Manish Arora at the PC Jewellers Delhi Couture Week, 2013.

This was my most-anticipated show during the entire Delhi Couture Week. Firstly because I haven’t seen Manish’s show earlier and secondly because I believe his work is good. And I wasn’t disappointed – well not with the clothes anyway. The quality of the construction was flawless as was the presentation.

The flow of the runway was straight, then circular, which meant that there was no way anyone would miss any of his ensembles. My usual second / third / fourth row seat became a first row seat and I could almost reach out and touch. The clothes were colorful, beautiful and wearable.

The runway setup with the colorfully painted earthen pots and the vintage “Amar Chitra Katha” feel was beautiful and did not take focus away from the presentation of his first ever Bridal Couture collection. I for one would love to wear his stuff to a wedding.

The gold-sequinned leggings were drool-worthy and stylish. The eye-wear and hair were noticeable and complemented the clothes without distracting from them.

Another point to note : there was no jewellery.

Apologies but these are the only images I have.

Have you ever heard of someone with a first-row aka ringside view at a fashion week event, with a spotlight shining on them [ as part of the runway setup ], spending their time shedding tears as the clothes sashay by them?

Also, have you heard of someone crying because they’re told they can no longer do their “work”? [ Most would be happy to be have less to do. ]

Well now you have. I did both the above.

At this Delhi Couture Week presentation, which is why no more photos.

A few minutes after the start of the show, I was told I couldn’t use my “professional” camera to make photos and that if I wanted to use it, I would have to do so from the photographers’ pit. And if I didn’t want to go to the pit, I could only use my mobile phone / iPad / “non-professional” camera from my seat.

When I asked why this was so, I was told I should’ve listened to the announcement before the shows more carefully. Ouch. Well I had been listening to the announcements quite carefully and I recalled “Guests are advised not to use professional cameras.” and since I was graciously accredited as a photo-blogger, I assumed I wasn’t a “guest”.

I was wrong of course, which is also when I noticed that all the girls – bloggers – who had half-decent cameras were now sitting / standing in the photographers’ pit! There was a bunch of smartly dressed women in one corner of the pit and the rest was occupied by the same people I’ve written about here earlier.

All the above happened in seconds while the models were sashaying down the runway.

I tucked the camera into its bag and felt tears on my cheeks. I think I was upset that while I was providing “coverage” and generating interest about the events – over the last few years no less – I was being told to go the photographers’ pit, which to put it politely, is no place for civilized people to do anything from. Besides, I’m not particularly interested in making images of a model walking toward the pit at the head of the ramp – everyone already does that and I want my work to be distinctive. I want to focus on the “fashion” bit more than just the publicity / coverage / models. I like details.

At some point someone came up to me and told me, “You can shoot – everyone else is shooting anyway.”

But I was still crying and really in no condition to point out how silly they were being.

It’s only later, once the show had wrapped up, that I realized that Mr. Sethi had been sitting right across the runway in front of me. He leapt and bounded and came up to me and said “I’m sorry if someone’s been rude to you…”. I didn’t know how to respond to that because no one had been rude to me and he was being unexpectedly nice. [ After all, as many of us nod our heads knowingly, this is Delhi and most people wouldn’t have bothered. ]

I told Mr. Sethi that he didn’t need to apologize and embarrass me! I mean, here I am, upset with procedural mis-communication and he doesn’t know what he’s apologizing for and yet there he was! That was indeed very kind of him.

Later I tweeted about the incident and FDCI’s official handle responded, effectively stating “We’ll see you in the pit tomorrow.” Ouch. Since I didn’t want to be in the pit and also couldn’t do what I do best from my seat, I was unable to go for the Gaurav Gupta and Manish Malhotra shows.

I did stop crying eventually. But I haven’t been this upset in public ever. I am comfortable with my feelings instead of being embarrassed by them though. And it’s not like the FDCI doesn’t know about me or that I make awesome images. As far as I know, they love my work. I’m guessing it was a case of bad communication and I would like to leave it at that.

I still don’t know what the new rule of “Guests are advised not to use professional cameras” means and why it was implemented – whether it was only for the Delhi Couture Week or will be implemented for all other FDCI shows as well. And why there were other “guests” who continued to use pro cameras from their seats at the same Manish Arora show and the next day at the Gaurav Gupta show as well. And I am not sure what use they have of me anymore since I’m not willing to spend time in the photographers’ pit and they’re not willing to let me make photos from my seat [ unless they are! ].

All the previous days I had been sitting second / third row and had been making photos on my “professional” camera. So Ritu Beri, Satya Paul, Anju Modi and Sabyasachi are all not from the pit.

Either ways, the show must go on. More fashion and passion please!



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