WIFW gets grander with bigger venue, 115 designers

By Shilpa Raina, IANS
Friday, October 22, 2010

NEW DELHI - Its biggest ever venue promises to make the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) - which kicks off Saturday - a grand affair this time. With 115 designers set to showcase their collections, it is expected to be low on glamour and high on fashion.

Top names like Abraham and Thakore, Ashish Soni, Ashima-Leena, JJ Valaya, Kotwara by Meera and Muzaffar Ali, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Ranna Gill, Ritu Beri, Rohit Bal, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, Tarun Tahiliani and Wendell Rodricks will be displaying at business-to-business event at Pragati Maidan in central Delhi.

Those participating in WIFW have always loved the vicinity of Hall No. 7. But this time, with the venue shifting to Hall No.18, designers are set in for a sweet surprise.

Earlier in that single hall, there used to be a set-up of exhibition area, two main-show areas (MSA), lounges, a media centre, dining area and backstage as well.

But now, huge space at Hall No.18 will be a high point of this five-day extravaganza that will start Saturday and go on till Oct 27.

Sunil Sethi, president of the Fashion Design Council of India that organises the event, said it was a matter of coming out of the “comfort zone”.

“We were so much in our comfort zone at Hall No.7 as we knew where we had to put MSAs, where the exhibition was and every other detail. But here, when we had to start from scratch - we had to do planning, make layout changes,” Sethi told IANS.

Spread over an area of 11,633 sq m, this is the biggest ever venue for WIFW and the look has been enhanced by light arrangements, installations and photo exhibitions, giving it an international feel.

The roof of the venue is in the shape of a dome and is divided into two levels - an exhibition area and lounges on the ground and main show areas at the first level. It will give a spectacular view to guests who can see the exhibition area from the waiting area at the first level.

The shift has caused a bit of apprehension.

“There is a difference in how things look on paper and in doing them. Like we wanted to keep the media centre on the first level but couldn’t do it because we had wiring issues; so it is just an example. A new place requires more attention because there is always a possibility of things going wrong,” Sethi said.

His words are reminiscent of the fiasco during the autumn/winter edition of WIFW in March this year when day one of the event had to be scrapped because organisers had failed to get a fire safety permit.

At that time, FDCI had to change the venue to the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) Exhibition Complex, as no halls were available due to the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games.

But this time, Sethi says, all precautions are being taken to ensure things are smooth. “We have got a special fire retardant for fabrics and we are doing all possible to make this event a success,” he said.

As fashion weeks all over India have been overloaded with the presence of Bollywood celebrities, Sethi promises the focus will be more on fashion and very little on glamour.

There will be some activities like a fashion quiz and fashion awards. Celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Sonakshi Sinha, Ayesha Takia, Kalki Koechlin and Jaquelin Fernandes will be present at the WIFW.

(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at shilpa.r@ians.in)

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