India's first plus size fashion show was a wasted opportunity

The excitement wasn't worth the big day at Lakme Fashion Week.

 |  3-minute read |   30-08-2016
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With global runways warming up to the idea of bigger bodies and fuller frames, the time was finally ripe to stage a plus size show at one of India's premier fashion weeks, a welcome move for both plus-size individuals in India and those who see them as more than just their bodies.

So, when clothing brand aLL - the plus size store, decided to showcase plus size fashion at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festival, it was a moment for celebration. The show was to get its designer stamp of approval after it was announced that it would be curated by Shilpa Chavan of Little Shilpa - who is known for her whimsical accessories - and the best part was definitely the fabulous models, handpicked from the general public.

The previous edition of Lakme Fashion Week already put forward a case for body diversity - with the heavily pregnant supermodel Carol Gracias gracing Gaurang Shah's runway, so a plus-size show seemed another step in that revolutionary direction. Amid all the positivity and the buzz around the show, the actual presentation was a downer.

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Neither the styling nor the feel of the show hit the right note, the latter being the bigger culprit. The events on the runway could be best described as a charade. It's true that those walking the ramp weren't professionals, and kudos to them for being comfortable in their skin, but the whole exercise, meant to be a fashion presentation, seemed to be a moot point, as the models weren't taught to treat the runway with the sense of seriousness one sees in regular shows.

It's not that models enjoy walking with a poker face, but they have minimal expressions or hand movements to keep the focus strictly on the clothes. 

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But there were those few who walked the ramp on the first day of Lakme Fashion Week for Wendell Rodricks' show and slayed the runway. Eight women from different walks of life who lacked the model-esque physique and professional training, but more than made up for it with their attitude and spunk.

mos-3_083016075850.jpg Picture courtesy: Yogen Shah

And as far as the clothes themselves were concerned, the ensembles failed to excite. Judging from the pieces, it's hard to imagine plus-sized models feeling "fashionable" in those garments. Be it blogger Gabi Gregg and model Ashley Graham's respective swimsuit lines or Melissa McCarthy's clothing line Seven7, fashion for plus size women is more fun and in tune with the trends than it's ever been.

No more sticking to blacks and staying away from bold prints.

mos-4_083016075944.jpg  Picture courtesy: Polyvore

There's nothing more beautiful than seeing the runway being infused with reality. However, till the time we continue to resort to Bollywood's attitude towards plus-size individuals - the way the air becomes pregnant with the anticipation of humour upon an oversized person's entry - we'll never give those with fuller frames or their fashion the respectful treatment it deserves. 

Alas, what a waste of a stellar opportunity!


Hemul Goel Hemul Goel @hemul16

The writer is a journalist with the India Today Group digital.

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