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A pat for the fashion frat

We may think of the fashion fraternity as a privileged lot, but corporate baron and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Mallya thinks they could do with a boost too. That's why he presented a fashion awards function and ramp show to recognise talent in Delhi this past week, writes MADHUR TANKHA... .

NUMEROUS FASHION shows are held by designers to enhance their name and set the cash registers clinging but rarely does one witness philanthropy in this cutthroat business by an entrepreneur - ostensibly to give a platform to the designer fraternity. This was the underlying spirit behind organising the Kingfisher Fashion Awards by Vijay Mallya, proprietor of United Breweries and now Rajya Sabha member. To give a boost to the Indian fashion fraternity, the inimitable liquor baron decided to have the Kingfisher function in New Delhi.

"While there are 105 Bollywood awards, the fashion industry hasn't been getting that kind of recognition. Delhi has come to be a Mecca of the fashion industry. Hence the decision to hold the awards function here. This party doesn't disrespect the late Vice President as this isn't a celebratory party but an awards function to honour achievers," says Mallya.

The crème de la crème of society descended on the spacious floor of Hotel Taj Palace for the special evening. Among those present, the cynosure of all eyes was the sultry and ravishing Bipasa Basu with friend Dino Morea in tow. The couple, who were professional models and have had a meteoric rise in the Hindi film firmament, were gifted with a swanky sports car.

Female models came draped in mostly green and maroon colours. Some had their backs tattooed. Caps, jackets and trousers were of the same colour. Rahul Dev, who excels in enacting villainous roles in Bollywood blockbusters, was attired in body hugging clothes. Mumbai model Nina Manuel along with other Mumbai models sashayed down the rostrum.

Judged by eminent panelists comprising Shobhaa De, Pradeep Guha and Prasad Bidapa, 12 awards were given away at a glittering function. Tarun Tahiliani, Manoviraj Khosla and Rajesh Pratap Singh had their collections showcased by Aditi Govitrikar, Fleur Xavier, Nina Manuel, Yana Gupta, Shahwar Ali and Raghu Mukherjee. Manoviraj Khosla started off by showing his trend-setting collection, the Kingfisher signature line.

The Model of the Year award was given to Shahwar Ali, while Stylist of the Year was bagged by Michelle Ali. Well-known fashion photographer, Atul Kasbekar, who won the Photographer of the Year award, was ecstatic and thanked his "mentor Gautam Rajyadhyaksha" and his parents, "who were apprehensive that fashion photography won't lead anywhere."

Malaika Arora who sizzled while enacting a dance scene on top of a moving locomotive in A.R. Rehman's number, "Chaiyya chaiyya" was named Style Icon of the Year. Lakshmi Menon was recognised as Best Female Model of the Year.

Emphasis was given to not just garments but also accessories like shoes, stilettos, belts and jackets. As fashion incorporates hairstyle too the countenance of female models got accentuated with bleached hair. There were brunettes also but no blonds.

Shobhaa De came dressed in a resplendent blue embroidered sari, accompanied by her hubby. India Today's owner Aroon Purie accompanied by wife Rekha and Karan Thapar - who is India's answer to B.B.C's Tim Sebastian - were seen enjoying themselves at the cocktail party where flunkies with jumbo-sized prawns went from person to person. Champagne - never mind the brand - flowed freely like water. The music played was neither boisterous nor sombre but mild.

Such shows boost the adrenalin not only beginners but also of top-notch designers like Rohit Khosla and Tarun Tahiliani so that they continue to improvise in their works.

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