Hot on Hide
Hidesign's Dilip Kapur made a style statement at an evening of fashion at his recently opened heritage hotel Le Dupleix in Pondicherry
"IF YOU feel a cool breeze blowing across your face it must be the spirit of Dupleix," announced the MC at Dilip Kapur's night of a hundred Hidesign bags at Pondicherry.
For those who were invited to take part in Dilip Kapur's annual bash to leather and Hidesign, the operational word was `Hot'. If Dupleix, the legendary French governor of Pondicherry was around that evening to check out the action at the newly opened heritage hotel Le Dupleix that Kapur and friends have created, his breath was hot and steamy.Or perhaps Dupleix's heart was beating from under the wooden floor of the forty-pillared pavilion on the rooftop of Le Dupleix as the music went Dhak, Dhak, Dhak, and all those who had gathered waited for the show to begin.
The long limbed models who had just driven down from the other metropolises of fashion Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore were dripping. The warm moist air of Pondicherry, with or without Dupleix's help slid off their exquisite profiles in beads of glistening sweat that caught the light of the multi-coloured strobe lights that played across them. Yet they strode, smiled and strutted their stuff like true professionals. It was not just the setting that was fabulous, it was the crowd. Aurovillians were there in full strength. They cheered every time Dilip's Kapur's name was mentioned as the entrepreneur from Auroville who has put Pondicherry on the design map of the world with his Hidesign, label tried to look modest.
Dilip teaches at the school at Auroville during his spare time. "Without the inspiration of the Mother, I would not have achieved any of this," he says.
It did not matter that the fashion show that was supposed to start at 6.30 p.m. actually took off at 8 p.m. Or that the out-of-towners were more impressed by the Cinderella-like glass stairway that led up to the enclosed terrace on the third floor, with its cascading waterfall underneath, than by the actual fashion show. Or that the makers of Sula wine had decided to let the bubbles splash as effortlessly as the cascades of water under the glass staircase. Or that as far as the crowd was concerned Dilip and his designer wife Jackie were the stars of the evening. Just for the record, he wore a dark form-fitting T-Shirt with designer jeans and she was dressed in a heavily hand crushed and pleated silk skirt with layers of shawls and scarves that is called the international gypsy look.
Red and black
Before the fashion show finally got underway there was a moment of pure showmanship as a young man, all naked white torso and fiery limbs, flamed into action wearing a long white skirt-pants. He snaked and twisted down the multiple ramps that had been constructed to provide maximum advantage in a cramped space. He was the male component of a flurry of flamenco dancers, a contribution from Auroville. The five of them added to the already hot atmosphere of the evening. After the opening number, it was a cakewalk for the models to walk down the narrow ledge of the ramps and display their leather gear.
Diandra, Jessie and the latest male model Aditya wore their leather jackets in creamy white, with red and black accents, or in soft black leather with an emphasis on feminine charms, while the others underlined the macho look. If there is one element that stands out in the collection, it must be in the neat clean line. Now Hidesign has added colour and as the crowd roared its approval Aditya, forgetting that he was meant to be swinging his leather bag, just tucked it under his arm as if it were his favourite teddy bear and walked the ramp.
As the pace revved up, the music resounded to the name, "Schumacher! Schumacher!" Did they mean the famous racing Schumacher, or were they saying "Shoemaker"? One will never know.
"I think most people will go back talking about the hotel rather than the leather products," lamented Kapur in an aside. It doesn't matter one bit. After all, he has created both.
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