Colorful Craziness

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One of the most heartfelt projects that I came across. The activities done by Emaan Mahmud and Momin Zafar, who conduct art classes with children on the streets of Karachi every week. Their motivation? The chance to share what they love with other people. One day I would like to see them do it, in person and am sure the experience is going to be nothing less than surreal

Masaba for Satya Paul

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A first for Indian Fashion Industry, where a fashion designer from one brand is also appointed as the creative director for another brand. Masaba Gupta, one of the youngest fashion designers of India was appointed as creative director at Satya Paul. Now, having a liking for Masaba, as well as Satya Paul, the collection was a keenly anticipated one for me since she was appointed by the fashion house late last year. How the young 24 yr old Masaba Gupta would fare in combine the Satya Paul abstractness and silhouettes with her quirkiness? One did get a sneak peek when Sonam Kapoor wore the lipstick printed sari last week. That, however was just a beginning.

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Satya Paul is an established fashion house, who’s clientele included women from ages 30 n up, who were wanting to experiment without being too much. Masaba, through this collection, gave Satya Paul a much needed youthful, quirky makeover. Trying to reposition the brand, as Masaba said,  ‘with the collection that is meant for young girls’.

Masaba, known for her quirky prints, showed exactly that and more. The collection was divided into four parts – the firs t consisted of lipstick prints, the second part was ink blot on garments, the third section had abstract designs created by overlapping of maps and the last part had her take on the trend of british prints through telephone booth imprints. For Masaba however the collection symbolizes the journey of a woman. “The lipstick symbolises femininity, the abstract stands for basic way of life of a woman, the telephone booth stands for a constant wait and the ink drop for the various changes in a woman’s life,” Masaba said.

Masaba-for-Satya-Paul-at-WIFW-Autumn-Winter-2013-32 (1) knot masaabaThe silhouettes ranged mini and maxi dresses, gowns, sarees teamed up with printed blouses, jackets, palazzo pant sarees, tunics, kaftans and trench dresses. Being sucker for fun and quirky prints, I liked quite a few looks and one of my favorite looks was the black and pink saree teamed up with palazzo pants and neon pink suspenders. Another few of the favs were a telephone booth printed knot front open dress and the lipstick saree (of course).  Accustomed to straighter silhouettes for her eponymous label, Masaba showed her flare for drapes and variety of silhouettes through this collection.  Using fabrics like tulle, crepe, georgette and chiffon on color palette that goes ahead from signature “earthy tones” of Satya Paul, Masaba aimed at showing another varieties to the brand’s signtaure.

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Styled minimalistically to a T, so as to keep the focus on the youthful vibe of the show, the looks were paired with printed luggage bags of different sizes.  Furthermore the use of black ear cuffs was just oh-so-chic and the perfect detail to accessorize the look with, without jarring in your face. The designer had more hits than misses for the show, raising anticipations of what she does for the show of house of Masaba at Lakme Fashion Week.

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Spring Awakening Art Fair

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IMAG1089The recently held Spring Awakening Art fair was aimed at the collaboration between Fine Artists and Graphic Designers. The particiapants were none other than students of Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. The products, paintings and prints definitely showed promise by these young ones. The range of products included from coasters and postcards to (my fav) bright truck arty chairs. From social comments on namaloom afraad and present situations, to displaying their quirkiness, there was a wide range displayed there. Though the exhibit, sadly, didnt gain as much momentum as the annual art bazaar at the second floor, was on for two days.

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Dior-hol

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Once my friend told me ‘you think you know a man’..  Raf Simons through his second collection for the house of Dior explained exactly that. Taking ealy drawings of Andy Warhol as his muse, Simons presented his second pret-a-porte collection for the house of Dior. As Simons continued his run at the heritage house of Dior, he’s created Dior thats wearable beyond the red carpet. A certain reverbration at the show of kinship between himself and Mr. Dior was in the air which Simons presented through their love of fine art. While Simons is famous amongst art circles, Mr. Dior, in his time was a gallerist, for the likes of Dali and Giacometti.

