How To Survive Fashion Week: Gautam Kalra (Stylist/Magician)

Marv D'Souza , 07 Mar 2014
Gautam Kalra
Gautam Kalra

With over 80 designers spread across 5 long days of shows and a number of looks that will make your head spin, there are two faces at Lakme Fashion Week that have it all mapped out. Gautam Kalra and Aki Narula are the heroes behind the scenes, who breathe and sleep fashion. Every look is studied by their experienced minds and it’s under their guidance that the shows (especially ones with fresh talent) look like a dream unfolding on the runway. But how do they survive the long, endless days? Gautam Kalra takes us through his plans on ‘How To Survive Fashion Week’!

Fitting room
Fitting room

Team MissMalini: It’s Fashion Week, your first thoughts?
Gautam Kalra: Hectic!

Team MM: At LFW, what awaits you? How many shows are you styling?
GK: We have back to back fittings and shows. So that makes it a sum of 15 shows, 30 designers, 5 days of fittings + 5 days of shows.

Team MM: How do you prepare for it?
GK: As soon as I am given my list of designers by IMG – Reliance, I get in touch with designers asking them to share a few looks, their thoughts on hair/make up & styling. Post which, I send them references on the same to consider, and the dialogue begins.

Anushka Manchanda, Amit Aggarwal and Gautam Kalra
Anushka Manchanda, Amit Aggarwal and Gautam Kalra

Team MM: What are you looking forward to?
GK: It’s always exciting to see what the newer younger designers like DRVV, Huemn and others are doing. They bring some unexpected freshness in a cluttered space. I’m also looking forward to Rajesh Pratap Singh, Gaurav Gupta, Tarun Tahiliani and others.

Team MM: What keeps you going through the long hours?
GK: Focus, a relaxed state of mind and a bit of fun on the side. And of course, some backstage gossip with the crew (that invariably includes some hilarious people that have become family during these 10 days).

Gautam Kalra with Aki Narula
Gautam Kalra with Aki Narula

Team MM: What’s in your fashion week kit? Must haves?
GK: Body/clothing fashion tape, scissors, safety pins/needle and thread.

Team MM: Bust one fashion week myth?

Team MM: Anything in particular that always freaks you out? How do you overcome it?
GK: Zippers busting during the show while you only have seconds to dress the model. And to rescue it is a quick stitch and a bag or scarf to hide it. And of course, a great model who doesn’t let the audience notice it while walking down the ramp confidently.

Team MM: For new entrants in fashion, what advice would you give them to survive fashion week.
GK: Be open to suggestions from your choreographer, stylist, hair & make-up artist. Be original, don’t copy.

We also had a chance to shoot a few quick questions to Gautam’s assistant, Somya Kanodia and here’s what she had to say!

Gautam Kalra with Somya and a member from his team
Gautam Kalra with Somya and a member from his team

Team MM: First thoughts for LFW? Anything in particular that you need to be prepared for?
Somya Kanodia: Hectic but fun, being thorough with all the designers and shows that we are styling.

Team MM: The importance of ‘dressing up’ during fashion week?
SK: Casual, comfortable yet chic. It’s important to look cool but not in an over the top way, never force it. I usually wear comfortable tights, a loose t-shirt, a casual summer blazer with flats.

Team MM: What do you need to prepare for the week, any tools in particular?
SK: Important tools are clothing/body tape, pins, energy drinks. And coffee to be fresh!

Strike a pose!
Strike a pose!

Team MM: Your worst nightmare? And how do you plan to work through it, (Because you HAVE to!)
SK: Worst nightmare would be a wardrobe malfunction! And to work through it, fashion tape is a saviour in that chaotic moment. It can fix anything to the body as beautifully as if it were stitched.

Team MM: For new entrants in fashion, what advice would you give them in order to survive fashion week?
SK: Just be fresh, alert and calm. You need to be super-organized and thorough with all your shows. Listen to and understand what is needed and give it your best!

We hope this helped you a little bit more in understanding the madness and chaos that unfolds at fashion week and how the rock-stars of the scene handle it. Stay tuned for more updates on Lakme Fashion Week and our series on ‘How To Survive Fashion Week’!

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