Mirror mirror on the wall...
An exclusive men's fashion fair in Bangalore indicates how serious dressing up men is becoming
The Indian male is getting quite narcissistic, spending more time in front of the mirror.
NO DOWDY yellowing T-shirt casually thrown over a pair of faded jeans for today's man. No sir. Don't even call him just a man. Uh uh! It's the turn of the metrosexual, retrosexual and whatever else that denotes a fashion-conscious man. Of men who dare to wear and bare. Of men who own more than half a dozen pairs of shoes, sunglasses, jackets, coloured belts, and wardrobes of designer and branded clothes, not to forget watches to match.
With so many men getting look-conscious, it may be a welcome move for many that happening Bangalore will host the Castle India Men's Fashion Fair from April 8 to 10. For the first time ever, those who strut the ramp will be predominantly men, will show off all the men's wear and gear. All from the drawing boards of designers and design houses who make clothes exclusively for men. Almost. We'll tell you why it's `almost', a li'l later.
Soaring men's fashion
Believe it when exclusive menswear designer Paresh Lamba, based in Bangalore, says that men's fashion in India is headed "up, up and away".
"Women have always been more concerned about the way they look. But men today are into better grooming and concerned about how they turn out," says Lamba. For good measure he adds: "When I walked into Bangalore in 1989 from Delhi, and started partying, I would see the most exquisitely dressed women in their Kancheevarams followed by the most horrendously dressed men!" Deciding that the men here needed his attention, Lamba camped in Bangalore. Since then he's seen the city's male change in leaps and bounds. "I've been proved right because look at the way I've grown," says the designer triumphantly.
Suddenly a wardrobe filled with just khakis, cargos, chinos, that suit or blazer, a sherwani, that starched white shirt for the meeting, more formal shirts and Friday dressing the weapons just don't seem enough. The Indian male is getting quite narcissistic, spending more time in front of the mirror, daring to wear pink, orange and yellow for the wild nightlife, and getting a facial done for the party or the wedding. And, as a very urban Urban Dictionary explains: "You see a stylist instead of a barber, because barbers don't do highlights!" Fashion's finally crossed barriers and gone beyond wardrobe basics and the season's must haves.
The who's who
Fashion guru Prasad Bidapa, who's presenting the three-day mega show, says: "In India 80 per cent of the fashion industry actually concentrates on men's wear. Unfortunately, it gets saddled with other segments and never gets its due prominence. Bangalore is home to some big menswear brands as well. So with this trilogy we hope the gap between the designer look and mass-wear will be bridged." The Fair will feature not just men designing for men, but a host of women designers like Namrata G., Jyoti Sachdev and Neetu (of Ravage) from Bangalore, Deepika Gehani, Anamika Khanna, Sanchita Ajampur (Italy), and Bibi Russel (Bangladesh).
Designer Namrata G. says: "I wouldn't know if women designing for men were a problem. I enjoy designing irrespective of gender. I'm inspired by the metrosexual man and the new man is a pleasure to design for."
The male brigade that will show its collection at the Fair includes the indomitable Rohit Bal, Bollywood designer Rocky S., Bangalore's own Manoviraj Khosla, Lokesh Ahuja, and Ayaz Khan. Royal designers will be there too Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar with his Royal House of Mysore Collection and Raghavendra Rathore of Jodhpur. The contingent of over 18 designers spans to include Narendra Kumar, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Vishal Mirchandani, Nirmal Mandoth and France's Jack Henry. Brands such as Allen Solly, Louis Philippe, Wearhouse, Ravage, Daks, Madura Garments and others will be on show. It's being organised by Castle Lager, and Prasad Bidapa Associates in association with Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation.
Well, the event promises to be an "all male" thing and exclusive men's fair. But what is a world without women? So women will obviously scorch the ramp alongside the men. As Bidapa says: "Of course, there can be no fashion show without women." Top models expected to participate include Rahul Dev, Zulfi Sayed, Shavar Ali, Aryan Vaid, Musamual, Hrishant Goswami and Vidisha Pavate.
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