As anyone who follows Indian fashion will know, Bollywood celebrities spend almost as much time on the catwalk as they do in the studio or on location. The role of the celebrity showstopper is absolutely critical according to Anju Modi, who says, 'couture is about extravagance and complete indulgence. You display your creativity in full force. Couture garments cannot look good on the street. That'll be irrelevant. Couture is also about phenomenal personalities, so we do take stars as our muse. Our celebrities are at par with international models now, they're fashion icons.' Actress Tabu (left) appeared on the first night of the PCJ Delhi Couture Week as Modi's showstopper.
Kangana Ranaut sizzled at designer JJ Valaya's show. The celebrity and designer have paired up before in 2010 for the same event. This year she wore a glittering red saree and blouse, and walked down the ramp in style with the designer at the end of her show.
There is another side to the argument, however. Gaurav Gupta, who was also part of the couture week, says, 'I don't think it's critical to get a showstopper. Lots of people are excited about my shows, and I rarely have showstoppers. Sometimes it can help to have one, but I feel like it's become too much of a practice in India. It's become cheesy and a bit of a marketing gimmick. But I understand how it helps as a marketing tool. The thing is that Bollywood is so big here, and getting a celeb can mean that you're reaching out to a much wider audience.'
Ritu Beri, is also not a fan of having a Bollywood showstopper, said that 'using Bollywood stars as showstoppers works for me only when the celebrity's personality is enhancing the theme of the collection, or is the appropriate end to the designer's story. Random stars that walk out at the end of the show are used by designers as a tool for media attention, and unfortunately this reflects the lack of conviction of the designer's faith in their creativity. It's then just for a photo-op.
'I have always used a celebrity when it matches my theme and reflects my mood, or else I never do. Internationally, this is not a trend. Normally, the stars sit in the front row and watch the show. They support the brand and the designer. When the celebrity walking out at the end of a show has a persona that matches the collection and reflects the statement that the designer is making - it's a great thing to do, otherwise, for me, it can look a bit gimmicky. It irritates me when I announce a show and before they ask me my inspiration or the theme, they want to know who my showstopper is.'
Either way, it is clear that the Bollywood showstopper is here to stay. Among other celebrities who put in an appearance on the ramp at the Couture Week were: