How To Survive Fashion Week: Saket Dhankar (The Man With A Plan)

Marv D'Souza , 10 Mar 2014
How To Survive Fashion Week: Saket Dhankar
How To Survive Fashion Week: Saket Dhankar

In the middle of fittings and before the frenzy, we cornered Saket Dhankar, Head of Fashion at IMG Reliance to help us understand his schedule at Lakme Fashion Week. To put it accurately, Saket is one of the most important faces at LFW and yet, he always maintains a calm, serene face through the madness. How does he do it? Well, in our next How To Survive Fashion Week series, Saket Dhankar dishes his game-plan!

Saket Dhankar, Fashion head at IMGR with (l-r)  Naeem Khan, Trun Tahiliani, Vogue India's Priya Tanna
Saket Dhankar, Fashion head at IMGR with (l-r) Naeem Khan, Trun Tahiliani, Vogue India’s Priya Tanna

Team MissMalini: It’s Lakme Fashion Week, your first thoughts?
Saket Dhankar: This is my 17th fashion week, and I just love being amidst good looking people dressed up for the occasion with all smiles, flying kisses and free-flowing wine. Lakme Fashion Week is about young designers rubbing shoulders with the star designers. We have a 23 year old girl making her debut in Gen Next show and we have Manish Malhotra and Rajesh Pratap Singh, opening and closing the fashion week. It’s a great mix of designers and their exciting collections.

Team MM: At LFW, what awaits you? Give us a sense of the frenzy!
SD: This time, we have some exciting designers in our line up and I can’t be partial to anyone by naming them. I have a fondness for the Pavilion and another new area, that we are creating for the first time. The LFW frenzy is unbelievable. 15,000 Guests. 102 Designers from 18 cities, 48 Models, 46 Shows, 18 sponsors, 250 Buyers, 450 Media professionals, 100 Photographers, 100 bloggers, 55 Showstoppers and One soul. And we serve 8000 meals over 5 days!
Team MM: How do you prepare for the days ahead? 
SD: Planning religiously with my superb team at IMGR that includes team meetings, check-lists, brainstorming sessions and collaborations.

Rohit Bal, Vogue's Anaita Shroff Adajania and Saket Dhankar
Rohit Bal, Vogue’s Anaita Shroff Adajania and Saket Dhankar

Team MM: What are looking forward to? And what are you dreading?
SD: I am looking forward to young hopes and aspirations getting fulfilled, and a lot of business for the young designers. It’s time for cutting edge fashion as per the trends that will find mass appeal. Well, I’m dreading not to fall asleep on the front row. A wardrobe malfunction, copycats, a showstopper whom no one recognizes or even an Indian cine star who overpowers our fashion designers! The list is endless.
Team MM: Any weird requests you’ve received? How do you play it cool?
SD: Yes, I have got some weird requests. One soap sponsor requested to have a model ‘take a bath’ in the pre-function area in a tub. Two requests that I hate are “Logo bada kar do” and requests for “grand finale” invites. I also hate it when guests come to fashion week for their first sighting of film stars. To overcome it all, it takes a lot of confidence and a big smile, which people don’t understand whether it’s a “Yes” or a “No”!

Team MM: What keeps you going through the long hours?
SD: Juices and energy drinks do it for me, and no liquor during fashion week. I don’t skip meals at any cost. And no desserts.

Saket rocking his Rajesh Pratap Singh shirt!
Saket rocking his Rajesh Pratap Singh shirt!

Team MM: What’s in your fashion week kit? Must haves?
SD: Lots of clothes – suits, RPS shirts, fragrances, phone chargers and a dash of colour in the formal attire. Also accessories like cuff-links, pocket squares, watches and pens are a must in my kit. My ‘must haves’ are black shirts, blue denims and spicy fragrances.

Team MM: Bust one fashion week myth?
SD: Fashion Week is one big party! This is a myth because I have seen how much effort all the designers, models and backstage teams put together to put up a great show. Careers are made out of a fashion week and new stars emerge on the horizon.

Team MM: How do you ‘survive’ it all?
SD: Early morning preparation of a to do list and a late night sessions on my laptop. For me, 4-5 hours of sound sleep is a must. And a phone call to my family in a day. I look forward to the long Goa vacation that awaits post the fashion week!

Team MM: For new entries in fashion: what advice would you give to survive fashion week?
SD: Fashion Week is a serious business. Have your look books ready, have line sheets for your shows, get your prices checked, production sorted, fix-up buyer meetings. Do not stress too much on guest lists and showstoppers.

Fashion week is the place where a lot of conversations start and potential opportunities emerge.

Blast from the past: Saket with fellow jury member and models who debuted at LFW
Blast from the past: Saket with fellow jury member and models who debuted at LFW

So that was Mr. Saket Dhankar’s plab to survive the long hours at Lakme Fashion Week. Stay tuned for more on  our How To Survive Fashion Week and all the updates from LFW summer/resort 14 on

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