention. Yogesh Chaudhary's kimono style tops on shirts, a trench coat with a peekaboo window at the back over a sari... definitely cutting edge. Also deserving a thumbs up were Sanjukta Dutta's variations on the mekhala chaddor of Assam. Using a variety of silks and embroideries and weaves, and draping the chaddor like the South Indian half-sari, she sent out enough variations to excite the fancy of the traditionalists who would like to experiment within their world of drapes. Jewelled blouses and cholis were quite the thing. From crystal to pigeon egg-sized stones in jewel colours, there was enough decoration on upper-wear to pique audience interest. Designer Almaz Sayed wins my vote for her innovative thinking in this category. As does Deepali 'Peppermint' Shah for the fishtail skirted stitched sari. And a word about the grand finale by designer Jayanti Balal. Watching the parade of beautiful silks with gorgeously worked and embellished pallaus float past, I felt at last, that I was in Mysore. Where culture was articulated in fine silk and exquisitely wrought jewellery. The Peta prelude did not quite match the show, but considering that the finale has the biggest crowd attending, was possibly justified. 

3. The amazing difference good choreography makes. Most shows were fast paced and clean. Designer Ashok Maaney's royal costume drama took a leisurely pace but the clothes warranted it, and the set up was interesting enough not to pall. But the seduction evident in Achla Sachdev's choreography of Mona Shroff's show of semi precious jewellery was a scene stealer, even if it was a reported repeat from her Bombay show.

The Avoidable

1.  Crowded foyers, halls. Obviously, or at least as rumour had it, 3,000 invites were sent out for what was at best 500 seats. The last few shows over the weekends were a riot, with people in their Sunday best pushing and shoving to storm the gates. Result: a stifling wait, a jam-packed hall, and shows running on till late into the night. Also seven shows in three hours or so is a recipe for brain death.

2. Dressing up for a fashion show! Sad commentary on Mysore's sense of fashion. Most attendees made a supreme effort to dress fashionably and seemed to have abandoned all sense of style. How much nicer the statement would have been if made in the glorious silks and crepes the city is famed for.

3. Showstoppers. They are so so passé. Please, can we start looking at collections instead of the one celeb who wears the last garment in a show and walks hesitantly all the way up and down the ramp? 

And so, now for the last word. The sponsoring jewellers came up trumps. Their jewellery was beautifully showcased, often outshining the garments. And such was their confidence in their craft and creations that they allowed other jewellers to walk their stuff on the ramp. Mona Shroff who showed semi precious jewellery was of course no competition, but Upasana Mehta who embellished Deepali Shah's collection had pretty real jewellery which could steal away a few customers from the sponsors. A round of applause to the CKC spirt of fair competition!"

 

THE GOOD Yogesh Chaudhary; Jayanti Balal; Sanjukta Dutta
 
THE BAD some quality control is a must at student shows
 
THE AVOIDABLE Can we look at collections instead of showstoppers walking hesitantly up and down the ramp?
 
14-SEPTEMBER-2015
 
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