The elite came out in strength to attend the first show in Kochi by one of India’s leading designers, Rohit Bal. Not surprisingly, the Kochi women pulled out all the stops: while a few wore the traditional sari and salwar kameez, there were several black and white gowns, skirts, mini skirts, as well as hot pants. The jewellery on display: flashing diamonds, gold and silver pendants, earrings and necklaces. As for the hair, it was coiffed, in high buns and plaits, apart from open hair.
The ‘Dream’ show, done in partnership with L’Oreal Professional and other sponsors, was held at the Le Meridien on Monday evening to celebrate the launch of the Kollam-born Ambika Pillai’s new hair and make-up salon at Kochi.
And the ramp was awash in lotuses, made of cloth, hanging from the ceiling, embedded in the large backdrop, and pasted on the several make-shift pillars.
The mood was set by the evergreen Usha Uthup, dressed in a shimmering Kanjeevaram saree, her voice as husky and supple as ever, as she belted out a medley of English and Hindi songs. In the ‘Diamonds are Forever’ song by Shirley Bassey, she even inserted changes in the lyrics: “They are diamonds - Rohit Bal and Ambika Pillai.”
The show began with industry veteran Nayonika Chatterjee walking down in a floor length gown. Soon, the other models followed: Sapna Kumar, Tina Chatwal and Carole Gracias (of Big Boss fame). There were excited local girls - Bonny Mary Mathew, Reeba Monica John, Reenu Ann Reji, Cukoo Susan, and Aileena Catherine Amon - who got an enthusiastic round of applause. And the male models -- handsome, tall and fair men, with strong jawlines, and piercing eyes -- modelled sherwanis and gowns, and caused some breathlessness among the women.
There were full-sleeved blouses and sarees, gowns, as well as lehengas, in maroon, red and cream shades. The theme clearly was bridal wear. And, after all this, former Miss World Sushmita Sen stepped on the ramp, sashaying, with style and grace, in a maroon lehenga, smiling brilliantly, waving at the audience, looking them in the eye, an undoubted star with a charismatic presence.
And, finally, the man himself came out, veteran designer Rohit Bal, resplendent in a black Jodhpuri, and gleaming black shoes. He’s famous, he’s rich, he’s handsome and the creative fire is still burning brightly within him. And the crowd stood up and applauded him.
All in all, it was a fun evening, with Chivas Regal providing some heady moments of pleasure for the men. At the sumptuous dinner afterward, bank professional Imtiaz Aziz, sipping a glass of white wine, says, “I liked the men’s bridal wear a lot. It was new and eye-catching. But I felt that the show was a little short, at less than half an hour.”
Tara Thomas, who runs a clothing store in Kochi, says that fashion shows are usually not very long. “Overall, it was a good event. The clothes were simple and elegant. I liked the light colours, especially the whites.”
And so Ambika Pillai managed to make a splash! As for Kochiites, there is a new place to go now to get quality make-up and hair styling.