Ayesha Hashwani is one of those luxury designers who has had much luck on the retail front rather than ramp. Her designs are what women swear by and with her latest store being opened, she finally has had more than a sell-out exhibition to cater to only increasing her fan base. Her collection nevertheless displayed the luxury charm that she is associated with , one that is bound to fly off once it hits the stores. Known for her use of luxurious embroidery and embellishment with not too far ranging yet commercial silhouettes, her winter offering was no different. Delving into darker tones of blacks, reds, rusts and golds, her Baroque collection definitely picked up on its references and played up by the designer in her usual embroidered fashion. With kimono inspired tops, jackets and capes, her collection, albeit safe and commercial, offered layered luxury pretty impressively. The client base, the high end, clearly reflected in clothes and the styling. While the collection may seem a bit dainty and for a woman from upper echelon of society, it does not go without saying that some of them had fierce self assured undertones…A bit of Anna Karenina if I must say. The over fringed piece is as dramatic as it gets on the runway. While the collection of just eleven looks did manage to impress, it also had a few pitfalls. The animal printed pants seemed a bit of an odd fit in the collection and so did the last cream number. The black and gold had heavy DnG undertones (how many times have we heard that), with the whole collection feeling of bit Shehla meets Shamael vibe.
The collection was definitely not without it’s high points. Of what Tapu referred to as RED RIDING HOOD was a fierce ensemble of red worked with baroque details and knee high boots scored high (makers of once upon a time.. are you listening?? makeover for riding hood) . The gold worked up cape with the black jumpsuit was perfectly balanced and the kimono top was pretty elegant. The last creme number with the embellished and laser cutworked cape though did not fit into the collection but does not go without saying that it was one hot and possibly the perfectly styled number in the collection drawing applause from all corners (it did remind me of when naeem khan presented a singular bridal piece at the end of his collection..no such thing here)
Textile giant Gul Ahmed’s latest offering was as bad as things come by on the ramp and you wonder what were they thinking after they took two baby steps up in their last two showings. The collection that relied heavily on prints and surface treatment was bad from the word go with its styling choices, bad color scheme and the inconsistency of the print sent down the runway. The bad prints in even unflattering and worse colors did nothing for the collection that could have been made better with fabric and styling choices. From geometrics, to tribals to florals, the presentations seemed like a confused array of garments and prints one after the other walking down the runway with no direction. Even the silhouettess from frumpy dressed ethnic school girl to bags…literally bags.. in an attempt to create slouched garments, in VELVET bogging down the whole thing and that too in ugh colors.. for the lack of better words, someone’s insides seemed thrown out on that to some really unflattering pants (if you can make a model look fat theres no hope for the rest of the women..or you). Even their finale outfit, the olive green (from all the countless tones of green they had to pick the ugliest one) with the cape that looked like a section of a carpet plastered onto the poor model, it was the classic case of one step forward 5 steps back for Gul Ahmed. A disappointing outing, probably one of the worst ones throughout the whole fashion week
Aamna Aqeel’s collection pretty much redeemed her from her last outing that saw her come under fire. However this collection, though still not as good as her first one, did show some brilliant promises and potential. The monochromatic collection that started off with whites and converged into black showed a variety of silhouettes and jackets and capes that showed some extremes of lengths within the same garment. While that is something that has come to be an element Aamna uses quite a bit, the collection was not absent from moments when these extremes did not work and resulted in some odd proportions. One of the garments with a different fabric on inner seam went all the way up highlighting the crotch area.. in a not so flattering way.. not a good move. But despite these few glitches, she is still someone to look out for how she comes into her own as a designer. From handworked details that were not over indulgent (thankfully) to some sheer details and structured silhouettes, her winter offering was good and thankfully the blacks did not remind us oh her debut outing.
Needless to say there were quite a few moments that showed some fun elements that the designer played with, within her silhouettes Kudos to her for sending down Aamna Ilyas in a plunging neckline done well that sent quite a few into tizzy. The embroidered band on the jacket, the structured long jacket with embroidery running down the sides (the model ruined it when at the end of the runway opening it to show pants.. not showing you guys that shot) and some peek a boo play of the colored lining were the few good pieces. Another one would also be the black and gold jacket with a black dress with tones of greys added the perfect amount of restraint and balance (one that we rarely see).
Like Pip, the pressure was possibly immense on Zaheer to deliver primarily because of the fact that he was returning to the ramp after quite a while and there is a certain level of excellence and construction that we associate with the designer. With such sky high expectations, all eyes were on the closing show of Day 1. Zaheer’s collection NEO NUDE aimed at exploring the relationships between skin and clothing. His winter offering though good at points still left much to be desired. Restricting himself to a color palette of nude, maroons and blacks, the designer focused on the forms and drapes though the fabric of choice probably became his undoing. The designer apart from silks played up with sheer and fringes to deliver the concept and to some extent did manage to do so. From dresses to separates, to gowns to kaftanesque silhouettes, while Zaheer had a range, it did miss out on the whole. To top it (literally) the blonde fringe did seem like an odd combo at places having a hard time coordinating with the clothes.
However not all was lost in the process. The latter pieces esp the sheer and embellished suits were sharply tailored to perfection and kept that hope alive. The bitchy power suits were an absolute favorite. The skirt with a sheer layer and one of the draped pieces in nude were the strongest one from his collection. We have seen him do better and the little chink in the armour won’t bother him. I am sure he will bounce back.. there is always a next time