Battling my way out of office on a lazy Monday, I somehow managed to rush to Day 2 of Fashion Pakistan Week. I was really glad to be seated next to my new-found social media circle in the coveted front row. It was really good to note that somehow the organizers had sorted out issues with photographers that were trampling our feet on Day 1. There were less issues with seating arrangements, lighting on the ramp was thankfully fixed as well. So kudos to the team!! Bravo!
The first designer to showcase at FPW on 2nd day was Sanam Chaudhry, she made a great comeback after the horrendous eye sore of a neon themed collection last season (remember the whole Mathira wardrobe malfunction incident, bingo). Thankfully she learned the lesson, this time around her clothes were heavily inspired with Japanese influences like origami folds on dresses,the silhouette was feminine yet the fit accentuated by large belts cinching it at the waist made sure pieces maintained their structure on the shoulders. Models wore big rectangular earrings and the make-up + hair styled in tight topknots made sure the dresses shined on their own.
Menswear being my forte, had me really excited for Arsalan & Yahseer. I loved their last collection which was based on bright colours and traditional Sindhi appliqué technique called ‘Tukka’. But all my high hopes went up in smoke as their first model walked in. Most of the pieces seemed as if they were bought from those tacky Saddar leather jackets shops. To my great dismay eventually all models one by one walked out in costumes from the film Zoolander. It was pleather, faux shearling, faux suede, and the pants so tight it felt pornographic to even look at them. To further rub salt into my sore wounds there were fake animal prints of pleather everything. Sorry guys while Deepak & Fahad rose from ashes on Day 1, this menswear designer duo made a bee line to trash! The only thing their ugly fake shearling related to was upcoming Bakra Eid!
3rd in the lineup was Aamir Baig, his collection was pretty banal consisted mainly of black ensembles with gold screen prints of oriental motifs. There were jumpsuits, vests, pants and even small skirts. Gave me a feeling chinese eatery upholstery. The pieces were really commercial and almost had young feel to them. Some of them were good but seemed like fashion student’s thesis as none of them had the savoir faire of a masterpiece. For me Baig was banal! I was more engrossed in listening to Destroy Everything you touch soundtrack that was playing in the background.(Which is not a good sign)
Bani D, the sisters showed a collection which had a good mix of old and new. Theme was a mix of traditional Pashtun frocks, Sindhi embroidery motifs and quirky take on Punjabi jewellery. For footwear it seemed to have taken inspiration from classic Victorian era boots. The motifs were taken from south Asian architectural elements e.g. wood carvings in mosques and mausoleums.The pieces had an amazing potential to be mixed and matched as separates. Some of the girls also carried traditional woven straw fans as accessories probably reminding us of electricity load shedding. All and all it somehow managed to uplift from the design disasters earlier. Sania Saeed walked for Bani D inviting a roar of applause from the attendees, and she eventually got Most Stylish Person award for the day.Go figure!
Debenhams, the British retailer who recently opened up its first store in Pakistan presented its F/W collection slated to hit the shelves in upcoming winters. The show started with printed lounge dresses fit for a beach which led me to question whether these clothes are for fall and winter in the first place. Then as it progressed further there were orange hued pants, few dark woolen jumpers, fitted motorcycle jackets for men and the quintessential scarf print dresses for women that managed to grasp my attention. They had very well copied D&G, Valentino and Neil Barrett. Towards the very end they presented few elegant evening wear options for both men and women i.e. tea rose colored cocktail dresses and a classic black faux tuxedo. So I know where my upcoming salary is going! (But I wonder what is the point of showing a foreign commercial brand in a Pakistani themed fashion show? )
The designer I had been looking forward to the most at FPW was Zaheer Abbas, I had seen his collection in photos but this was the first time I could appreciate his magnificently sublime designs in all their glory. Lights dimmed, the first model appeared and I was all fixated. The theme was long white flowy long skirts and gowns which were fitted along the shoulders and chest. This collection seemed to be a transition from the designer’s famed drapery skills. This new emphasis on structure was certainly remarkable. Some of the dresses had minimal embroidery of champagne colour while others had mesh panel on the back that managed to add just the right amount of excitement.Hair were tied neatly, tucked into hats that seemed a lot like traditional Ukranian straw hats. Make-up was also kept clean, the only emphasis being the bold tangerine+red lip.
The coveted finale spot was filled by the King of Textures Adnan Pardesy. He has proved time and time again that designs don’t need to have blindingly intricate embroideries or fancy embellishments to make them look exquisite. This collection also reiterated the same belief, it started with interesting mix of colours, and the textures of the garment really stood out. The jackets, shrugs, tight pants all had bright coloured accents that are indigenous to our culture but they were mixed and matched in ingenious way. The models wore 22k beaten gold jewellery that added to this rustic/organic sophistication theme to it. The hues and patterns of embroidery kept up the youthfulness of it all. Again a great number of pieces you could wear with your own jeans or pants perhapls. Practical, slightly rustic yet filled with a lot of fun colourful pieces.
The shows were rather a rollercoaster having a good deal of highs and lows. Although I wish more of these designers made menswear.