It was a mixed bag of fashion week with many veterans and experienced designer stumbling onto finding a contemporary footing with some traditions that are ingrained within their audience. The final and Day 3 was no different either with designers putting on a show. With Zaheer coming out on trumps with his succinct collection and Nilofer Shahid showcasing her technical finesse, balancing the interpretation and tribute facets within her collection, the concluding day rounded off with an interesting note of sorts; with a lesson for designers for the need to step up their game seriously instead of mediocre offerings.
For someone of the stature of Umar Sayeed, who is particularly known for his bridals, the collection left me largely underwhelmed with him trying to cashing in on the HO MAN JAHAN movie, seemed more of a gimmicky move. That aside, the clothes were largely not upto the usual. Granted the craftsmanship was exquisite and brilliant as always (he costs as much as Elie Saab and rightly so), but the presentation made for one very confusing one at that. Starting of with very traditional silhouettes, one then gets a jolt of a tiered aqua mermaid ball gown out of the blue. He did experiment and gave us some interesting silhouettes, and some muted embroidered pieces were the subtle brilliance that he showcased, but largely for someone whom I have admired in the bridal industry for his finesse, Sayeed seemed to be lacking that going a very gimmicky route. Of the collection my favorite had to be the gold chevron jacket that I believed deserved much more laid back spotlight than it did.
The best of the night and probably the whole fashion week, Zaheer Abbas’s Baad e Naubahar definitely did bloom and how…It began with a familiar urdu couplet (yes I do dabble in a bit of Urdu Literature) and had me skeptical and excited at the same time. All fears were laid to rest once the presentation began, for Abbas just had me at the well fitted ensembles especially the sari blouse (that’s equivalent of a corset within eastern wear). Representing ethos of Mariana on a moated grange (google it) perfectly, the collection ranged from the pains in blacks to reds and finally to ethereal creams and whites. Costructed beautifully and bodices fitted so well (just see the bra-let top on the second look), that the designer raised the bar high for himself in that regards. He went a weee bit too traditional in the end but did end up giving us some tailored and interesting silhouettes…the pants with that crop top, the bra-let top with pants and jacket, the women sherwani and those banarsi shawls for men. Also who knew mint and such translucent dark purple would look so good. It just made me really happy and satisfied as a designer to see well done and finished work. Almost wanted for him to play Heer toh bari sad hai as ramp music in conjunction with his concept (a man can wish).
Going crochet with a bling, Delphi went the crafted luxe look this wedding season with their latest presentation. For someone who appreciates the intricacies of the craft itself, it was rather impressive that Delphi went this route. Even though I do understand the need to go all bling due to the wedding and festive season, the designer should have let the crochet take centre stage. An impressive feat where this did happen was the green crochet sari where the bling was just right with the craft taking the spotlight. Another outfit that caught my eye was the lapiz blue and gold/fawn skirt that is sure to find takers due to its visual. For the rest of the show the brand played it safe and made use of sequins more than required in many places. There was a sari with an odd placement of the crochet panel right up front. A silver floorlength outfit would have fared so much better without the dopatta and simple blue box clutch would’ve done the trick.
Zainab Chottani’s collection was pretty much an exercise in excessive-ness. OTT, with models doused in layers of bad styling choices and the ensembles that were put together, pretty much were enough to scare anyone away. The color blocked, over embellished and over treated garments were, for the lack of better word, garish, gaudy and ventured into the tacky territory with their first foot forward. Almost reminded me of assortment of the metallic and printed old school wrapping papers at sweetmeat shops that I used to see as a child… in the nineties. This Dil Ruba will pretty much stop any heart with the sheer shock of being excessive without any sense of balance.
Faraz Manan’s Ethereal collection was pretty much in the same vein that he is known for. While it looked pretty, and it was (he has taken over that title from Nida Azwer) for the onlookers, it seemed like old wine in new bottle. The collection with silvers and the usual pastel tones with a couple of reds thrown in for good measure was the usual we have seen from the designer. I did get reminded a bit of Sabyasachi with the belted dopatta drapes within the ensembles. However one of the simpler menswear outfits, a pastel peach pair of pants with cream bandhgala jacket stood out amidst the rest.
For someone who is known for his sherwanis, Nauman Arfeen did present those, and by now all those within the industry know that him and Amir Adnan can be relied on for that flawless tailored easternwear sherwani jackets. However, this time around, in a surprising turn, Arfeen gave us some very well needed lesson in remembering that we have as much options for lowers as well. It was his shalwars, dhotis and straight pajama pants that, for me, were the highlight of this show. I loved the use of dhotis which was flawless with those bandhgalas. Finally we got to see the perfectly done and the classic Jodhpurs done right and as for shalwars, there were the classics, to voluminous to a certain voluminous on the top tapering down into a straighter and churidaar shape that made one sit up and take notice of such finer details of the lower garment. As for the sherwanis and jackets… I did see some velvet ones that I wasn’t too much a fan of but he did get me excited by showcasing a single but nicely done ghera (extra flared) kurta for men.
Now I have never been too interested in the dutch artist’s dark painting, as much as his etchings and prints that had always intrigued me as an art and printmaking student back in the day. So it came as a surprise that Nilofer Shahid was paying the tribute to the dutch artist. Nilofer Shahid’s couture offering that sealed the fashion week was a technical proof of why she is the master couturier that she is, with all the accolades that have been showered on her on the course of her career. The collection reminded me a lot of Viktor and Rolf and how thematic are they with their presentations. The collection, that was a tribute to Rembrandt’s paintings, reflected exactly that within its fabric treatments, rich dutch color palette and drapes that he so masterfully painted. The collection started off with some brilliant drapes and interesting interpretations to look forward to and one did get to see some interesting capes, era referencing ruffled collars and shirts. But as it progressed the collection did fall into a much more costume territory of game of thrones meets medieval time period. It was sad to see gimmicks like the models doing some weird hop stepping and wanting to act out angst on the ramp in black outfits… its a FASHION show remember? But nevertheless I did not mind the OTT drama at the end of the show with the huge finale outfit that was so well made that despite sheer volume the model did not have any trouble moving around in it, let alone even the slightest stumble. Even though I wished it would have been a much more contemporary showing, Ms. Shahid did display her experience and strengths within her ensembles.
*Images Courtesy Tapu Javeri and his team