The decriminalisation of homosexuality and the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment on Section 377 saw the whole country come together and celebrate. Chennaiites expressed their solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community online and threw parties to celebrate the moment — the day will definitely go down in history for taking one step towards progressiveness.
For years, the fashion industry had always been a safe haven for those who had been living in the shadow of Section 377. With this change, they were welcomed with open arms and celebrated for their individuality and flamboyant personalities with no judgment on their sexual orientation. It was only apt when the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) announced that the grand finale of the India Fashion Week was going to be titled Rainbow, where 40 designers from across the country would showcase one garment each, celebrating this landmark decision. It was truly a celebration of creativity as some of the best minds in the country came together to show love, freedom of expression and unity through garments.
With great pride, I can tell you that one designer from Chennai was invited for the showcase — Vivek Karunakaran. I caught up with him immediately after his show and he told me, “The atmosphere backstage was incredible as so many beautiful souls had come together in solidarity. Everyone was having a good time and taking pictures because it was a moment we will all cherish for years to come. It was a lot of fun and the models got to walk to live music. Everyone had such different designs and aesthetics, yet, somehow it all came together and was a cohesive fashion show that celebrated individuality.”
Vivek tells me that he had two weeks, from ideation to creation, to make a garment that would be part of this historic fashion show. He wrestled with ideas of how to work with the theme yet stay true to his aesthetic; how to make something wearable yet have enough drama for a runway presentation and for it to represent where he came from — Chennai. Vivek brought the panchakacham (traditional loincloth worn by men) to the runway in a Madras checks avatar with zipper embellishments, layered with an asymmetric kurta and a raw silk biker jacket. It was an ode to love, using South Indian textiles finished off with a dash of humour in the form of a ‘let’s play’ slogan on the back of the jacket.
Is it just me or do you also think that Vivek’s personality with his tongue-in-cheek humour peeped out from the rooted Chennaiite, who always strives to keep us on the fashion map? The garment caught the eye of several show goers for its subtle details and little surprises — everyone unanimously declared that they could see Ranveer Singh wearing it. Can someone share this with Nitasha Gaurav, please? While we all have our fingers crossed and are waiting for that to happen, something else happened during this fashion week. Sunil Sethi, the president of FDCI, walked into Vivek’s stall fell in love with a jacket he was sporting so he placed an order for several others! Good things are happening to you, my friend, and it’s great to see you staying rooted through all this.