Applause for what?
Often, I get the feeling while being at some of the fashion shows that getting applause from the audience can be a trying task for some of our fashion designers.
In fact, by now, after being a fashion writer for close to two decades, I have segregated the fashion designers in four categories.
1. Those who receive applause for their creativity.
2. Those who receive the same through prompting the applause (by their own friends and design team mostly).
3. Applause through extensive use of bling, and,
4. Bollywood stars on the runway receiving the applause on behalf of those who put them there.
Unfortunately, in India the first category is virtually non-existent. There are only a handful of designers who receive a loud applause for what they showcased on the fashion runway. At fashion weeks, there was a time when I used to go back home not very happy each night after the last show. The so-called stalwarts of the industry always came out with collections that had no substance and received loud applauses for the same from the ignorant audience who only knew them for their name printed on newspapers. Some of them still ride in the glory of their past where they had no competitions from young designers with creative minds that we have today. They still get the prime slots at fashion weeks to present the same rubbish they always present. There are exceptions to this too, but only a few. Younger lots who are now coming up are the ones who receive applause for their creativity now. They neither have the money nor contacts with the so-called celebrities. Even if they had, I doubt whether they will resort to the same tactics that their seniors in the industry resort to.
Often I hear applause coming from some corner of the show area that prompts rest of the crowd to follow. Whenever I look that side, I see a bunch of people standing there and deliberately prompting the rest to applaud a collection not even worth mopping your car with. I have a feeling this is a tactic used by the fashion designer who preempts his/her failure to impress the audience with his/her creations. I have always found this ingenious technique quite fascinating and lowered my head in shame.
Then there are those who know what the audience wants. In certain shows, they use jarring gold and silver all over the surface of their creations that receive immediate applause. It doesn’t matter if you end up looking like a Christmas tree, the loud applause will ensure that the designer is someone successful. These are those designers who can even cut to save their lives. But what the heck, applause is what makes or breaks a designer at fashion shows. Bling really makes them, even as it breaks your heart!
Of course, the best of the worst comes with contacts that make the crowd move in frenetic pace towards the show area. No matter what, they don’t want to miss this particular show. Why? Well. A-list Bollywood stars are walking the runway for this designer. It’s really sad that actors get on to the runway to save the career of a fashion designer. In a way, one shouldn’t blame the designer. The blame really should go to the media. If an actor is on the runway, even the most conservative newspaper put the photo in the paper. And that exactly is what the designer is looking for. I feel totally disappointed when I some of these actors, accomplished ones, I may add, appears in newspapers for what they are worth and not for the designer’s creativity. As for the packed halls, well the reason is rather obvious… the crowd come to see the stars and not the lousy creations they are wearing. But the designer is a happy as he hears the thunderous applause when comes to take the bow.
I just got back from the HDIL India Couture Week in Mumbai. I must confess, my ears are still blocked hearing the applause from the audience. You are right, the applause really was for the actors and I am sure they loved it too. After all, how in the world can they hear the applause when the audience is hooting and cheering while watching their latest flick in a movie hall?