RAMPING in the rain
What's a designer to do when the hoi polloi don't know that purple is in?
Manoviraj Khosla: `European men are more fashion-conscious.' Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash
IT'S SOMETIMES dangerous to look like something the cat dragged in. Especially when you take your wet and sloppy self to a fashion discussion forum with fashion designer Manoviraj Khosla at The Oxford Bookstore in The Leela.
Many aspiring designers and students walked into the store to be part of Black Pencil, the design club launched by Oxford. Of course, the rain did play a large part in ushering in those seeking refuge from the weather's vagaries. Software student Jay, for instance, thought it was a capital idea to sit in while he dried off. Only after downing some Cha Bar (the in-store eatery) tea and veg rolls did we find out that it was going to be an interactive forum for individuals from across the design industry graphic designers, architects, ad professionals, film and food-styling experts and even book designers. Khosla was to be there to launch this club with a talk on fashion trends.
The long wait
As the wait stretched on, some weatherworn students took off their shoes, shook off their jerkins and comfortably put their feet up on the many empty chairs. Dareen sleepily mumbled: "I've heard of the term twiddling thumbs. This is the first time I've caught myself doing it!" Every time the glass doors opened, every head turned, eyes lit up with hope that Khosla had finally arrived. Press photographers walked in, sighed knowingly and busied themselves with books on photography.
As the rain let up, Khosla's team (that was there well in time, by the way) hoorayed that he would be there "in 10 minutes". So when the designer arrived two good hours later, he walked into a press conference gone wrong.
Since the folk with academic fashion queries had left "before it pours again", Khosla was left to justify the high price of fashion to the press. "Come on, it's like asking Mercedes why they make expensive cars!" he quipped, "India will never progress in the fashion industry at this rate!"
No colour palette
Unlike Milan and Paris, India, he said, had no colour palette. "If I come up with a whole range in purple, some guy will walk into the store and say, `I hate purple. So what else do you have?' They don't even know that purple is in!" Well, somebody ought to tell these fashion-unconscious folk to stop following the Budget when purple is in.
When Khosla argued that European men were more fashionable than the average machismo American, a Dutch graphic designer from the audience mentioned that gays seemed to do a lot for fashion. Spurred on, Khosla said: "Anywhere in the world, a fashion-conscious man is immediately slotted as gay. It is only in Europe and, to an extent in India, that even straight men are fashionable."
But, he carped, Indians, especially Bangaloreans, were too price-conscious. "People in Mumbai and Delhi have more spending power because they're bigger cities; Rs. 3,500 for a shirt is a pittance for them. But if the same trendy look can be achieved by scouring the export sales and little corner shops in the city, fabulous! Just don't expect the stuff to last too long... "
For the monsoon, Khosla suggested wearing cropped pants and water resistant footwear. Well, I for one am going to take that advice and start saving up for another rainy day.
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