“We will lift ourselves from the devastation of 26/11 but with the difference that we will never forget what happened,” was the unanimous promise of the citizens of Mumbai.
Fashion may not be frivolous this time as it steps up to send a strong message of solidarity during the Mumbai Fashion Week at the end of the month. Vikram Chatwal, a dear friend who has been associated with fashion in several ways besides his association with Kate Moss and Giselle Bundchen, is, along with an international event management company and good friend Naomi Campbell, presenting a show ‘Mai Mumbai’ which is going to put the spotlight on Mumbai and spell out internationally that Mumbai is back in business!
“The name ‘Mai Mumbai’ i.e. ‘I am Mumbai’ was conceptualised to be inclusive for those that work in, live in, visit, do business in, or simply love Mumbai,” says Vikram Raizada (Vice President and head of Fashion, for the Indian division of the event management company).
Chatwal is going to give a direct donation to the charity that supports the victims of 26/11. “The news was a shocker for all of us here as well and was a reminder of what we went through during 9/11.
I want to assist the victims of this incident and help to rekindle the spirit of Mumbai internationally as we all have felt the suffering of Mumbai,” he said on a phone conversation from New York. “Naomi is a close friend and I am thrilled to do this together with her,” he added. His parents, Sant and Daman Chatwal, too, will be present in support of the cause. I must admit that this is quite a coup. This is as good as fashion gets when Naomi walks the ramp and gets her international designer friends to contribute as well. “Naomi lends a great deal of support and relief to different charitable causes through her initiative ‘Fashion for Relief’.
I was deeply impressed at her personal commitment to this one. Vikram’s gesture was the critical catalyst in putting this show together,” Ravi Krishnan, the recently re-appointed MD of the event management company, explained. Fern Mallis, (Senior Vice-President for its New York fashion division) and Ravi sowed the seed of this idea for the rehabilitation process after November through business and fashion.
“I was mortified after 26/11 and I knew I had to do something for Mumbai at Fashion Week this time,” Fern said. She was one of the main instruments in introducing Fashion Week to India. “This is the only industry I know that contributes generously and comes forth to support a needed cause,” Fern added, explaining how Naomi was keen on visiting India and mentioned it to her, at which point Fern put an idea forth to her.
Subsequently she bumped into Vikram at NY Fashion Week and ‘Mai Mumbai’ was borne with the help of Ravi and Mumbai Fashion Week. “I was amazed how Naomi got on the phone and called her designer friends to contribute to this cause.
She was so passionate about it!” As a result of which Mumbai Fashion Week is going to showcase fabulous creations sent by designers like YSL, Roberto Cavalli, Marthew Williamson, Donna Karan, Carolina Harrera, Isaac Mizrahi, Versace, Diane Von Fursenburg, Anna Sui amongst others. Manolo Blahnik, too, is sending a carton of shoes! These designs will be worn by, other than Naomi, personalities and celebrities from Bollywood, the world of sports and others. Jade Jagger too will be attending the event in support of this cause. Naomi who launched ‘Fashion for Relief’ in 2004 after Katrina, the hurricane that swept the US, has become a humanitarian, organising the energy of fashion at the right time and the right place, connecting people to make things happen. She said, “Fashion is personal and touches everyone in some way or the other and I hope through ‘Fashion for Relief’ we can pay a tribute to the victims of 26/11.”
As far as the Indian designer contingent is concerned, Anil Chopra, advisor, Mumbai Fashion Week, said, “We have invited designers across the board (regardless of where they show) to be a part of this initiative. It is about bringing the designer community together.” Well! So much for all this hullaballoo about the big designer divide. Hope we see the designers put their geographical egos aside and we see the great wall disintegrate at Mumbai Fashion Week on the ‘Mai Mumbai’ show for this passionate cause.