Ultimately, it is confidence in the brand that gives a designer the courage to forego a showstopper.
Dazzling models walked down the ramp for top designers at Lakme Fashion Week 2018. Whether showcasing ethnic khadis and silks or western edgy looks, each show had something special to offer the audiences and a whole new array of style statements to open the doors to. However, it wasn’t just the emerging fashion trends that one saw at the five-day extravaganza this year. A trend that could be seen in the fashion shows themselves was the lack of a showstopper.
While the likes of Kangana Ranaut, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon and Saif Ali Khan dazzled the audiences for some of the shows, several renowned designers and brands, including Gaurang Shah, Naushad Ali, Rara Avis, Rajendra Pratap Singh and 431-88 by Shweta Kapur chose to forego a showstopper altogether. Though the reasons varied from designer to designer, one fact becomes clear — none of these designers feel the need for a well-known face to sell their brand.
“It’s true that when you have a face to put to your collection, you have much greater media coverage. However, unless I can think of a showstopper who absolutely blends with the concept of my show, I prefer not to take one,” says Gaurang. “Many of my colleagues and management team members told me to take on a showstopper this year. But I had a concept in my head, which included a dancer and a baithak. A showstopper didn’t go along with it.”
While Gaurang rejected the idea of a showstopper after much consideration, Rajendra says that he never even gives a thought to whether he should put a face to his collections. “I never think about these things. If a sponsor or organiser of a fashion show requires a well-known face as a showstopper, then I might ask an actress. Otherwise, I just concentrate on the collection,” he shrugs.
Having a well-known face wear your clothes does add some aspirational value to the clothes, admits Shweta. “Fashion is aspirational and people want to dress like their favourite celebrity. It helps the brands popularity amongst clients. Celebrities who wear 431-88 help us reach our target audience and create recognition in places we normally wouldn’t have the reach,” she confesses.
However, that doesn’t mean that all of her shows need to have a showstopper. “Fashion shows should be more about the clothes. The trend of showstoppers tends to take attention away from the clothes. We like to dress celebrities who fit the vibe of the brand and its ethos. If that doesn’t work out, then it’s not something we treat as a focus for our fashion presentation,” Shweta explains.
Although celebrities add a glam factor to any outfit, Naushad explains that designs are ultimately created for “real” people. Keeping this in mind, he says that a showstopper actually goes against the ethos of his brand. “Even if I do have a showstopper for a show, it doesn’t have to be a well-known Bollywood star. At Lakme specifically, I concentrated on making each of my designs perfect instead of creating a design that would stand out as a showstopper,” he says.
Ultimately, it is confidence in the brand that gives a designer the courage to forego a showstopper. Gaurang, incidentally had not used a showstopper for his 2017 winter collection, choosing to have Shubha Mudhgal croon for the show instead. And the collection sold out before the show even started.
Gaurang says, “I had enough confidence in my collection to showcase the collection without a celebrity. Even if we didn’t get that much media coverage, I knew that the show would make an impact and people would buy my collection. And I’ve had rave results online and on social media. It’s all about having confidence in your collection!”