I can’t remember the last time I watched a fashion show. This might sound strange coming from the digital editor of a fashion magazine, but it’s true and I know exactly whom to blame.
Thanks to 174 grams of engineering wizardry that sticks closer to me than my own shadow, I experience fashion shows in the same way that you do – through a screen. Not being smitten by the lush embroidery of an artisan who probably pulled a muscle putting 500 French knots on three square inches of fabric. No, I’m concentrating on the right angle to capture the garment and whether to post it now or wait until noon and if I replied to that urgent email from my editor and why the God of WiFi hates me. If you asked today – even an hour after the show — which runway look really stood out, I’d probably have to scroll through the photo album to tell you.
This is not a sign of early dementia. Some of the coolest, most inspiring moments I’ve ever had the privilege to witness happened at fashion week. Being completely blown away by a young genius named Varun Sardana who put models in Kathakali make-up and stripped away the seats (front row included) for a fully immersive visual spectacle. Watching Jesse Randhawa inspire a sexual awakening as she prowled down the ramp in a skintight Suneet Varma catsuit. Joining in a standing ovation as a brave Carol Gracias returned to the ramp for the final walk — embodying dignity and professionalism — despite having just suffered a wardrobe malfunction.
Sadly, it’s not just the runway shows that have fallen prey to the Curse Of The Cellphone. It’s the parties, too.
10 years ago, fashion week parties were legendary. I remember sneaking into the Lakme Fashion Week after-party (when India had only one fashion week and all was good with the world), only to discover a Gatsby-esque world of abbreviated inhibitions. You could dance, fight, make out or trip out, because this was our safe space. And the paparazzi and moral police were waiting outside the door..
Today, it’s more shop talk and tepid gossip because we’vebecome the paparazzi, and nobody can risk their career being derailed by a careless Snapchat.
So the next time you hear someone fighting with an usher for a front row seat, tell them they can have mine.
I’d much rather watch the show.