The view from front row (Picture for representation)
The view from front row (Picture for representation)

If you are new to the world of fashion and still fretting over your wardrobe, here’s a tip you must remember. While most people say wear a smile, in fashion it is advised otherwise; and, we would recommend wearing a “resting bitch face” aka RBF to the shows. Don’t be shocked as the RBF is the biggest trend at all major fashion weeks — the front row aka “frow” ladies like Vogue editor Anna Wintour, designer Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian etc are known to pull off this expression like nobody’s business. As the biggest fashion week in India organsied by Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) — Amazon India Fashion Week Spring /Summer 16 (AIFW SS16) — happens in Delhi from October 7 to 11, we speak to industry experts on the mystery behind the killer expression (strictly to be used on frows.

(Clockwise from top) Victoria Beckham, Kangana Ranaut and Anna Wintour show the perfect ice queen expression at major fashion weeks of the world.
(Clockwise from top) Victoria Beckham, Anna Wintour and Kangana Ranaut wear the perfect ice queen expression at fashion weeks.

A well-known front row critic and seasoned fashion journalist, Asmita Aggarwal, Editor, L’Officiel India, who is famous for her sharp articles and quite demeanor at the shows, gives her take on this. She says, “I think as a mark of respect to designers it is important to keep a straight face. As journalists we have a right to give our opinion, but exchanging notes, laughing, commenting loudly is just ungraceful. Also it doesn’t have to be a bitch face. You can be dignified and elegant.”
The RBF trend might work in the West but in Indian context it fails completely as we are very different culturally, points out Priya Kumari Rana, Executive Editor, Outlook Splurge. She mentions, “A few years back at the Milan Fashion Week I observed celebrity couple Daniela and Marco Materazzi on the front row — they were dressed impeccably and kept a poker face throughout the show, and I found it very chic and graceful. Some other celebs who maintain a straight face during shows are Kim Kardashian and Victoria Beckham, who take fashion very seriously. In West going to a fashion show is a very formal affair, where people make an effort to dress up and stand out. The celebrities who grace the front row try to hide behind their glasses and maintain a straight face as they don’t want be clicked when they are watching a show. Whereas, in India it is the opposite case as most front row guests preen to get clicked and they keep smiling at the camera.”
On the other hand, fashion designers are always excited to know what’s going on in the mind of the viewer. Designer Urvashi Kaur opines that she likes to get a feedback from buyers and media after her runway presentation. She says, “We work so hard on our themes and runway shows, so for us it’s always a matter of curiosity that who is attending our show. I recently did a show in Mumbai, where some Bollywood celebrities visited and after the show they discussed the styling and clothes in details. I was really surprised to see that there are many celebs who take fashion seriously, and they don’t attend shows just to get clicked but to actually watch and understand the trends we showcase.”
However, designer Samant Chauhan complains that a lot of things have changed in the fashion business in India, and a lot of people often rue about a good front row representation. “For us it is very important that we show our clothes to the right set of people. On the front row people who understand fashion and buy from us are slowly fading out. As designers we want to impress our front row critics, and that’s why when they smile or smirk at our clothes we know from their expressions that they like or dislike our collection.” Interestingly, for veteran model Amit Ranjan, the bitch face expressions are hardly a concern as he says that while walking the runway the only thing that goes on in his head is to rock the show. He says, “Some legendary fashionistas are famous for their RBFs and even when they see great clothes on runway they hardly smile. I have come across that particular look a couple of times, and it’s almost as good as expressionless.”
Talking about the fashion show etiquette and expressions, stylist and image consultant Vikram Seth opines, “The Resting Bitch Face or RBF is not a trend actually, it’s the way serious fashion followers look at shows. Most of the fashion journalists, editors and front row guests are not at the show for entertainment; they take notes and understand clothes very well, so they are at work. Those who are giggling, shooting or taking selfies on the front row are not people who are imbibed in fashion. In West, fashion is a serious business and those who attend the shows look at it with great attentions and interest.”
However, Vasundhara Kumar, chief communications officer at Contemporary Connect, gives a PR point of view and says that the RBF could be just another other trend which is here today, gone tomorrow. “Remember when everyone started calling each other basic bitch. In public relation we come across way to many snooty women, but honestly I don’t think they can help being a bitch. It’s just the way their face looks under 20,000 layers of makeup. “The frow” as they like to be referred to are just a group of self-proclaimed social influencers, designers and buyers.” she sums up.
~ JB

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