Kicking things off on Day 1, Fashion Pakistan Week begun with the usual fervor with designers, Shehla Chatoor, Sania Maskatiya, Gulabo, Ayesha Hashwani, Tena Durrani, Hisham Malik and Sana Safinaz showcasing their luxury and high end collections.
There is a time when a designer raises their own bar so much that you expect a lot from them. Shehla Chatoor‘s latest bridal outing suffered from just that. Given that it is bridal, I do understand that the silhouettes needed to be confined within certain constraints given the customer base it is designed for, but it is Shehla we are talking about who has pretty much given the definition to luxury within Pakistani Fashion. Her collection All the Raj was as pretty as expected. One of the most beautiful things and my happy place that the embroideries were clean and the work had the finesse showcasing why she has been in the business for twenty years. The pearly treatments, the embellished zardoz all came together and spoke of a fusion derived from the clash of the Raj and the Mughal cultures in the subcontinent. It was all just so exquisite to experience. But Alas! the silhouettes left much to be desired. They oscillated around the same anarkalis ghararas, shararas, mermaid skirts, jackets and long embroidered tops and dopattas (long scarves), there was nothing new in the offing. While at some occasions the print and embroidery were seamless, at others it seemed forced. And those jodhpurs were either too stiff or would have fared better if pared with boots compared to printed kheris. The placement of the crown in the print did not help the cause either. However not all was lost within the collection and it did have the brilliant Shehla moments. The leather sharara as well as the black velvet one with a cutout back separating the fitted top into two was the triumph within the show. The embroidered dopatta of the opening number was definitely one of those collectibles and the the straight pants with draped dopattas and simple tops were sleek and chic but these moments were few and far in between. Ayesha Omer definitely did not make for a good showstopper…Mrs. Chatoor deserved better.
Pleasantly surprised by Sania Maskatiya‘s capsule outing, for the hair show, there was not a single teeny tiny print in sight what Sania is known for. Her solids capsule was sharp, oversized, structured reveling in contrasts and constructional details. When you do color block like that – I am definitely on board even if the trend is long gone. With straighter silhouettes, boxy structures Sania stepped it up with a contemporary outlook with contrasting details giving off a major early nineties vibe of Pakistani fashion.
Gulabo went off the boho-luxe route with it’s usual kitschy floral prints but in silks and metallics combined with shearling and fur details. While one of the black lace skirt seemed like a misfit for the capsule, kudos to Ms. Khan for incorporating her fabrics from KOYA, handwoven fabrics with a contemporary high street outlook (one aspect that I am a completely a fan of). Going the relaxed route, an opposite to Maskatiya’s structured one, both designers gave us a range within the hair shows. Maheen kept it perfect, probably not the fur bit for Karachi summers… but when is Pakistani fashion restricted to just Karachi. Plus gold pants worn by Waqar went right on my must have list.
Where do I begin with Ayesha Farooq Hashwani‘s collection. The grey gown, the full sleeved brown floor length gown, the origami-esque top and the stiff printed jacket with purple embroidered work on top were the only redeeming pieces of the collection but were so far removed from each other, along with the whole collection that it did not make for a cohesive show. The collection presented a confused picture and was all over the place with no common thread running through linking pieces together. A little bit of this, a little bit of that and such horrid constructions and fit in some of the pieces ( sorry Ms. Hashwani) that I gasped how did she let it out on the ramp…were there no fittings??? To add to that sometimes I just don’t understand the obsession with overstyling by Pakistani designers. Agreed that it is the ramp, but have some sense of balance. The overdone jewelry with every outfit marred the presentation along with pale women, dark lips and that quiff/buoffont dino hairstyle did not work with any of the outfits except for a couple.
Tena Durrani OMOROSE was nothing home to talk about. A snooze fest of sort, pretty much everyone even present at the event was distracted easily. She tried to sell it but twirling and prancing the models… WOMAN it is a fashion show, not a performance… take it seriously. It will sell, but offered nothing new.
Hisham Malik’s debut outing seemed like an ode to the nymph within the ‘luxury’ arena. While he does understand the need to follow up a concept as well the need of introducing new silhouettes and details (there were a few constructional ones that were interesting but the flaws outweighed them) however most of the collection was too literal in terms of theatrics. Even the separates could not be separated with what they were paired with. As a designer, even within a thematic presentation, one’s garment should be part of a look but an audience should be able to dissociate it with the rest of the collection to look it singularly. The literal approach was Malik’s shortcoming leading to some cringe-worthy Nadya Mistry flashbacks… *Shudders*
Now that one collection to sign the day off. Sana Safinaz and their experienced team nailed it again. Even though given that their prints felt a bit repetitive from their last outing, Sana Safinaz did not fail to nail down a contemporary luxe collection that fit right into the thematic winter festive (read shaadi) season. Playing upon the winter 2015 trend big time, they pretty much gave everyone a masterclass on how to do velvet just right. The riot of prints within one ensemble was perfectly balanced and what would I not do to get my hands on one of those floral velvet jackets like the one Mohsin was wearing. The fit and construction of those velvet pants was flawless…they fit like a glove. To top it all the brand printed on velvet… for those who have worked with it, it is no mean feat to achieve what they did. From construction details to putting the whole look together, the brand aced it all. Furthermore they ended with a defrangmenting floral embroidery in 3d … the brand ‘sheep’ needed to take notes here…I wasn’t too keen on a couple of bursts of bohemian episodes as well as metallics since they distracted from a much more chic collection. A bit of editing down the wire and this could have been the cohesive collection of the night.
Images courtesy Tapu Javeri