Kolkata-the latest haute couture
How long ago could we associate Kolkata with fashion? An occasional Sarbari Dutta dress finding its way into Bollywood, Kiran Uttam Ghosh making a splash abroad and Agnimitra Paul making a fashion statement with a novelty. Then arrived Sabyasachi and everyone woke up to Kolkata and a designer who dared to be minimal and futuristic. Way ahead of time!
The wheel had started changing and then arrived Yudhajit Dutta. He planned to get Kolkata's name firmly grafted into the fashion list of this country and beyond. And after Kolkata Fashion Week II he is a happy man.
“Kolkata Fashion Week was my concept and I wanted to do something daring with Kolkata. I always knew there was no dearth of talents here and we will come up trumps. At the end, its all about entertainment and this time we entertained. If last time we introduced Kolkata as a fashionable city, this time it has been established as a sure fit with fashion,” Yudhajit says.
For him, managing the marketing of Kolkata Knight Riders in 2008 was a crash course in business management. “More than anything else, it taught me sports and celebrity management,” he recalls. And it had its effects as Dutta made a deep impact despite a fashion week fatigue- three in Delhi, two in Bangalore—and the global slowdown. The event recorded footfalls of 3000 to 4000 everyday. “We even had to put up a screen outside the venue so that the mad rush could be controlled, and people who could not find a place inside could watch the show from outside,” says Dutta.
For Dutta, the idea of organising a city-centric fashion show was to showcase design talent from Bengal, some of whom are prominent names in the national fashion business. Also, there are weavers and international buyers who swear by traditional Bengali art. They were wooed and they returned happy. Eminent designers including Ritu Kumar, Bibi Russel, Manish Malhotra, Wendell Rodricks, Rocky S, Narendra Kumar, MonaPali, Dev R Nil, Zubair Kirmani, Kallol Dutta, Soumitra Mondal, Abhishek Dutta, Tejas Gandhi, Satya Paul, Mandira Wirk & Anand Kabra displayed their best at the year's most eagerly awaited fashion event.
Top models of the country including Indrani Dasgupta, Sapna Kumar, Joey Matthews, Lakshmi Rana, Noyanika, Sonalika Sahay, Neha Kapur, Bhawana, Candice Pinto along with others sashayed down the ramp and set the hearts ablaze with the razzle-dazzle of the designer wears. Then there were Mandira Bedi, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Amrita Arora, Baichung Bhutia and their likes stopping a heartbeat and an ensemble cast of 18 celebs in Tejas Gandhi's show, led by world renowned percussionist Bickram Ghosh and wife Jaya Sil, Asia's leading laproscopic surgeon Dr B. Ramana, danseuse Alokananda Roy and women cricket team’s captain Jhulan Goswami.
“Everyone wanted to be a part of the show. They knew Kolkata is now watched and is under the lens as a fashion conscious city and so why not display the wares in all its finery,” Tejas Gandhi says. Abhishek Dutta says, “It's satisfying to see my city get firmly placed in the fashion map of the sub-continent. It boosts our stocks also.”
Sabyasachi soon after established his first ever bridal salon in Kolkata. The much-awaited trousseau destination had an inner poise and is the favoured destination for women and men looking for the perfect outfit for the perfect wedding. When asked about the ground floor of his factory being converted into a salon Sabya was at his philosophical best.
He reportedly said, “You know Tagore had written that he'd travelled far and wide to see the mountains but he never noticed the dewdrop on a blade of grass outside his doorstep... I've had this space forever...” "Kolkata Fashion Week has changed the nation's perspective towards Kolkata as a fashion conscious city. KFW has also created a unique platform for upcoming fashion designers where they can showcase their creations to the fashionistas of the city,” M. S. Dhoni, one of the most fashionable bachelors of the nation adds without a hesitation. What a fashion statement to set the city spinning the drapes!