“Those who understand that failure is inextricably linked with achievement are the ones who learn, grow, and ultimately do well. Learn to fail, or fail to learn.” – Tal Ben-Shahar
Much like the Indian cricket team, Indian divas at Cannes have a heavy burden to shoulder. They carry the aspirations and expectations of a billion people along with them on their first-class airline seats. They must wear garments not entirely of their own choice – a whole lot of strategic branding, advertising and styling science go into each outfit or jewel they finally wear. They must appear to be completely comfortable and at ease in often outlandish garments and high heels that would make a lesser mortal trip on the word go. They must smile no matter how itchy or stiff the garment. They must radiate energy and charm no matter how exhausted they feel after hours of travel. And heaven forbid if the eyeliner is out of place or the lipstick exceeds its brief – the tabloids will have a great day.
But what the general Indian public often does not realize is that the photos they see in the papers or on the websites don’t represent the complete picture. Fashion is more than what you wear; it is a trick of a camera lens and what you are seen wearing. Angles make a whole lot of difference – from flattering your curves to making you look bumpy in all the wrong places. Lighting can take you from rosy to ruin. And clothes that look perfectly fabulous on the ramp can sometimes let you down in horrible ways on the red carpet.
Metallic hues are the trickiest – you just don’t know how they are going to photograph in day versus night, in natural light versus camera flash. Makeup too is dependent on similar variables – and you can also add sunburn or sweat to the hazard factor. In today’s world of high-definition TV and Photoshop, you are risking your career if you are anything other than a plastic mannequin and are seen on the red carpet with a regular woman’s wrinkles, marks and facial hair. And there is absolutely no precaution one can take against being snapped in an awkward position – isn’t a woman allowed to blink, frown, yawn, slouch or stretch herself once in a while? Nope, not if you’re an Indian actress on the streets of Cannes during the film festival.
As insiders in the fashion industry, we know for sure that none of these intrepid women have set out to be a fashion disaster. Like the cricketer who drops that crucial catch during the last over of a tournament, sometimes these women are simply caught in the wrong light, literally. If anything, we must salute their brave spirit in stepping out into an unfamiliar territory in fearless fashion. They are the ones who lead the path, who represent the best of Indian beauty. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail. But as John W. Gardner says, “There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure – all your life.”
Let us celebrate these women, their fashion, and their courage in risking failure. They are doing more for Indian fashion and designers than anyone else in the media, government or industry. It is better to try and then fail rather than sit in front of our TVs and computer screens and criticise others who do.
That goes for cricket junkies too.