Age may have bent his shoulders and withered his smile, but you can’t miss the twinkle in Puran Singh’s eyes when he talks about fashion. Backstage in the make-up room, he is the busiest and probably also the oldest. After all, he is a veteran, and has handled the most expensive clothes for the last 20 years. Puran is a master ‘Iron Man’, no not the flying variety, but he is a pro at ironing!
And not one to shy away from the truth, Puran will tell you that the zari work and embroideries of Rohit Khosla were spectacular. “I am a big fan of Hemant Trivedi, there is no one like him,” he confesses.
“I’m not saying that the new kids on the block are not good, I prefer the times when Rohit used to have shows at Hauz Khas Village, those times were different,” he wistfully adds.
As the backstage madness begins, Mickey Contractor has things in control, 33 years in the business have taught him that losing his cool is not an option. Just before Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra’s show, the room is buzzing with almost 90-odd people and blinding lights. Almost 40 for make-up and hair, 32 models, 3-4 extra models, eight movers and packers, six ironing men, backstage manager and her team of six, plus, FDCI team of four. Phew!!!
Dressed in all black, Mickey looks tired, but inspired as he works on model Candice Pinto, who has specially flown down for Manish Malhotra’s show, just for a day, after the hectic LFW.
“I do almost 20-30 girls for each show, it does get tiring. We start by 2:00 pm in the afternoon and wind up by 12 pm, so it is a long day. But when you really enjoy what you do, time flies,” he smiles.
Mickey has come heavily ‘armed’ with two teams for M.A.C, and says, this year, the highlight is understated elegance. “Except for Varun Bahl’s show where we did a red mouth, the rest was pretty simple, as ensembles too are focusing more black and ivory and are not over-the-top,” he says.
A true believer in teamwork, Mickey sits down with designers creates a face chart, mostly two options based on the reference pictures sent by the designer, and leaves it to them to decide the final look. “We do get inspired by international trends, but we never copy, we prefer to create our own forecasts,” he clarifies.
For Varun, it was simple—a red mouth, double liner, reminiscent of yesteryear star Rekha’s 80s-90s look. “We kept it pretty classic, not graphic, in fact it was hi-fashion and glamorous,” he says.
But each designer has his own mood board, Anamika Khanna preferred a gelled ponytail, and nude mouth. While Anju Modi wanted to reflect a Bengali bride, so there were tiny white dots on the forehead. The usually flamboyant Manish Arora, this time decided to do a U-turn and opt for transparent lip gloss, so times have certainly changed.
“For the eyes, we have mostly used blacks or browns, avoided colour and except for Shantanu and Nikhil where we have given big hair, most of the hairstyles are updos, unlike Manish, who wanted a no-fuss, straight hair look,” explains Mickey.
As models get ready to strut their stuff for the PCJ Delhi Couture Week, the 10-odd people in the console are monitoring their every move. Last minute touch ups are added. And Candice Pinto is ready to wow the overflowing MSA in an ornate Manish Malhotra lehenga as she takes a deep breath and steps on stage, with a smile.