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Now merging the signature of Dior, minimalism of Simons and quirkiness of Warhol is no mean feat, Raf Simons however achieves that very seamlessly. Taking the sensitive spin towards Warhol, Simons rattles the pop icon to suit his minimal design aesthetics. The show seemed to be like his satire towards Warhol, who everyone thinks they know, and then he breaks the very notion of what Warhol is through his own take towards the artist. What results in, is a collection that is brilliant, fun and has every look as impressive as the previous one. Using the artists drawings as repeat patterns as well as embroidered details on dresses, Simons never quite lets go of  his control to the artist. 

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While Dior’s signature silhouettes were there, they were brilliantly translated by Simon’s sensibilities, to make way for a contemporary collection. The feminine collection had lady silhouettes very visible in flirty leather dresses, while the coats transpired into contemporary coat dresses (do i hear a trend alert). Silk shift dresses, embroidered peplums and a certain houndstooth bustier with skirt were another few of the brilliances one got to see during the show. Simons is here to stay and despite having certain guidelines to follow through for the fashion house, he made sure he is going to do that on his own terms. He is not going anywhere and by the time he retires from his time at the design house, he would have left a legacy he would certainly be proud of.

P.S. Dior to take over iconic London department store Harrods for 1 month with exhibitions taking place.

Kam Sukhan

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860412_10151743700699196_932708332_o Aptly titled ‘Kam Sukhan’, the launch of a photography book celebrating nine women photographers on Women’s Day, timed it perfectly to explain a woman’s silent strength. Kam Sukhan is one who speaks less but meaningfully. Since a photograph is worth a thousand words, what better way to celebrate, than through a photography book and that too by women photographers. The introduction of the book states and interesting thought, ” A woman’s soul carries her deepest glories. Disguised, subdued or neglected, this hallowed space is seldom known, sometimes even to a woman herself. Neither a map nor a guide exists for her journey there, But if she is true in her quest, she shall not escape the fiery tenderness which lights her beacon. Bright and proud it shines, vibrating in silence and song.’

The event that took place at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, also marked and celebrated ninth year of Kiran Fine Jewellery. The courtyard was lit up and converted into an exhibition space for the photographers whos work was on display. These women explored different facets of their personalities and subject matters. From exploring silence and existentialism to strength, identity and adaptibility, these women photographers in turn explored themselves as artists. I was lucky enough to get a copy signed by most of these extraordinary women. Of the popular of the night, Mahwish rizvi and Shalalae drew quite a crowd and admiration for their work. Actress and model, Aamina Sheikh, gave a heartfelt speech about being a woman and the celebration of womanhood.

About the works, I liked one or the other. While Mahwish Rizvi’s work on existentialism blew me away, Khaula Jamil’s Shana Bashana ode to women brought a smile. Shalalae’s woman’s interaction with the camera to develop a narrative, with the photographs with an old world charm was another favorite for me of the night.

In attendance were also Tapu Javeri, Freiha Altaf, Fareshte Aslam, Fayyaz Ahmed, Adnan Pardesy, Maheen Khan to name a few. I couldnt help but notice fashion spottings at the event. While Mahira cut a pretty picture in a vintage offwhite saree and a maroon blouse, Feeha looked fierce in a printed jumpsuit. One of the markings team member Tuba Arshad, wore a specs printed kurta by me :). A special shoutout to her for sporting it. Another pretty one in the offiwhite saree was the photographer Shalalae while the photographer Nazia Akram, was seen sporting an ensemble from Daaman’s formal line. With the turnout of the number of people for the exhibition, it was safe to say, the event was a resounding success and a befitting celebration of KFJ’s nine years. Heres wishing to them all the success in the coming years.

