Fests Italiana was organized by the Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
I had only recently met Vaishali in-person for the first time. When she invited me to her couture presentation, I was DYING to photograph it and said so and well, I got to photograph her beautiful work! I’m so glad I asked! I have not been this stoked to photograph fashion in a LONG time. Vaishali has been on the scene since she launched her label in 2004. It was an honor and privilege for me to see her work backstage and then to see the final looks on the runway at such a prestigious event no less.
It’s hard to miss but if you don’t know, I LOVE the fly-on-the-wall photography that I get to do backstage. I was photographing backstage after at least a year and a half and I was NERVOUS. ( I know, despite doing this gig for twenty years, I still get nervous! ) I felt like a giddy child smack in the middle of a candy store! Vaishali’s work is visually delicious and the meticulous details are mind-boggling. I might as well have been high on some medical grade caffeine – that’s how wired I was. And I didn’t think I could get more wired, till I got to the runway! ( A bit more on that later. ) For now, enjoy some of the backstage beauty.
Garment Details from the Runway
One of the nicest and most nerve-wracking things about photographing an independent couture presentation is that there are no rules. In the sense that if you’ve ever photographed at a fashion week, you know there’s a million restrictions – a designated spot where you can shoot from, places you cannot use a professional DSLR from, things you can and cannot photograph, things like “hierarchy” etc.
None of that exists at an independent show! While it is liberating, because you can do literally whatever you want. Akin to leaving your parents’ home for the first time and living alone. No one to tell you when to wake up, when to eat, what to eat, nothing. It brings on freedom but also this MASSIVE responsibility of doing the right thing. Leaving the analogy and coming back to the runway, it makes me NERVOUS to have a free hand because I do not want to fuck it up for my client! What if I pick a spot and it turns out to be the WRONG spot and once you start shooting, there’s no stopping because the presentation is over before you can move your butt an inch from your original location!
It was an outdoor show and Delhi’s starting to get cold and I was wearing a jacket and the insides were SOAKED with my sweat by the time I was done photographing the show! I literally had to take it off to cool my body down. And I thought I was WIRED while photographing backstage! Ha.
Scroll some more for lovely details of Vaishali’s work.
There are some frames that I thought would look a lot more spectacular in black and white and also the end of the couture presentation when Vaishali walked out on the runway and walked away with the models. She had a massive stiff neck and still managed to not look like she had it at all! Brava!
Once again, thank you for wonderful opportunity Vaishali! It was an absolute pleasure to be around such beautiful and thoughtful work. It was one of the nicest, most straightforward photography assignments that I have I ever had the privilege of executing.
Show Director : Anu Ahuja