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EXCLUSIVE: Backstage at Naeem Khan's show

Last updated on: March 25, 2013 18:26 IST

EXCLUSIVE: Backstage at Naeem Khan's show

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It was the show that everyone was waiting for. Naeem Khan, the Mumbai boy who struck gold in the US was back to where he belonged, showing in his hometown for the very first time.Rediff.com's Uttam Ghosh was backstage watching as the action unfolded.

It has been a long day for everyone. Members of the press are at the venue for over 12 hours every day at the very least. Models put in almost as many hours and it is just Day Two. The stress the young girls face is unimaginable. Most of them are in their early 20s and the schedule is demanding.

Often, their day begins long before the journalists or the PR team walks into the media centre and involves sitting hours before the mirror getting their hair done followed by their make-up, getting into the dress, doing a rehearsal before finally walking for the show. This goes on in the loop through the day.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/ Rediff.com
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Born in what was then called Bombay, Khan is the son of Sharfuddin Khan Zariwala who runs a large embroidery business in Mumbai.

At 20 he travelled to the US with his father in the hope of studying design. Instead he ended up being an apprentice to Halston, the legendary minimalist designer. The rest is fashion history.

Seen here are some of the pieces that are waiting for the models to get into.

Alsoe see:
Pix: Indian-born designer rocks New York runway!
First look: Indian-born designer dresses Michelle Obama


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For now, things backstage are peaceful. The madness that you hear designers talking about is yet to begin.

It is a womenswear line and the girls are still getting their hair and make-up done. There is music playing but in spite of the quiet, the place has the air of a beehive, people going about doing their jobs.

When the girls are ready, they will get into dresses that have their names on it. This one is marked for Olga Torovik.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/ Rediff.com
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A pair of shoes waits to be worn. It won't be long before the footwear becomes the models' worst nightmare come true.


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A young model gets pampered and made up before she steps out of the green room.


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A team of hair stylists and make-up artists are busy at work. The team, like the models, is divided into two -- each in charge of every alternate show.

Most hairstylists are middle-age women who are pretty good at their jobs. Everyone works silently and efficiently. This is a well-oiled machine at work.


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Sangya Lakhanpal is one of the first ones to be ready. As the others get ready, she takes a breather.

She will soon head to a briefing following which she'll get into the dress with her name on it and walk for the final time today.


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It may be a prestigious thing having the opportunity to walk the ramp for a designer of Naeem Khan's status but it is far more intense than anyone can imagine.

These moments will be some of the few relaxing ones before the girls hit the ramp. Then for about 20 minutes when the show begins, time will fly and all the young models will have to do is try to catch up.


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Just a little more perhaps? An unknown make-up artist works patiently on a model's face.


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Naeem Khan has returned backstage after taking a quick break and as has requested a rehearsal with music -- just as you would see it finally, only without the dresses.

It has been decided that the models will walk in from the left of the ramp and step out from the left.

Not seen in the picture but at the head of the ramp, Khan stands alongside the choreographer who is constantly giving instructions to the girls, telling them that they must 'feel the clothes' and think of themselves as fashion divas who are walking the red carpet.

Occasionally she says words of encouragement. Khan watches silently as one model after another emerges from the wings and walks back.


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As glamorous as they are on the ramp, the moment they enter the wings, almost all models stumble.

High heeled and narrow at the front, the shoes they are wearing are far from comfortable. They shoes don't spare even the most seasoned models.


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It's showtime. Well almost. As the girls finally get into the dresses they are supposed to walk in, a make-up artist gives the final touches.


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Minutes before the show in walks yet another Mumbai-born celebrity!

Freida Pinto is town. Even though she won't walk the ramp, the Hollywood star is here to show her support for Naeem Khan.

She is dressed in a one-shouldered black dress from the very same collection that Khan showed.


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Polite, charming and utterly adorable, Pinto told us about why she loved Naeem's designs, her favourite restaurant in Mumbai and the films we can expect her to see in the coming months.

Her boyfriend Dev Patel isn't accompanying her this time around because he's busy shooting the second season of the Aaron Sorkin show The Newsoom in the US.


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A nip here, a tuck there and we're set to go. After the hours spent in getting their make-up and hair right and the years of preparation that the girls have put in to become models, it will all finally come down to this one moment.

Soon, the music will start and the girls will get their cue and one after another they will step out of the backstage area into the bright lights.


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