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 IMAG1051 Adnan Pardesy was particularly impressed by Mahwish Rizvi’s exploration of existentialism
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IMAG1073 My signed copy of the book 🙂

Fashion For a Cause: the day

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Ensemble’s venture for the Abbas town victims, to donate a part of the sale towards these people, saw quite a few people from the fashion industry making their way towards the store to check out the latest stock. Apart from clothes, there were offerings by okra which included bread baskets as well as homemade cheese and chillies in oil, which were too irresistable to miss. Also on sale were movie tickets for Jack the giant slayer on discounted prices. Making an appearance were Mohsin Saeed, Feeha Jamshed, Wardah Saleem, Tapu Javeri, Sania Maskatiya, Umair Tabani, Anoushey, Nomi Ansari to name a few.IMAG0972 IMAG0967IMAG0966  IMAG0969 IMAG0970 IMAG0971

Wang’s Balenciaga

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57_ON_0609.450x675One of the most awaited shows this awards season was Alexander Wang’s debut at Balenciaga. With bated breath, everyone was wondering how an american high street wear designer will live up to the legacy of Cristobal Balenciaga whom Dior called ‘the master of us all’ and Nicholas Ghesquire who took the label to new heights before his contract ended last season. Rooting most of his collection on Balenciaga”s thought process, Alexander Wang certainly did not disappoint in his first outing. Now as a designer myself, I am aware of the time one needs to produce a collection for the runway. Considering, according to the press he started working on it in January, and producing two collections simultaneously in that time crunch (his own label’s and balenciaga’s) I am sure either he is very good at managing himself or would have been pretty crazy for him to shuttle between New York and Paris.

Taking one back to the Balenciaga basics, the designer’s restrained show with crackled marble runway and toned down setting, checked all the boxes. While both designers, Balenciaga and Wang are as different as they come, but times change. The way to evolve a fashion house is to examine its foundations and adapt it to a contemporary context. Thats what precisely mr. Wang did. While he looked to Balenciaga but without being too reverntial, he brought forth, what i felt, an underlining ‘wang-ness’ to the collection. What resulted in was turning around of Balenciaga couture and making it wearable. Signature structured elegance in the form of rounded jackets, molded peplums and contemporary embroidery(how could he not do it after Ghesquire did it) made wearable appearances on the runway. He played it safe, but he made no mistakes.

I loved the fact that he minimized the couture-ness of the signature of the design house to make them realistic for today while referencing it to the past. A few bodice draped dresses caught my attention since they are to pull off in ready to wear line. Furthermore what also intersted me was despite and understated show, his use of technology and technique to come up with textiles. He played with textures, making knit look like cracked leather (which is difficult to do to knit since both are different materials) and hard stiff wool. As Style.com reviewed “he cracked, paint-spackled mohair knits were some of the best things on the catwalk; they made for a nice metaphor, too, about the promise of a young designer ready to break with the past when the time’s right.” Giving the modern buzz to the design house, he created a collection which had the flavor of the master. Here is hoping to this new designer settles in seamlessly (pun intended) into the fabric of the design house of Balenciaga.  59_ON_0632.450x675 47_ON_0483.450x675 67_ON_0753.450x675 25_ON_0243.450x675 27_ON_0260.450x675 55_ON_0576.450x675

A few other reviews of the show that i came across:

“The New York designer can certainly build on these clothes for next season, adding color and maybe more decoration, but if he continues to strike that modern balance between couture and the street, he will renew a great name — and win over doubters.” — Cathy Horyn feels confident about his future at Balenciaga in The New York Times

“It’s fair to say that there was more Balenciaga than Alexander Wang in this particular collection — the looseness of his fabrications replaced by something stiffer and more luxurious here — and it was right that he let the house take over. It’s a big house after all and this is his first season.” — Jessica Bumpus, Vogue UK

“The stardust in Wang’s own-label collections at New York fashion week has always been a sixth sense about what young women want to wear, and it is that connection which PPR hopes he can bring to Balenciaga…Where Ghesquiere’s design processes were intricate and multi-layered, Wang’s approach was to present the subtle, nuanced codes of Balenciaga in a new, simple way. As Wang commented after the show, Balenciaga himself ‘took the avant-garde, and made it everyday.'” — Jess Cartner-Morley, fashion editor at The Guardian.

