Just because everyone in the fashion industry is familiar with designer Rohit Bal’s dance-trot on the ramp when he takes a bow, doesn’t make it any less endearing. Bal, who is fond of dancing anyway, is always in the mood for fun when his clothes (they usually receive a hearty applause) are out there, the models are all heady with cheer and it is time to say thank you. He dances in abandon, often pulling in with him the showstopper and the models. At these moments, Bal’s face is lashed with joy and pride, his unending smiles connected only by laughter.

How a particular designer takes a bow at the end of a show has always fascinated me. The bow-taking ritual is, to some extent, revelatory of mindset, mood and a designer’s sense of self in public. Also, when there is a duo (and there are so many designer duos in India), it is a moment to spot the similarity, the difference and the chemistry.

In complete contrast to Bal’s effervescence is Rajesh Pratap Singh’s disappearing act. Blink and he is gone, he doesn’t even step on to the ramp and only manages a reluctant, half-smile from the far end of the stage. However, his wife Payal Pratap—who made her debut only last season and has, both times, shown admirable collections—takes it with a big smile without looking too caught up by it. She genuinely seems to enjoy the moment and walks out looking suitably happy. As do husband and wife pair Pankaj and Nidhi Ahuja. Pankaj usually waits for Nidhi to fall in step, playing both–the chivalrous husband and perhaps giving away the fact that she also wears the trousers in their partnership.

Designer David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore taking a bow at WIFW awards 2013.

Do men behave differently? You bet. Firstly, most male designers dress in black. Tarun Tahiliani always does and while he enjoys his bow-taking moment, he doesn’t dominate it. He is very gracious with his showstoppers and if there is someone like Shilpa Shetty, he would hold her affectionately by the waist. Meher Rampal is his all-time muse and favourite and it’s easy to see the chemistry and respect between them.

Younger designers–usually a woolly mix of excitement, tentativeness, curiosity and pride–seem to be figuring out a cross between their work and their sense of self. Paromita Banerjee walked out confidently with her models, looked humble and sorted. Whereas Shivan and Narresh were thrilled to bits. Especially Narresh–fastidious in a formal jacket with an infectious grin.

There are many such stories. The expression changes when there is a celebrity showstopper. The designer has little choice but to walk alongside. Most love the attention anyway. Like Surily Goel this time with Preity Zinta or Manish Malhotra with Jacqueline Fernandes. Malhotra is always happy to walk out, often in very well-tailored clothes, if not the most well-fitting jeans in Mumbai or Delhi! Then there is Sabyasachi who has sometimes—after first walking with Vidya Balan, Rani Mukherjee or Sridevi—taken a bow with his whole team–craftspeople, managers, junior designers and assistant hinting at the importance of team work.

It’s an insightful theatre of non-verbal communication. Like an unspoken status message.