While fashion shows are notorious for promoting a skewed body image perception, this year’s Lakme India Fashion Week (LFW) held in Mumbai broke that stereotype. Carol Gracias, a popular Indian model, walked the ramp revealing a baby bump.
Gracias showcased a pink-green khadi jamdani sari with a jacket-styled blouse by designer Gaurang Shah for his Calico line.
But all the attention was on her bold move, when she gracefully walked down the ramp and stole the show with her confidence.
Indian media is laden with advertisements that stress on being fair with spotless skin and long shiny hair to be the ‘perfect’ woman. It deeply affects young girls and what they think of themselves and their bodies. In a 2012 study, Indian girls were found to base their ideas of perfection on physical attributes such as weight, colour of skin, and height, among other anthropometric measurements. Those who perceived themselves to be fair, thin and of an ideal height, had a better body image satisfaction, as compared to those who thought they were overweight. In a country where body-shaming is all too prevalent, this move by Gracias could be the start to a new awareness among the youth.
It could dispel the idea that to be a fashion model, one has to be thin, tall and flawless.
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Gaurang Shah too wants to change the perception that fashion displayed on the ramp has to be relevant only to thin and tall models. He revolutionised the Indian sari to suit women of all sizes and shapes with innovative styles. In a quote to The Hindu, he said, “I am definitely delighted because I have always designed keeping the real woman in mind. And this has reiterated that.” The team found out only three days before the fitting that she was pregnant. Gracias didn’t mind walking the ramp, so Gaurang and his stylist thought that she could wear a gown. “But my choreographer Lubna Adams felt Carol would look better in a sari.”
“She beautifully carried both my design theme and her bump. Since I was backstage, I couldn’t fathom the excitement that her appearance generated.”
Carol Gracias would be the first Indian to break the mould and walk the ramp as a soon-to-be-mom. Early last year, Italian model Bianca Balti was in the news for being seven months pregnant while walking the ramp, along with other pregnant models. This was an initiative by the Dolce & Gabbana at the Milan Fashion Week 2015, in a show titled ‘Viva la mamma’, or Hurray For Mothers. Models who showcased the autumn/winter collection for mothers also included several who brought their little toddlers along.