Sonya Battla’s Manora collection used art pieces by Naiza Khan within ensembles as prints. It sort of reminded me of when Raf Simons used Warhol’s unpublished sketches and drawings for Dior’s show. However Battla’s collection rested on her draped strengths and skills paired with deconstructed aesthetic thread that ran throughout the collection. The abstract paintings distorted by the fabric drapes, layers and manipulation worked effortlessly like a tie and dye effect in many cases in simple sleek silhouettes rather than the curtains of overtly draped ones that many designer resort to… trust a designer like Battla to know how to control her silhouette. With a color palette in deeper tonalities with highlights of blush pinks and creams, Battla’s collection was pretty much seamless in fluid shapes. Battla’s artistic bent combined with clothes without losing their aesthetic appeal scored some major brownie points. Furthermore within her collection while she paired it with trousers made by her, as well as distressed denims to display the versatility of the garments. There was a certain raw edge with tattered edges to the minimally off beat clothes that had just enough drama for the ramp and could be trickled down or just retailed as it is for the stores.
Rizwanullah returned to the ramp after quite the sabbatical with a collection for 5th element Swarovski. It was a multitude of drapes after drapes after drapes all in white one after the other. Even in pictures the construction issues and lack of finesse was pretty much evident and considering the use of white which at many occasions is very unforgiving. The bit that baffled me was if this was a jewellery show, why use white… isn’t the whole point of product placement should have been highlighting THE PRODUCT?? Had it been me, I would have gotten duskier models or way better black women, simple silhouettes letting the jewels do all the talking.
Ah! the pret brand that pretty much continued its successful streak from last year, Daaman’s white and blue collection presented a range of silhouettes and outfits that were all retail friendly. Simple details have always been Daaman’s mantra and that is what it thrived on with a blend of structural and fluid silhouettes that made up its presentation. The off shoulder tunics, dresses, summer jackets, a range of pants from fitted to hakama, all made an appearance in the presentation with the use of lace, cutwork and sheer fabrics. The separates were easy to mix and match, and a lot of ensembles played upon my favorite sort of ‘look’ of combining contrasting silhouettes of loose-fitted within an ensemble. Looser tops and fitted pants or vice versa, Daaman made sure that this summer the Pakistani women would be chic. One of the geometric cutwork crop jackets was done perfectly and was an instant love and a dress with sheer layer was another one that caught my eye. Also what was one of the fun tops was a belted and folded top with four different textures with lace and solids in white and beige that could have been overwhelming but was pitch perfect. So proud!! *wipes tears*
Three in One
Zara Shahjahan’s ‘Forever Boho’ collection harked on designer’s earlier pursuits of floral vintage prints, combined with tribal moments and fringes that just put together all international trends together within one collection. With an influence of seventies within her silhouettes, it is to Shahjahan’s credit that at many a moments where one could have felt how three distinct elements as these would come together, she did successfully manage to pull off and made them work within a single framework. With tribal patterns and embroidery on crop tops, waistcoats and jackets paired with her signature florals finishing off with an exceedingly dangerous backless gown that raised temperatures and hopefully doesn’t earn the wrath of mullahs!! haha!! it was the perfect length without exposing the back cleavage (haha i just wanted to use that term I heard somewhere), one malfunction that is very easy to do so. I for one however did feel that Shahjahan needed to make her silhouette a wee bit much slicker since at moments they did seem like lazy attempts and a bit over indulgent in terms of adding drama with fabric.
Deepak Perwani’s La Dolce Vita featured a lot of silk prints one after the other made for a rather deja vu showing. How many times have we seen floral, graphic and jeweled prints on silks? And used within similar vein in dresses mini and longer ones as well as floor length maxi dresses… quite a bit… Therefore I expected much more from Deepak than this. The only three looks that probably caught my eye was a pink one with grey ombre sleeves, a black n white long graphic maxi dress and a black and red ensemble. The last jacketed outfit paired with what seemed like an ill constructed skirt with raised points and stitched could have easily been edited out. For a designer like Deepak who has given us Frida and Amrita Shergill inspired collections in the past, I for one was rather disappointed.
The curse of first collection still continues to haunt Aamna Aqeel who’s smashing debut is still compared to any of the showings that she does. Probably because of the bar set so high that even if anything different is attempted it is compared to that. Aqeel’s pastel endeavor of ‘Revisiting the lines’ pretty much did not hit the mark that probably Wardha’s pastel outing did. Barring her first outfit which I absolutely loved wherein the high ponytail styling worked perfectly with the ensembles, the ornateness of ‘barouqe’ was pretty much missing despite the embroidered treatments on the fabric. Baroque is usually as heavy handed and opulent in terms of art movement as Shamael’s overtly done prints, however that element of being opulent completely missed the mark here. The silhouettes, some were interesting especially the use of sheer fabrics for capes, but at those occasions it was the embroidery that threw it a completely off the mark. While it did go the matchy matchy route, it was the embroidered treatments that were a let down.
Shamael Ansari has sort of become an adjective within my vocab. You either like her clothes or you don’t but the collection like always was very HER. She knows her clientele and designs for them with the usual ethnic prints for which this time she turned towards Hala carpets for inspiration. She knows her prints, her textiles and her luxe embroidered techniques which she uses to her advantage within her ensembles. While at points it did not sit well within my personal taste and aesthetics needless to say it wasn’t bad or not balanced. However at those points I just felt too overwhelmed by the heavy handedness of the print on print ensembles that just became a bit much too much for me and that too all in rich colored tones. With a bit too much going on within an ensemble with print on print on print, the collection at points did feel a bit too much but at others even with such print on print layers it was perfectly balanced. Like I said you would either like it or not…Shamael’s extremities in prints draw extreme reactions.
*Images courtesy Tapu Javeri