It’s a sight rarely seen in an Indian show — a 27-year-old cross-dressing belly dancer walking down the ramp in a girly strapless pink gown, hunching his broad shoulders like a seasoned model. When Harish Kumar aka Queen Harish from the fabulous ruins of Jaisalmer took a bow with designer Hemant Sagar and socialite Priya Chatwal, the audience erupted into an ecstatic applause.
While some praised the mischievous and cheeky idea by designer duo Lecoanet-Hemant, critics and fashionistas alike twittered about the simmering element of homosexuality running through the show. Even designer Rohit Bal, watching from the sidelines, cracked into a smile. “I wasn’t intimidated in the least. I know how to handle myself,” gushed Queen Harish, blinking at the television cameras surrounding him. He added with a smile, “I taught the models some belly dancing moves backstage.” Queen Harish has performed as a belly dancer all over the world.
Lecoanet-Hemant’s show offered distinct looks, and told a story with a photographer-stylist Francois Matthys walking the ramp, and even Sagar’s factory caretaker Mohan, in a bellboy uniform, juggling five bags, took a shy turn. Sagar himself swaggered down with ease.The creations included a monsoon coat fashioned out of recycled plastic and a decadent Maharaja look, with some fantastically embroidered jackets. Sagar, however, looked chic in a very basic black suit. When asked whether he was attempting to mainstream homosexuality with a male belly dancer on centre stage at his show, Sagar retorted tersely, “Every sex is part of the world. If you don’t want to see reality, then close your eyes.