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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Probe into Mumbai fashion gaffes

By Monica Chadha
BBC News, Mumbai

Carol Gracias
Carol Gracias covers up after her top slipped off
Police in India's Maharashtra state say controversial Janet Jackson-style "wardrobe malfunctions" during Mumbai (Bombay) fashion week were accidents.

The event organisers were accused of planning two incidents, when models apparently had problems with their clothes, to generate publicity.

In one incident, model Carol Gracias' halter top slipped, leaving her breasts completely exposed.

In another, a model's skirt zip split, leaving her bare bottom visible.


Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil requested an investigation after some legislators raised the issue in the state assembly.

Model at Mumbai fashion week
Protesters say designs like this offend Indian culture

Mr Patil now says the police inquiry has shown that the two incidents were not planned. And he has commended the models for covering themselves up quickly.

A senior leader of the right wing Shiv Sena party, Pramod Navalkar, was among the legislators upset not just by the two controversial incidents, but by the whole tone of last week's event.

"In these fashion shows the majority of the body was exposed and very little was covered," Mr Navalkar told the BBC.

"Such exploitation of a woman's body for commercial purposes is not acceptable to us."

Mr Navalkar said he believed the "wardrobe malfunction" incidents were planned, so that an inquiry was needed.

"I am keen on women's organisations getting together and protesting... the sanctity of Indian culture should be maintained," he said.

'Too embarrassing'

Fashion designer Anita Dongre expressed surprise at the inquiry.

"It is clearly a case of a fastener coming off on the ramp, it cannot be intentional. It's too embarrassing and awkward for a designer to have these kind of accidents during his or her show."

Model's skirt splits during the show
The model hastily covers up after her zip split

Ms Dongre also said the incidents could have been avoided had a little more attention been given to the kind of designers being allowed to participate in the fashion week.

"Today, where every housewife is a self-proclaimed designer, a little discretion would have helped keep quality in check and such instances could have been controlled."

However, the style editor of the national daily Indian Express newspaper, Namrata Sharma Zakaria, is pleased about the inquiry.

"I don't think the incidents were deliberate but I think someone needs to be pulled up and made to apologise for this.

"There is no excuse for shoddy clothes and such kind of accidents during a nationally telecast event should not happen.

"I went and spoke to organisers soon after the incident but their attitude was one of nonchalance and they said this happens all the time," Ms Zakaria said.

"They should have raised questions much before the government got involved."

American singer Janet Jackson came in for widespread criticism when one of her breasts was exposed during the 2004 Super Bowl.

She said it was an accident. Her designer famously commented that it was caused by a "a malfunction of the wardrobe".

See the wardrobe malfunction at the Mumbai show

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