“The front row cheered as the designer took his bow — proof of his well earned and enduring popularity and a sign he will be supported going forward. He should be as proud of his work as we are.” ELLE editor-in-chief Lorraine Candy.

“Based on his body of work in New York, it’s hard to imagine him embracing obvious retro over the long haul; he may feel compelled to inject a grittier currency going forward. Nor did the show offer the heady thrill of Nicolas Ghesquière’s best work, the brilliance of which brought the house from decades of dormancy back into the forefront of fashion until the designer’s tenure there started to sour. But for a collection not a minute more than two months in the making from first glimmer to runway, it made for an impressive start.” — WWD.

“For my money, it looked decidedly more grown up than his previous offerings (no surprise there), rather pretty in places (not a word usually associated with Wang’s collections), lacking in colour, and a bit weird towards the end. All in all, not a bad start. Maybe.” — Belinda White at The Telegraph .

“There were few vivid or kitschy stand-out pieces – save the blogger-worthy stormy, marble veined fur jackets which closed the show. Instead monochromatic good taste and simple elegance prevailed. This was a catwalk show which was immediately understandable and resolutely sellable.” — Catherine Ormerod atGrazia .

*Images from style.com*

0092 – a theatrical reality check???? Really

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484935_510730792302071_1220004493_n While I walked into this play with no expectations whatsoever, from the posters of it, it seemed like a serious issue based storyline, which it was. What started of as a pretty good social comment on the system via the eyes of an NRP (non resident pakistani), the narrative just started to build up on the cliches and stereotypes of society. Its one thing to write a satire, and the other to make it preachy. The script sadly, fell into the latter category. The narrative starts off on a very promising note establishing the main plot as well as a few sub-plots, however its all downhill from there on. The play, touches upon different aspects yet it seems like its just listing down what the audiences already know, given the current situation of the city. The audience can predict what will happen next, and there in lies the problem. The play never rose from the unexpected. The painful, melodramatic monologue, fitted into the script, by the protagonist, did not help the cause much either. Its execution made the whole thing, seemingly written in to either extend or just wanting to emotionally lump up the audience just coz the script was not able to do so. Abdullah Farhatullah needed to review the script and make it into a brilliant political satire (which it had the full potential and possibilites to do so! Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola anyone!).  One of the reasons could be that the writers and makers would’ve wanted to play(pun totally intended) safe. The final nail in the coffin came in the form of using the age old formula of a patriotic song with characters coming in from audience and waving the green flag to get the audience going. Like really! how old do u think we were.

IMAG0947Of the performances, the actors really try hard to rise above the mediocre script and some of them even succeed in doing so on many occassions. Ahmed Ali as the main protagonist with his Noor (the model and actor) like looks, dialogue delivery (better than the model) and lingering look fits the character well and does what he can to save the play through his performance. He is honest, poised (which his character demands) but not unhibited. Rabia Leghari is wasted as Farkhanda aunty. I wonder after cinderjutt, where she did so well, what prompted her to take this one up. Two actors who remain with you after the play purely because of their performances. One is Hunain Maniar as Khadim (servant) of the family. His performance is unhibited, fun and he seems to have a ball playing the character. Such performances, in turn involve audiences automatically because of how they are performed. He picks up on the mannerisms of a balochi servant quite convincingly and is not afraid of sinking his teeth into the character. Another performance has to be that of  S.H.O. Noor Daad by Usman Ali Khan. The nuances of a corrupt police, though cliched, are picked up brillantly by this actor. Providing the comic releif in the play, the actor manages to steal all the praise right from under the protagonists nose. During the play, people were actually waiting for him to show up. Perfect timing and unhinged performance, which is not scared to make a fool out of himself, Usman Ali makes this corrupt officer loveable to say the least. A mention of S.M. Jameel who puts forward an honest performance. The sets reminded me of PTV drama serials from mid nineties, however were well made. The songs were out of place and could have been easily done away with. Talal Rehman’s choreography, though good, didnt add much to the narrative (He has his Avanti benchmark to live up to).

