Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
Are wardrobe malfunctions in fashion shows designed or accidental
HeightS of fashion Wardrobe malfunctions are usually accidents
Clothes maketh the man and also the woman. What if it doesn’t make do this at all? Then it’s called wardrobe malfunction.
The latest instance of wardrobe malfunction at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week got the visual media making capital of it. The word wardrobe malfunction gained global approval with Janet Jackson’s faux pas about four years ago.
India had its share of excitement two years ago when at the same show, a model found herself holding on to the clothes she was modelling, instead of wearing them, right on the ramp.
History repeated itself last week when at the same show, a foreign model showing designer Rajesh Pratap Singh’s clothes found herself a victim of wardrobe malfunction. The billion dollar question is: is this a ploy to get publicity?
“No, no, of course not,” asserts model-turned actor Swetha Menon. “It does happen to every model at times. When you walk on the ramp, with the music, attitude and the rhythm, you won’t even know. When I started out modelling, it happened to me twice. It was in Ooty, where I was doing the show during the mid-Nineties. They were animal print jackets of Ashish Soni. During the show, I wore the jacket outdoors and the fit was not okay, I guess, in the cold, your body tends to shrink. It came off a bit and I didn’t even realise it.When I saw the photos, I had tears in my eyes.”
The second time
The second time it was for a students’ show (NIFT) when Swetha wore a skirt. She sensed that the skirt was loose and wanted to wear something else underneath, but the student started crying because that was not part of her design.
Well, on the runway, the skirt fell down. Swetha simply picked it up and walked away, across the ramp. Of course there were flesh-coloured tights. “In those 45 seconds, you don’t know what happens, it is cruel to call it planned,” believes this actor-model.
Fashion designer Hari Anand thinks too much is read into wardrobe malfunctioning. If the shoes come off and the model carries them away, that is also wardrobe malfunction, but nobody pays attention to it.
Having the top come down is also like that, he says, a mere accident. “But these accidents can be avoided if trial fittings are meticulously done.
Usually models come down just for a day and there is no time for proper trial fittings. Lack of proper backstage management is the main reason for wardrobe malfunctioning,” feels Hari.
Hype is crucial
“Any publicity is good publicity in this business,” says Shalini James of Mantra. “The hype factor is crucial in this business. It is a fact that rarely does the content of the work count as much as the hype that surrounds it.”
Shalini wonders about the direct correlation between the hype and the sale of the entire collection.
But she sounds a note of caution, “In this industry such things are bound to happen, like accidents. Nobody plans them; they just happen. And Rajesh Pratap is a good designer; he really does not need to resort to stunts such as these for his collection to sell.” Maria Babu, a designer adds, “During events like these, the backstage is chaotic and it is perfectly normal for such situations to happen. But in the Indian context, one has to be cautious because they don’t go down too well.”
But given the proclivity of the media to lap up anything that smells of a controversy, one has to be careful what is put up on stage.
“The designer has to be careful about the fittings…everything before a show,” says Maria.
One of the bigger fashion shows in the country, which the whole fashion fraternity waits for every year, now seems incomplete without some kind of malfunctioning, whether it is wardrobe or a design, or whether it is designed malfunctioning.
(With inputs from Shilpa Nair Anand)
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