The first day of Fashion Pakistan Week (FPW) had a good start and ended well enough – but how does that excuse the collections that were showcased in the middle?
More than ever, one felt that the Fashion Pakistan Council (FPC) hadn’t paid much attention to editing the good from the bad.
Several years ago, this may still have been somewhat admissible, given that the fashion industry was still gathering its bearings. Now, though, we have accelerated to times when fashion’s on a high.
The PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Week (PLBW) last month delivered umpteen hits, Elan just orchestrated a gorgeous independent show in Lahore and just this weekend, Faraz Manan has flown solo in London showcasing his latest, Viceroy.
In contrast, the fluctuating fashion that ran rampant on the first day of FPW merely made the council look bad. It’s all well and good to promote new talent but don’t extend your platform for the truly ghastly.
Moreover, implausibly, a segment was dedicated to an upcoming sob-fest Kosem Sultan to be aired on Urdu1, FPW’s Media partner. The council’s worked hard and long to boost fashion – why, one wonders, did it choose to deride its credibility by selling out to a TV soap?
Here’s what went down:
Amir Adnan harnessed the global trend of smart casual menswear by mixing things up in his ‘The Way Forward’.
Sherwanis were paired with chinos, jackets, pants and shirts were fashioned from printed knit-wear, there were classic winter leather jackets and formals accessoried with sneakers and suede shoes. Casuals that could also masquerade as formals and vice versa. A particular sherwani caught the eye, worn over white linen pants with black paint-splatters in print.
Refreshingly, embroideries were kept to a minimal and the color palette was wintry, dominated by monochromatic black and white and deep browns. There was also plenty of layering: jackets with linen shirts underneath and casual scarves.
Stylish, clean, well-cut, without all the fripperies that have lately made local menswear look nonsensical – these were clothes that one could see selling well from Adnan’s retail stores.
Also, actor Feroze Khan, the celebrity showstopper for the show, has never looked savvier.
The leather jackets, blazers and sherwanis were particular highs; the Western tuxes, cravats and bow-tie, not so much.
Maheen Karim grooves to a slinky, glamorous tune. She cuts with finesse, deftly dabbles with structure and understands silhouettes that flatter. She masters the balance between bling and sobriety, creates funky prints and mixes them with black and gold and plays with three-dimensional florals. And winter’s her season, when she dresses her niche market in ball gowns and dresses.
It’s true that one can easily predict the designs that will dominate a Maheen Karim show but then again, the designer’s forte lies in the sophistication of her cut and palette rather than the surprise element.
Her trailing capes, jackets, embroidered velvet pants and sequined gowns came together in a smash-hit, absolutely luxe line-up.
Mona Imran’s debut at FPW was titled ‘Gold rush’ and true to its name, there was en effusion of gold on the catwalk.
‘Wedding festive’ rather than winter formals, there were saris, lehngas, blouses with shoulder cut-outs, kaftans, gharara pants and cut-worked shirts, all embellished with – you guessed it – loads of golden sequins. Although the colors were pretty enough, the fit was not. The embellishments, similarly, required better finishing and had nothing new to offer.
Retail-wise, one may consider it a collection that will appeal to a clientele that enjoys conventional wedding-wear. But to be truly fashion-forward, Mona now needs to work on the finesse of her craftsmanship and stitching. The highlight of the show: the petite Sajjal Ali carrying off a red gharara beautifully.
What a catastrophe this collection was.
The fit was wrong, the fur necklines were wrong and there were tasseled sequins dangling from wherever they pleased – even from models’ chest areas, creating a strange ‘curtain’ of sorts.
Sobia Nazir’s yearly lawn collection is very popular. She should stick to that.
The ‘Kosem Sultan’ costumery
FPW’s media partner Urdu1 is just about to begin airing a new Turkish sob-fest called Kosem Sultan and to create awareness about it, they enlisted designers Amir Adnan and Shamaeel Ansari to create costumes inspired by the soap.
One wonders what prompted the Fashion Pakistan Council to agree to let a Turkish soap, dubbed in Urdu, to be advertised quite so extensively on their runway. And as media partner, Urdu1 needs to respect fashion weeks as business events rather than a means to air out extended ads of an upcoming soap and present a prolonged segment dedicated to costumery.
It was costumery, then, that Amir Adnan and Shamaeel Ansari presented; although some of the clothes did hold retail potential. Of course, Amir Adnan has always had a flair for working regal undertones in menswear and Shamaeel’s work often seeks out Ottoman inspirations.
The womenswear created by Shamaeel came layered with varied fabrics, ruffled, tasseled, embroidered; quite complicated but ultimately, princessy. Amir Adnan’s dramatic military shirt for Hasnain Lehri and black on black embroidered sherwanis worn by some of the other models gelled in well with the overall theme.
The belted long Ottoman robe and the regal head-gear/pope hat worn by Shehzad Noor, though, elicited quite a few laughs.
When fashion week melds into theatre, a business event bows down to marketing gimmicks and Kosem Sultan meets Halloween, it’s bound to happen. FPC, don’t do this to your platform; Urdu1 promote the business of fashion the way it should be.
Suffuse by Sana Yasir
Yet another bridal-wear collection, Sana Yasir presented heavily-worked formals.
The sari worn by her showstopper, Momal Sheikh, was beautiful. There were also plenty of peplums, heavy duty lehngas, flared gharara pants and long shirts. A good collection but not a fashion week-worthy one, being far too reminiscent of clothes that one has seen on catwalks before.
Sana Yasir needs to refine her aesthetic and develop a signature of her own in order to stand out – right now, she blends in far too easily.
Jeem by Hamza Bokhari
Again, this was wedding-wear following the same generic routes with silhouette and craft. Sari pants, lehngas, boat-necked blouses, capes and peplums have been around forever and Hamza Bokhari needed to delve into more distinctive territory.
There were some gorgeous colors: the multi-colored lehnga worn by Hira Tareen and the long blue sleeveless shirt, split down the centre to reveal flared yellow pants. Nevertheless, nothing new – quite a common crib all through the first day of FPW.
Then, after an influx of wedding-wear, there was HSY for the finale. And thank God for HSY, because he uncharacteristically veered away from bling and yet, presented a line that was high on glam. Onyx was all black, constructed with hand-textured fabric that varied from leather to suede, velvet, crinkle chiffon, silk, organza and taffeta.
One spotted velvet quilting, basket-weaves, hand-made buttons with the ‘OX’ Onyx logo upon them and block-prints. There were also accessories that are soon going to be stocked at HSY’s burgeoning number of retail stores: casual slouch bags, duffel bags and fanny bags.
The silhouettes varied: full-sleeved jumpsuits, slouchy shirts belted at the waist, organza wraps, exaggerated chooridar pants and a multitude of ruffles.
It was very dramatic and yet, seen separately, the clothes were wearable statement-makers.
A far cry from his bridal ‘The Kingdom’ last month at PLBW, Onyx exemplified how Shero is diversifying within his atelier.
A great finale to a more or less lackluster day for fashion.
All photographs by Movie Shoovy