One 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.
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*
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.
Of 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).
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 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. 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)
Plot: the basic premise of the story rests on the unexpected mind of the main protagonist who starts living his life. Witty, Charming and to some extent naive, one might feel that Pat is stuck in a time wrap of sorts. That’s where, however, the charm of the story lies. Its very easy to churn out a story wherein exploring the social stigmas associated with mental illness. Here however is a character who is fun, humorous and living his life and exploring it as it comes. Thank God for Matthew Quick for not reducing mental illness to the level of a disease of sorts and develop the story which accepts and celebrates the situation whole heartedly, yet has an underlying sadness about it. Kudos to him to develop an anti-thesis in Tiffany, who too is as crazy as Pat, and THE silver lining of the story. The ending was as delightful in the book as it was in the movie
Movie vs Book: I read the book first so as to sustain my interest or else I would have lost interest in the book if i would have watched the movie first. The adaptation of the book left me a bit perplexed of sorts. Usually i like some parts of the book and some of the movie or like one over the other. However here was an adaptation which was not a sort of ‘faithful’ adaptation of the book yet it seemed to leave me with the same warmth as the book when it ended. The director seemed to have picked out the essence and somehow managed to bring it to the screen without tampering the soul of the plot. Yes there are many and i mean it MANY differences from the book, yet the movie is as witty as the book. The lead character, played by Bradley Cooper, is described as an undiagnosed bipolar, coming out of a rehablitation centre. The sometimes support he gets from his loved ones only exposes the fact that none of us are anything close to what could be described as “normal”. He meets an umbalanced young widow who promises to help him, in return for his help in getting what she wants.
The biggest surprise however was Jennifer Lawrence (though her oscar was not worthy since i was rooting for Emanuelle). The woman plays her character with such an engaging aggressiveness that it lets her dominate every scene she is in, raking up praise from under everyone’s nose. There’s a thin line to walk in crafting a comedy about mental illness. Going about it in the wrong way could not only result in something intensitive, but also idiotic, foolish and overdone attempt to commercialize it (as seen in many hindi movies ) . But thanks to Russel’s work, Silver Lining Playbook isn’t just a piece of entertainment filled with appealing, fun characters, but also a film that gets how crazy we all really are and in turn celebrates it in all its colors. A worth watch this one.
P.S. Anupam Kher has a bigger role in the book so am surprised about his blink-and-miss role. However having said that, who would miss a chance to work with Robert De Niro
The fashion fraternity of Pakistan has come out in full support of the victims of the twin blasts at Abbas town tragedy. Around 400 people have lost their homes and their loved ones. Taking the first step towards helping the needy, Ensemble made the following announcement:
“Ensemble Flagship, One by Ensemble, Ensemble Home and Ensemble Salon in Karachi and Ensemble Lahore are donating 10 percent of all sales and services to the Abbas Town Tragedy affectees on Friday, March 8, 2013.
There will a small showing of our new Spring/Summer casual wear collection at Ensemble Karachi as well special offers and discounts valid thru out our stores.
Please spend to help rebuild lives. One more way to be generous. Everyone is doing whatever they can…please step forward and help. Please share the event with your family and friends.
We hope we can count on you for your support.”
ENSEMBLE OUTLETS ARE LOCATED AT:
Ensemble KARACHI: C-32 E street, block 4 Clifton Mon-Sat 11-8 pm
Tel: +9221 35810540 +92301 2210653 +9221 5876400
ONE by Ensemble: F-26/35 – First Floor, Dolmen Mall Clifton Block-4 Clifton, Karachi Contact Details: +9221-35293916-17-18 or + 0300 2540661
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Tel: (92-42) 3-575-1737, +924236622441
Kindly Show your support to the noble cause. Hoping it is one of many efforts towards helping the victims. Every small bit helps.
Oscars red carpet has always been as important as the ceremony itself. The ladies attending, put their best fashion foot forward (well most of them). My top picks for the night were:
She may not have won the Best Actress trophy, but definitely cut a pretty picture in a custom design Armani Gown with Harry Winston Jewels. The nude/gold encrusted gown perfectly complemented her skin tone making her a winner on the red carpet. A brilliant comeback after the globes debacle.
Possibly the most talked about 22 yr old, this award season Jennifer Lawrence has had more hits than misses. Bringing out her A game to the oscars red carpet, the face of Dior wore, as predicted, Dior couture. The self blush pink and white silk in a ball gown silhouette perfectly complimented this cinderella’s story.
Working closely with the designer resulted in an asymmetric bustier Gorgio Armani gown. And boy was I impressed The Best Actress nominee with a tussled bun and minimal jewels and spot on makeup, lets the gown do all the talking. Who needs Oscars when you are dressed like a trophy .
Marchesa was probably one of the most liked shows this season. Their signature embroidery combined with draped silhouettes, I expected it to make an appearance on the red carpet during the awards season. The scarlet draped gown and embroidered corset offset with Munn’s dark hair and red lips, made Munn one of my favorites on red carpet.
It was Dior vs Dior on the Oscars red carpet. Giving stiff competition to the best actress winner, the evil queen was a vision in white in her structured Dior couture gown. With a fierce short hairdo, Stud jewels and and silver accessories, Theron owned the red carpet. Confident, fierce and chic, maybe it was the effect of the haircut had on her which she described as ‘the most liberating thing she has ever done.’
Besides having the best accessory of the night around her arm, George Clooney, Stacy Keibler shone in a gun metal Naeem Khan gown. Styled by one of my fav stylist, Brad Goreski, Miss Keibler channels contemporary old world hollywood glamour with the side parting waves and a bun. The belt around the waist was a good move to break the monotony.