Hot Gossip and inside news of Lakme India Fashion Week 2001
With three stars in four days - Ashish Soni, Rocky S and Monisha Jaising - besides the odd young satellites, it's the sponsors that are creating the most tamasha and hype: Sunsilk and Lakme. The salons they've set up are all the rage, everybody from Sharon Prabhakar to Anu Ahuja's been given a free haircut and Kareena Kapoor even had a makeover. Best of all, even the reclusive Rekha showed up at the event, to confer on it some superduper glam status by unveiling a special collection of her photographs by Gautam Rajadhyaksha. Finally, some real action.

While Lakme and Sunsilk had taken over the Taj, competitor L'Oreal decided to draw some of the crowd away to nearby nightclub Athena, where Achala Sachdev choreographed a show where real people walked. Unfortunately, it seemed to have washed out like a cheap rinse since most designers invited preferred to chill out and stay in the Taj or work on their lines. And most of the models were too tired after the inaugural FDCI bash at Indigo.

Star TV's once-upon-a-time head honcho Rathikant Basu pulled out his filofax and leaned on all his TV buddies to show up: everyone from Shobha De to Soni Razdan and Neena Gupta landed up to watch daughter Nandita's Mumbai show. And while they were all right in the day, at the earlier show, the pecking order truly became apparent at the last show - where Hrithik Roshan, Suzanne Khan, Preity Zinta, Amisha Patel, Yash Birla and more turned out to cheer on designer to the stars Rocky S - whistles and all.

Sunsilk had invited Nikko Abriol and apna lockal stylist Javed Habib to the Lakme India Fashion Week Salon. They organized a bash at the Apollo Bar, too. Javed was seen talking to somebody at the end of the room near the glass windows - sharing the view with a woman and having quiet conversation. Nikko, on the other hand, had a ball dancing with the models. However, the man who made the most of the event was the Hotmail Sabeer Bhatia. None of the men seemed interested in dancing. So, models Diya Abraham, Jessie Randhawa, Achala Sachdev and others, along with Imtiaz Dharker and two other women, took to the floor without male partners. Soon, Sabeer Bhatia joined them and he was the only Kanhaiyya among all the seven gopies. It was only later that A.D. Singh and Sabina took to the floor. Anil Dharker and Fareed Currim also attended the party.

More on the controversies buzzing around the first floor of the Taj: some models were overheard in the loo arguing about how show dates had to be juggled to accommodate people not originally part of the show, and one designer let us in on how this particular designer from Delhi has totally lost faith in the event and wants to drop out - only, the FDCI won't let him. Why, Sumeet?

Finally business seems to be happening, although in bits and spurts. However, it's the expected ones, like Lina Tipnis and Monisha Bajaj, who've brought in some of the money. Lina says she signed on new clients from London and Dubai on Day 1 itself, Monisha says Westside has confirmed an order worth a couple of lakhs. Others, like Aki Narula, Rocky S, Anshu Arora Sen and Priyadarshini Rao, are either still talking to people or waiting for their special contacts to come in. But no one's inked a deal asking for 600 pieces of the same style.

Kishin Mulchandani celebrated his 41st birthday at Mayfair Rooms and the entire fashion crowd made their way to the Mayfair Rooms after Pratap's show. This time the dress code was "sinfully black." And the Mumbai glitterati arrived in black.

Except for a chosen few, like Avantika Birla and Reshma Bombaywally, who decided to come in pink and red respectively. Avantika had a teensy weensy black skirt to adhere to the black code. It was the Fashion Week.

Rohit Bal, Aki Narula, Savio John, Anita Dongre, Diandra, Achala Sachdev, Sangeeta Kathiawada, Ravi Krishnan, were seen there. It was a mixed crowd.

Theatre, film and business. Bobby Deol, Prahlad Kakkar, Mitali, Anil chopra of Lakme, Manu Mehtani of Castlerock Fisheries, Suhas Avchat, Rajesh Mulchandani, Sabira Merchant, A.D. Singh, Chaya Momya, Nirmal Momya, Raveena Raj Kohli, Aarti and Kailash Surendranath, Ramona Garware and the list could go on and on.

A sexy Sharon Prabhakar and Alyque Padamsee came together but decided to go their own way once inside the room.

Ruby Bhatia announced the birth of Kishin at midnight. And that's when the real party began. People were happily trying new "shot" combination. They also tried their hand at a game of throwing glasses inside lips that we meant of target practice. The party went on till early next morning.Missing were two members from last year's party - Sonia Garware and Nina Pillai. That reminds me. It has been a long time since Nina Pillai has been seen anywhere. The last time one saw her was at Subbirami Reddy's party in February. She was giving tips to Poonam Dhillon on how to take your pullu and still show off your assets.

Very little business was actually done on the last day of the India Lakme Fashion Week. Except perhaps Rina Dhaka who received a few inquiries from Selfridges. Leena and Ashima Singh didn't stay back for the final party. "It was a waste, the fashion week better pull up its socks or it won't work," said a miffed Leena. Or was it because her stall got the least number of business inquiries in the whole week? Rohit Bal and Manish Malhotra were the most sought after designers on the last day, with Kingfisher, which is promoting Bal's line, planning to tie up with Manish too.

The Lakme Grant Finale was by far the largest and most attended event of the year. A classy affair. Each chair had the name of the gust written on it.

A select few were invited - Dr. Vijay Mallya, Rekha Mallya, Parmeshwar Godrej, Shobha De, Dilip De, Simone Tata, Anuradha Mahindra with daughter, Harsh Goenka, Kumarmangalam Birla, Gautam Singhania and Nana Chudasma made up the cream of the party.

Glamour to the event was added by Kareena Kapoor, Yash Chopra, Yash Johar, Karan Johar and Kajol, who cheered every creation by Manish Malhotra. At the party that followed at the Rooftop and Apollo Bar, there was a mad rush.

Sunil Alag of Britania was seen kissing a lungi-clad woman - on her cheeks, before you get any ideas - till she almost fell off. Maya Alag, Sunil's wife, smiled at the scene. Poonam Dhillon looked hot in a black sleeveless top with a neck that scooped low enough.

The Rooftop bussed with a yuppy crowd of models and designers. But the suave crowd preferred Carol and Wilson. Parmeshwar Godrej and Vijay Mallya chilled out at the Apollow Bar for a long time. Once of the few occasions when they hang out till late, is when it is not their party.

Rohit Bal is the ultimate poster boy of Indian fashion. At the Shine, Simmer Sparkle party held after the grand finale, he had both men and women lunging for him. He made a late entry only to be monopolized on the dance floor by young, muscular male models that most women spend nights dreaming about. The women were left standing on the fringes.


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