The second edition of the FDCI Couture Hall of Fame Awards held in the Capital last night felicitated not only designers but also choreographers for their unswerving contribution to the field of Indian couture. Organized by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) with an aim to honour Indian fashion talent, the event awarded designers JJ Valaya, Manish Malhotra, and Anamika Khanna, and fashion choreographers Asha Kochhar and Vidyun Singh, for their collective work of more than 100 years in the industry. The first edition of the event was organized pre-pandemic in 2019 honouring designers Ritu Kumar, Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla, Rohit Bal, Shahab Durazi, Suneet Varma and Tarun Tahiliani.
Read on to know how the winners feel upon receiving the award.
Designer Manish Malhotra says, “I truly appreciate the recognition given to me by FDCI. Getting an award from my own family feels special; it’s been over three decades in the industry. It’s a good feeling always.” Adding what couture means to him, “Couture to me is thoughtful and valuable as it should be. Every moment in the embrace of luxury should be celebrated and savored, the timelessness and experience of the purchase should ensure quality and standards. The past few years have redefined the word “couture”; it’s more than just a physical product of privilege. Brands are nurturing and building lasting relationships and making clients feel they’re part of something crucial. In newer times, from viewing the product digitally to connecting with its brand story, everything has become personal. And, that’s something consumers want to experience.”
On the other hand, for designer Anamika Khanna, the meaning of couture is luxury. “The whole idea of bespoke handmade luxury already existed, but in India, we defined it in our own way. In some way, it was also the bridal space, I’m not in denial of that, but at the same time it was also about luxury. For me, couture is the epitome of luxury. And, receiving this award especially from FDCI validates everything that I’ve been striving for for such a long time. It is a reinforcement that I could continue doing what I’m doing, and to do it better. I don’t just feel honoured but also motivated to receive this award,” she says.
The third designer who received the FDCI Couture Hall of Fame award was designer JJ Valaya. When asked how does he feel after receiving the award he says, “It’s an extremely humbling feeling. I’m so grateful to be able to receive such appreciation and validation; it’s been 30 years of being in this wonderful industry. It’s difficult sometimes to talk about feelings when such things happen, but I think gratitude would be the one word that would sum up my feelings perfectly.”
Another category among awardees that was introduced for the first time at FDCI Couture Hall of Fame was fashion choreographers. Vidyun Singh and Asha Kochhar, who have been in the industry since 1980 were overwhelmed to have been acknowledged by FDCI and its Board of Governors for their decade(s) long work. “It is special and extremely gratifying to be receiving this award. It feels like an acknowledgement and appreciation for the various elements and people who work beyond the arc lights making couture look good,” she says.
Sharing similar sentiments as Singh’s, Kochhar says, “I really feel honoured and happy to receive the FDCI Couture Hall of Fame Award. It feels good to be receiving this after working for the fashion industry for so many years.”
Also, explaining what fashion choreography is, Singh says, “It is technically planning out the runway and showcasing the garments. However, the process of presenting garments at their best means understanding them from conception to finish: the inspiration, the mood, the choice of music, the lighting, the pace of the show, the body or persona displaying them, etc. We (her and Asha Kochhar) are proud to say that we’ve been producing fashion shows from the inception of the “organized’’ fashion industry in India. We have choreographed FDCI runway shows from its first season.”
Finally, Sunil Sethi, Chairman of FDCI, shares a few words explaining what the event entails. “Fashion designers have been working diligently and have been trying to make their mark in the Indian fashion industry for a long time, and we felt we should honour them. People who were awarded the FDCI Couture Hall of Fame Awards for the first time were all designers, although this is the first time that we decided to honour fashion choreographers too, “ he says.
While talking about the gap between the first and the second edition, Sethi says, “We wanted to conduct this event every year but due to the pandemic it had to be put on hold. However, now as the situation has improved, we’re back to celebrate these individuals who collectively form more than 100 years of experience in the Indian fashion industry.” Adding, “All three designers are so deserving that we didn’t even feel the need to get the jury on board. Also, Asha and Vidyun have been working long before even FDCI came into existence. So, honestly I would just like to congratulate them all,” he concludes.