From Stella McCartney to Manish Arora: Designers turn runways into fun-ways

Fashion designer Stella McCartney recently closed her Autumn/Winter 17 runway show at the Paris Fashion Week, France, with a tribute to the late George Michael. Instead of a traditional finale walk down the runway, McCartney sent her models singing and dancing to Michael’s popular track ‘Faith’. The performance saw the models singing their heart out, with coordinated dance moves. As a fitting tribute to the singer, the audience also jumped in and joined the models on the runway.

This year, like McCartney, several fashion designers have welcomed 2017 with a lot more than just clothes on the runway. Back home, designers such as Tarun Tahiliani, Narendra Kumar, Shantanu Mehra and Nikhil Mehra, and Manish Arora among others have transformed the traditional runway into a canvas for creative storytelling. HT Café takes a look at some of these interesting shows.

Class Act

Over the years, fashion has changed and so have the ideas of creative display. It’s not just about selling clothes, anymore. “We [designers] have moved on from just selling clothes to telling stories [on the ramp]. I want people to experience different emotions [when they watch the show]. For me, a ramp, when I am doing a show, is fifteen minutes of cinema,” says designer Narendra Kumar. Kumar, who is known for adding an element of surprise to his shows, had attendees, including actor Suchitra Pillai dance along with him and the models during the finale walk at the Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2017.

From performances to live music, designers are making an extra effort to give show goers an experience. Kathak dancer Shivani Varma’s opening performance for designer Muzaffar Ali and Meera Ali’s show left everyone in the audience mesmerised.

According to designer Tarun Tahiliani, it is all about creating a mood. “Fashion and theatre always go together; you must make people dream of fashion,” says Tahiliani. Kumar is also of the opinion that it’s important that your audience connects with what you present to them.

Creative Freedom

Manish Arora recently had actor Kangana Ranaut walk the ramp to live music performed by singer Raghu Dixit and electronic act Midival Punditz. Arora says, “The shows are always a healthy collaboration between organisers and designers. Everyone is more open to experimenting now than they were a couple of years ago.”

According to Arora, the live music added a renewed vibrancy to his show. “The juxtaposition of the rustic sounds with my eclectic, modern and ethnic designs, I thought, was an interesting sensory experience,” he adds.