First Published: Before August 2002
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
Indian men are becoming increasingly beauty and fashion conscious following the influence of David Beckham. The line between men and women's clothing is becoming ever thinner, reports OutUK correspondent Vinay Krishna Rastogi from Lucknow, and it seems a male fashion revolution is around the corner in India.
The Lakme India Fashion Week 2002 which opened on August 3 in New Delhi was not setting trends when men walked down the ramp wearing ghagras and sarees usually worn by Indian women. It was a trend bender. Many male models displaying designer dresses wore skirts and lingerie to loud booing by the glitterati, especially high-society champagne-gulping females. The ramp in the ballroom of Hotel Taj Palace at New Delhi witnessed male models wearing low waist and tight-fit jeans traditionally reserved for women.

The credit for making traditionally girlie fashion acceptable to men goes to David Beckham. His revelation that he liked wearing his wife Victoria's lingerie was aped by several male models at the Lakme India Fashion Week.

A model displays an outfit by designer Rohit Bal.(AFP)
Model Ajay Balthara created a sensation while giving a show of his pubic hair with real low-slung golden G-strings as women and girls belonging to the crème de la crème of Indian society giggled, clapped and booed. Women were seen smiling while some men found it "disgusting!"

Day One at Lakme India Fashion Week (LIFW) opened with a revelation with men in Lehangas. Designers made male models walk on the ramp in traditional Indian women's clothing with precious little to cover their assets as women watched them with amusement.

Explaining her line, fashion-designer Anjana said "In Shakespearean time men dressed as women. It's a spoof on Shakespeare." Model David Gaden seemed relatively unperturbed as a group of girls giggled uncontrollably at the sight of his pierced nipples.

Apart from clothing, an increasing number of men are going for facials, massages and even plastic surgery and the beauty industry is taking notice of this change. Salons in Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and other big cities have started providing extra large beds to ensure that even rugby player-sized men do not fall off during massage, wax or a facial. Not only cyclists, athletes, body-builders and swimmers but men from other walks of life are going for waxing which has become a rage.

Outfits by Indian designer Kiran Uttam Ghosh. (AFP)
Like women, even men prefer a soothing facial at the end of a hard week. The changing trend can be easily gauged by the sheer number of cosmetic products for men now available on the Indian market. Men are willing to shell out hefty sums for liposuction to tighten flabby waists and broadening backsides and injections to remove lines. Popular male plastic surgery procedures include the forehead brow lift, facelift and neck lift and the treatment of male breasts, nose and ear reshaping, pectoral and calf implants.

While male grooming may be a more common phenomenon the macho stigma attached to beauty salons is still a deterrent for the Indian male. Many men who seek services of grooming request a private salon where women cannot see them. One make-up artist told me "An increasing number of men are now becoming less averse to the idea of using make-up to enhance their looks. They use skin tone bases to cover redness caused by shaving or pimple outbreaks. They use lip gloss to highlight their mouth and mascara to darken their eyebrows." ©EPN


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