Do theatrics at fasion shows take away the limelight from the clothes?

With the new fashion season starting, After Hrs asks if theatrics at the finale show takes away the limelight from the clothes which should be the real heroes…

In India one always looks forward to attending a finale show. It’s nigh on impossible to get the coveted front row seat if you’re an outsider (unless you managed to pull some strings) and all the eyes are on the showstopper. The show usually starts late, however, one waits with baited breath to soak in the props, the drama, the music and of course the clothes. But is it really about the clothes that much? Exaggerated ambience, special lights and sound effects are definitely crucial for the storytelling but do we overlook the garments? Should we allow them to take a back seat? Read what our fashion heavy-weights have to say…

Wendell Rodricks

Effects can enhance the show and take it to another level. Designers like John Galliano and Alexander McQueen have done this to perfection. If a collection is weak, however, nothing can save it. In the past I have refused a grand finale because I felt the collection was not strong enough. Fashion is about fantasy and dreams via clothes. People leave an haute couture show in Paris in tears. It is like going to the opera or a ballet.

Nachiket Barve

It depends on the oeuvre of the designer. The staging at the finale should make sense of the clothes. Dior, under Raf Simons, has simplified the aesthetic and it’s a far cry from the Dior of Galliano’s era. Internationally, audience comprises buyers and the clothes have to be highly packaged. Having said that, I’d like to add that the packaging cannot overwhelm the clothing. Fashion is about romance and staging just amplifies it.

Manish Malhotra

I don’t really agree! A spectacle of sound, light, theme-based runway and environment are as crucial as the designs themselves for the designer. In the process of storytelling, especially in couture, it is not just about the designs but also about the mood you create for your audience. It is about creating magic, art and a short realm of imagination. We start working on the theme, music and everything needed to create those visuals, months before the show.

Pranav Misra

To some extent, I agree. It’s our responsibility to ensure that the focus during the fashion week remains on the garments. At one level I feel that theatrics makes it entertaining and at another level I feel that clothes should not take a backseat.

Priyadarshini Rao

It all depends on the designer who’s doing it. Rajesh Pratap’s finale at Wills was pulled apart by media for being a ‘non-finale’. It’s partly media and partly the designers who are to be blamed. Every finale is not the same. Internationally there’s no finale, some of the best shows happen in off-site areas and hence there’s a lot of weightage on fashion.

Dhruv Kapur

It’s nice to have a storytelling provided it is in tune with the collection. Even though I’m a minimalist, I feel a finale should be grand. Everything from theatrics to choreography has to make a point. However, the clothes have to have substance.