The big finale: Why are fashion shows ending with multiple designers?

March 10: For those who are well acquainted with Delhi’s runway routine, the new trend taking over the city’s fashion weeks seems to be that of group finales.

Gone are the days of a single, big-ticket designer taking the final bow. For the past two seasons, fashion weeks have been riding on multi-designer finales. The trend will continue next week, when 9 fashion will close the Amazon India Fashion Week, scheduled to be held between March 16 and March 20.

The showcasing finale designers include Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rahul Mishra, Aneeth Arora, Abraham & Thakore, Anju Modi, Samant Chauhan, Rohit & Rahul, Amit Aggarwal, Pankaj & Nidhi.

Is it just a case of fashion evolution or can too many cooks spoil the broth? For designer Ritu Kumar, more participation is directly proportional to increasing demand.

“Fashion is very internet-driven now and that has brought about a change in priorities. The consumption has increased, so the number of participants have grown. The audience for our fashion has gone beyond metros and from saris to T-shirts. We are creating everything, so we have a big canvas to play on. In this scenario, more finale collections make sense,” she says.

A model at the group grand finale show last March.

President of Fashion Design Council of India, Sunil Sethi, says it was the natural next step for an ever-evolving industry..“It’s about breaking the myth that fashion is not inclusive and everybody’s on their own trip. Also, there has been a concentrated effort to promote lots of different crafts, and that is what these designers strive to do in the group finale. We are in the 27th season of the fashion week, change is the need of the hour and the evolution will continue,” he says.

Well, while change might be inevitable, is the charm of the solo-designer finale fading away? Designer JJ Valaya, who has been part of both formats says alternating these shows could be the key. “Group finales are a beautiful representation of varied creative spirits, yet, they do not involve a narrative like a single designer show does. I suppose the world is ready for both and an effective way to exploit the formats would perhaps be to alternate them every season or two seasons,” he says. And of course, the grandeur needs to be intact. ““I think it depends on the message one is sending out. I like both the options, as long as the final story is dramatic and effective,” says designer Ritu Beri.

Designers Ritu Kumar, Tarun Tahiliani, FDCI president Sunil Sethi and designer JJ Valaya at the end of a group finale last year.

While fashion veterans have their own take, the newer generation of designers also find the format beneficial. For designer duo Hemant and Nandita, the umbrella theme under which the designers show at the finale is the USP.
“It is always very interesting to see the way the theme is perceived differently by designers and how they sum that perception up with limited garments. Because it is a norm to do single designer finales internationally, it doesn’t mean we have to replicate the same.”

For designer Anupama Dayal, it’s about opening up avenues for all kinds of fashion and getting rid of the elitist tag. “This format feels more democratic. Usually, for the finale, it was always a very senior name, but this way, we are all given a chance, which is nice. I was a part of the finale last year and it was an awesome experience. Fashion is changing. Worldwide, it’s becoming less about ivory towers and couture and more about opening up and plain clothes . In keeping with this, a change is welcome.”

Apart from the being a larger playing field, it makes for challenging the designers themselves. “Each designer has to work according to a common aesthetic, a common theme. By putting up this challenge, you really get to see the DNA of the designer. If you see, internationally there’s no actual concept of a ‘grand finale’, and in India too, we are just moving away from it, and I think it’s a great move,” says designer Anand Bhushan.

Next Friday (March 18) as a part of the fashion week, eight designers will come together to showcase creations dedicated solely to menswear. These will include Rohit Bal, JJ Valaya, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Ashish N soni, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, Abhishek Gupta, Varun Bahl and Troy Costa.

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