Can only do so much
High street brand like Levis while introducing its products does not veer away from what it is. Even bringing on stylists like Rana and Ayaz, who can only do so much, Introducing yet another denim, Levis kept the look and feel of the show their usual self. Having Wasim Akram as their showstopper however, did bring smile onto quite a number of ladies’ faces.
Not so Quality- Street
After her last disastrous outing, one would have thought Somal Halepoto would rebound with a stronger collection. Within the first few pieces, she actually convinced me to believe that. But then what came about was quite the looks that one of the journalists was compelled to make a comparison between outfits and the box of Quality streets sweets and the clothes and one could definitely see why. Her love for color yet inability to balance it, was possibly one of the major blunders the designer made in the presentation. The only piece that was probably a standout was a white tunic with gold animal motifs up front in centre. With garish pinks, the bad tones of purples coupling all of it with gold was not quite the kind of color palette I expected. Sadly in her attempt to present glitz she was not able to remove it from the gaudiness.
Yet another one of my mentors, YBQ’s show centered around being inspired by the three sufi saints of sindh namely Sachal Sarmast, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. The show was not about clothes as much as the dramatics that came with it. The red tinted collection while had a lot of draped silhouettes, the concept that it rested on and the overwhelming oomph and drama was what the whole presentation all about. Overwhelming, yes.. Theatrical..yea but that kind of theatrics are the need. While he does have a select clientele, the clothes did follow a bit of a cliched path of a saint’s interpretation complete with the leather accessories, the flags and even the smoking chained censers.
Wardha’s collection was one I personally was waiting for because the livestream could not show me the details that I knew were the major highlights I saw when the pictures came in. And boy I wasn’t wrong. When people usually think of pastels they have this prejudice of it being washed out and lacking any sort of visual interest and drama… well Wardha pretty much proved everyone wrong with her latest outing. Veering her kitschy aesthetics into a pastel tune, Wardha’s Lotus song was a blend of embroidered details and her quirky aesthetics coming together into a calm whimsy. It is hard to balance pastels and Wardha does that impeccably within her collection. It was interesting to see how she translated her own aesthetics within a pastel palette of powder blues, blush pinks, peaches, creams and sage greens. Interpreting 3-D texturing through hand embellishments and embroidery, the patterns and grids were further beaded with pearls and flowers using French knot, reverse stitch and Kitcha work technique. Interpreting madhubani and ikat in her own way, Wardha’s collection made use of all the different elements. For something that is not my strength it was amazing to see how easily Wardha was able to distance herself from her usual poppy aesthetics. Dresses, Separates, jackets along with her usual Saris, all were juxtaposed with embroidered details and prints that made for quite an easy-on-the-eye viewing collection. There were quite a few high points the embroidered jacket with birds and saris. Other elements like custom made jewellery by Tapu Javeri and frangipani flowers on shoes were perfect companions to the collection. It was all about the drama in details and Wardha surely knew how to play that card well!!
Amping it up
Now this is what I was talking about. When you give a designer a free hand by bringing them on board for something like Lawn, you do get some pretty good result. Alkaram brought Sania Maskatiya on board for their lawn line an boy she did not disappoint. To her credit, it was very brave of Sania not to fall into the trap of it being lawn and pressures from the mills (i know what that can be like) and staying true to herself and her design aesthetics resulting in a collection that is bound to raise stakes of the contemporary lawn retail. Probably first time I was so happy with a lawn show. Her prints were usual her, contemporary and breezy..even within floral you don’t have to go the similar route… and paired in the way she does. The usual silhouettes like front short back long tunics, jackets, printed pants and crop and wrap tops all were styled so well that one could hardly say that it was a fabric as pedestrian as Lawn. It reminded me of something one of my friend and senior at one of my job at a design house said… it is not the fabric but what you do with it that matters. And that is what Sania did. Contemporarizing silhouettes in Lawn, hopefully it will give women (they too are visual creatures) this notion of breaking away from the usual three piece suit. Sania’s prints were fresh (if you see them compared to lawn fabrics) and were styled well that gave them the edge over other lawn presentations.
Inaaya made a smashing debut last year with its collection, with a perfect balance of craft and contemporary within clothes, it bridged the gap without going costumey or overtly ethnic with its treatment. This time however the presentation lacked the similar punch even within its subtle outing. While there were quite a few very brilliant moments, it was towards the end the bent towards going traditional that seemed to hamper the collection. With cremes and blacks as her major palette for the night, Inaaya’s ensembles were balanced but the silhouettes lacked innovation. The highlight had to be the two black mini numbers with just enough crafted detail that provided visual interest without going overboard. Brohi’s eastern ensembles, apart from the simple yet effective sari, seemed a bit too dated (read mid 2000s) and compared to her last show fell short of being the collection it could have. It is probably the curse of first brilliant collection that her every preceeding one will be compared to it since she set the bar so high herself that it will be quite the challenge to recreate that magic. While it can be appreciated for her going the subtle route for summers with a cool palette, I wish it had similar charm that we experienced first time around. There is always a next time.
Not-so High Octane
While good tailoring may never go out of fashion…and no one complained about that at HSY’s High Octane show but it was the suits and jackets one after the other in pretty much just similar silhouette that made the show quite monotonous. The suits were regular suits paired with the usual combos that one is expected and has been seeing and there was nothing ‘High Octane’ about it.. it was more like a business and power play sort of vibe that it could have been easily called the Corporate Calls. HSY we expected more.. atleast from you. Not the Abdul Samad bizzareness, but atleast wanted even details to be highlighted even if he wanted to go the conservative corporate route!!
*Images courtesy Tapu Javeri