Fashion Pakistan Week 2017 – hits and misses

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Fashion scene in Pakistan needs a bit of a rejuvenation since the designers are producing a lot of same ol same ol. Designers need to understand that people are going to wear with what options they are presented with and thus need to reassess what their presentations are consisting of. Innovation, creativity and commerce all need to come together. While some made a splash at this season”s Fashion Pakistan Week 2017, some failed to do so.


Ayesha Farooq Hashwani’s resort collection was nothing we haven’t seen in recent times. Slouched silhouettes, digital and arabesque prints in tropical colors and 3d embroidery was a repetition and looked like something Maheen Karim would do. The ‘La Plage’ which is beach in French (the obsession – urdu is just as exotic people) reflected in the sea themed prints of shells and beachy silhouettes, but was rather strictly okay than breaking any new grounds or with a wow factor. Some color tones and prints were a bit hard sell, but we definitely would see her loyal elite customer base throng to her. My favorite had to be the printed pants with solid side seam stripes and a simple embroidered top – just how RTW should be.


Fresh off the heels of the Woolmark presentation, Arsalan Iqbal’s collection Nocturnal with a dark palette, was one of the few menswear collections. The jacquard weaving and fabrications with merino wool were remarkable and adaptations within jackets, vests, bandhgalas to jackets. He showcased a range of silhouettes for the man who likes to reign things in but still not compromise of style, swag or having fun with fashion. Some very interesting weaves, Arsalan Iqbal definitely scored high on this collection.


Ugh where do I begin on this disaster – it was plain, bland and an exercise in disaster. An underwhelming collection that failed to do anything for the bridal designer who failed to make a transition to RTW despite another repeated attempt.


While Fnkasia showcased a majorly embroidered collection that did not offer much in terms of variety, it was signature mish mash of things that Fnkasia usually makes work of -I wish they would revert and experiment more with their fabrications and brilliant prints that they used to – since I know what they are capable of and kicking it out the ball-park when they pull back things with a cohesive collection which this collection was not. From light pastels and sheer to heavy velvet it was a clash of things that got presented and some very finer details got lost in the process – like the geometric and floral embroidered top that was just cute and streamlined.


Excessive, OTT and overflowing, the collection by Humayun Alamgir required a lot to be pulled back. While the jackets were not too bad, but a much careful curation of the fabrics was required for a much more punchier collection than just something that begged audience as myself to ask the question why. The styling and props brought down the things a further notch down. The highlight of the collection had to be the complimenting embroidered shoes that definitely went on my lust list.


Championing the issue of women empowerment, INAAYA does what it does best. craft intervention and sustainable fashion. Keeping it subtle, the soft pastel palette with tropical punches, Inaaya’s signature contemporary take on tukka and applique embroidery with white on white, beiges and sheer as well as contrasting against black. The separates were easy, relaxed and interchangeable. From finer details to keeping it simple, Naushaba Brohi knows what works and kept things fuss free with focus on the clothes. Bringing her game on the commercial forefront while being a slow fashion business model, Inaaya further champions the idea brilliantly. While it could have been more statement-y it is interesting to see where Brohi takes off the brand.

The Fashion DNA show that happened during London fashion week showcased six Pakistani designers of which four definitely made the right kind of noise, presenting a cohesive capsules.

Battla’s organic and bohemian approach was more successful within a capsule than many people’s full collections. The relaxed silhouettes, organic vibe and dyeing treatments with the right blue for that right cream beige sang the perfect cohesive tune. Paired with sneakers, the looks ventured into a very high street zone with a carefully thought out look of effortlessness that was easy to come by and brilliantly executed. From oversized separates to some fun shrugs, and some very interesting pants the range just within capsule is to be duly noted. The tie and dye treatments were familiar but done smartly, paired with solids and minimal accessories – Battla showcases her love for drape and with a store as well, this collection definitely has some very interesting commercial opportunities as well… A very good capsule.


Hamza Bokhari’s forte of combining traditional embroideries with a contemporary outlook showed in his this capsule of structured and fluid silhouettes that cohesively meshed together. The chinoiserie embroideries in minimal amounts with some structured silhouettes with an interplay of sheer and solid velvet fabrics, Bokhari put them all perfectly together with a dash of fun and to his credit succeeds. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is exciting to see how his aesthetic is evolving.


Unlike some other brands (not taking names) who don’t know how to separate a shoddy and tacky job of color and print from making the color and print work in perfect sync was the reason Gulabo under Maheen Khan is a brilliant example of where Pakistani high street should head towards. The prints set within silhouettes of fun pants and paired with solids and other prints were just a class in how

Munib!! We definitely missed you on the runway. Munib knows how and where to push the boundaries of menswear and even within the sleek lines he keeps things fun with his fabrics. The ajrakh take on the jacket, the full printed suit or the blue ajrakh embroidered jacket with sheesha work (still not convinced of the tunic-blazer jacket look) he was missed. Let’s hope he keeps up his appearances and this is just not a one off show.


This is what I wanted Burberry to go for when they did their soof embroidery collection – sit down with craftswomen, work on the product, intervene and refurbish its identity with a contemporary look – Nida Azwer does that with the sindhi mirror work embroidery in a palette of whites and greys – Azwer goes back to pretty and how. Going for a tonal color palette she lets the craft shine and do it’s work – take the spotlight even under subtlty. With bohemian silhouettes, some more exaggerated than others for runway, this could be arguably amongst Azwer’s best work.


Of the four young designers showcasing in the Rising Talent slot – Fatima Abdul Rauf’s geometric experimentation stood out for all the right reasons. With interesting lines and a controlled color palette, it is to be seen how this designer evolves from here. Zafar Ahsan Naqvi’s Karachi inspired collection definitely made dramatic statements with its city scapes printed amongst layers and baggy silhouettes that made all the right noise. His fishing net ode outerwear over garments were definitely ones to be remembered. Areej Iqbal presented softer looks with an edge. Spunky, fresh and controlled, the young designer had some interesting constructions and merged very two worlds together seamlessly within her looks, without looking forced. Keeping the color palette light, she definitely gave a fresh perspective to hard lines.


*Images courtesy Take II PR


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