August 2, 2015 Tanya Banon


There’s no business like show business; and in the fashion space it’s the choreographer who runs the show. A candid conversation with Aparna Bahl reveals the colossal task that goes on behind the scenes.

IMG_9477Your firm is known for your choreography and professionalism in the industry. Aparna, how does that make you feel?

When I’m working, I see a job for what it is, I don’t do it for the glory or recognition.
Hard work is what excites me, and I am the queen of my own work. lf I’ve done a good job at work then I feel on top of the world, but if I don’t then I just can’t sleep at night. I don’t believe in judging myself, some days you’re on top and sometimes you find yourself down and out. I want to be known as someone who is reliable and hard working around the industry.

The fashion industry wasn’t so organised when you started your firm, tell us about how it has grown over the two decades you have been in the business.Back in the day there was very little organised talent or organised business in this field. Now everything is streamlined and on cue, there are departments for everything, from stylists, to lighting, technicians, make up artists, hair experts, scenographers, set designers. Fifteen years ago we had a couple of models, a few artists and choreographers, but today we have line machines, editing teams, set designers etc. We were lucky to have been at the right time and the right place; we saw the opportunity and took it. That was when people in the fashion industry were willing to grow, explore and experiment.  A few menswear designers were taking center stage at the time as were young designers, we were right in the middle of it, saw an opportunity for change and grabbed it. Those teams that were created back then have now flourished into professional firms and we have nurtured talent to help launch designers, artists, technical teams and even modelling agencies like Elite. Now you can run six or seven or even ten shows simultaneously all over the country, of course not of the same scale but nonetheless all at same time. The fashion industry has definitely grown and is no longer limited to couture or advertising, which it had relied on heavily some ten years ago. There is a lot more to do in this space today.

Talent then and now?

Like I said the fashion space has gown leaps and bounds, and with it the scope for work has increased manifold. Take beauty and hair which had only a handful of experts in the field. Now the beauty industry has exploded with fashion glossies, advertising, movies, designers so a lot of new artists are a pleasure to work with as well. Earlier we really didn’t have models they were more like divas. Today there are thousands of aspiring models and each of them is extremely conscientious about their figures, skin and attitude. Modelling is no more a taboo and the industry is exposed to a lot more. Even culturally today we have an extremely diversified model pool with girls from all over the world.

Who or what inspires your creativity.

For a creative person like myself there is no one inspiration that does it. I get inspired by a multitude of things and ideas. It could be sitting on my window sill watching the rain or a classical concert, a trip to the museum or even playing with my child. Ideas and inspiration come from anything but if I had to pin it down to just one then I confess I do love music a lot. It clears my thinking and musical inspirations are my strongest.

What details go into the making of an exemplary show.

One has to know when to instinctively stop, overdoing or underplaying something doesn’t work. There needs to be a very fine balance between these two aspects. Like balance is needed in life so is it required in the fashion business.  One needs to balance great music, sets, a whole lot of models and add to it a lot of good energy. Energy and attitude are very important, one negative person can destroy the whole production.

Tell us about your most memorable show

There are plenty, we have done shows for Rohit sand Rahul, Sunnet Varma, Manish Arora etc. But Manish Arora’s first ever show was the most memorable. All of us to pulled out all the stops, literally, each of us called in all our favours, scourged all our money and put in so much work and energy that everyone from models, designers, technicians, artists came together with sheer camaraderie. We shed tears of joy when it was wrapped up, Arora acknowledged everyone on stage. That was one of my most emotional moments ever.

What tip would you like to share with upcoming models?

You can be good-looking but you have to be disciplined, at the end of the day professionalism plays a big part in how you are viewed. An unprofessional attitude doesn’t take you too far. A lot of models have been in the business for years, its because of their discipline and their ability to keep reinventing themselves. You need to have a good balance and know your limits, don’t misbehave and have the right attitude. Also today models need to be concise about their skin and bodies, they need to look after it and pay attention, that;s what they get a check for at the end of the day so they need to respect it and take care of it.

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