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Inkaar

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The first thoughts when i saw this poster was WOOAAAH! why did the directors miss this casting coup…the poster is sizzling enough to give u a teaser on the movie. What happens when you put two extremely hot actors together?? Furthermore you put them in characters of office politics and pitt them against each other. The result is an electrifying chemistry which these two hotties exude off and performances which they shine in. As evident from promos, its about sexual harrasment at an ad agency. Where does one draw the line is what this movie discusses and how. Till the point of a disappointing and unsatisfying climax of outburst by Arjun Rampal, the movie is gripping, fun and edgy. While you are veering towards one, the plot and arguments just throw you in a toss confusing you as a viewer as to whose side should you be on. Sudhir Mishra’s back and forth time travel narrative works in the favor of the story since its told through the protagonists but seen by those around them and one experiences two sides of the same story. The basic premise, on which the whole of the narrative rests, seems to be on a false note when its revealed later, making the viewer almost cry out WHAT THE F***.. and one fails to understand why an intelligent filmmaker like Sudhir Mishra had to resort to that. However having said that, everything said and done before the climax is definitely worth watching only because of the performances especially that of Arjun Rampal. Arjun as the CEO of the ad agency is as calm as still water and as evil as the Charlize Theron’s Evil Queen. He is suave, charming and cold. Sinking his teeth completely in his character, this has to be his bravest and laudable performance ever (yes! better than rock on!). His character watches what he is saying and that too very cleverly. Arjun brings forth that quality in a cold heartless yet with an underlying hurt manner very naturally. Chitrangada however starts off awkwardly and surprisingly uncomfortably and comes off as almost ‘acting’ rather than in character but then gains momentum and is seen coming to an ease with her character. She exudes being smart, suave and clever easily. Being a newbie to climbing to success to chanelling her inner bitch, chitrangada transforms as does her character. This is probably the first movie where the character’s transformation is seamless rather than a sudden change in the whole outlook. From portraying being hurt to the lighter fun moments, chitrangada shines. It is however the frontal interviews where she comes off as ‘fake’ . Chitrangada gives Arjun tit for tat while he too does not leave any stone unturned to turn tables onto her to beat her at her own game. The songs are ok. My fav however was khamoshiyan awaaz hain. Loved the ending. To be watched once atleast.

The Fantastic Frostings

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882081_10152710962710425_1574719105_o The first group show of five recent graduates of Indus Valley School of art and architecture, in the discipline of Fine Arts, was recently held at Canvas Art Gallery. Because i had seen their thesis and some of them were my friends who were showing, I had to attend and I was pleasantly surprised by their extension of thesis and how they evolved the idea. From exploration of abstract spaces and social issues to mutation of the human body, these young artists seemed to be confident and certain as to what they wanted to put down on the canvas. Varying from each other as chalk and cheese, some of these artists evolved their ideas and the process showed. While Hamida as one of the viewers commented ‘toned down the brutality’ compared to her thesis, Anum Athar Jamal intensified her drawings of space exploration moving into an escher-ish territory.IMAG0826 While Rameez Rehman has similar mirrored pieces to his thesis, so did fatima munir with her social issue embroidered sunshades. The quirky one dealing with language issues was Nilofer Kamruddin who worked with medium of laser cut and used gujrati text overlapping with urdu to show the mix of two cultures and how one influences the other. My favorites had to be pieces by Hamida Khatri and Anum Athar Jamal (featured here in larger images)

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