And now, Chennai has it’s own virtual fashion show

Tired of hustling for front row seats to fashion shows? As runway shows go digital, you can now see the latest collection in your kitchen, between putting tadka in your dal, and still feel like you have got the best seats in the house.

In April this year, Italian luxury label Ermenegildo Zegna announced that its Spring Summer 20/21 show would be “phygital” (a portmanteau of the words physical and digital).

China Fashion Week went online last month and now London Fashion Week too will be streamed on its website. This concept is gradualy becoming the norm, given the challenges posed by COVID-19 and physical distancing measures.

Paloma Rao

Now Chennai too has its own virtual fashion show. The six-minute 18-second video is the brainchild of jewellery designer Raji Anand, fashion designer Stephin Lalan and stylist Sunil Karthik.

“It took us a week to complete this video,” says Raji. It features 12 models, including Paloma Rao, Aishvarrya Suresh, Sameea Bangera and Gayathri Reddy — and has been shot entirely in the models’ homes.

“We kept social distancing in mind and coordinated everything. Each of the models shot their sequence at home and sent it to us. We put them together,” explains Raji. Outfits by Stephin and jewellery by Raji were dispatched to the models. Hair, make-up and choreography was explained over the phone and through notes.

Raji says it was a challenging task to quickly put together the outfits and jewellery.


“I don’t have pieces in bulk. I had to make the jewellery. They are strong pieces and comprise statement handcuffs, neckpieces and large finger rings. They had to match with Stephin’s creations that are solid, neutral, flowy garments with no prints.”

She adds “When we thought of this video, we assumed it would be easy. But the day it released (Saturday, May 30) we were so tired!”

As it turned out, the virtual show was more “exhausting” for the organisers than a physical live show. “In a live show you are there, you can tell the hair and makeup artist what you want, the clothes are ironed and on the rack, and you can see everything, there is no element of surprise,” says Raji, adding, “But here, we had to deal with 12 individuals separately, answer their queries, check their videos, some had too much breeze, some had low light, follow up with them, and then bring it all together.”

The video is available on Instagram on @stephinlalanofficial, @sunilkarthik_sk and @rajianand and on all the models’ handles.

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