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.
Retailing what you show on the ramp is an essential part of the whole process of the fashion week. In fact it is primarily the purpose of it. With that theory Arsalan Iqbal comes out trumps every time stocking his stores with what he showed on the ramp, and this time was no different where he stocked the store next day with the collection he showcased on the ramp. Talk about efficient timing. Showcasing a collection titled ‘CARGWAR’ which focused on utility and function thus stripping it off to basics. The word CARGWAR being derived from main inspiration the cargo pants (no wonder the too many pockets) and shalwar.
Sending down as much as more than twenty different variations of lowers, the collection showed as much pieces in womenswear as menswear, or maybe more. Made in cotton, cotton jersey and twill, the collection had a wide array of silhouettes of shalwars and pants from streamlined and tapered to dropcrotch to dhoti shalwars to big gathered ones to layered ones.. phew!. Uppers included long and short jackets, tank tops, kurtas, draped tunics all them detailed with zippers and hand punched studs. The details gave the whole collection a masculine vibe of sorts. While many of the tunics had many pockets, lending a utilitarian touch to them (you could see the inspiration). The good thing about the whole collection was that many of these separates could be switched with each other for a desired look. These pieces, hopefully sold as separates, had a casual air about them sans any drama. I liked the fact that they limited themselves in terms of color and fabric so as to push their boundaries in terms of silhouettes, which they did. I loved the whole steampunk specs and necklaces that were used to style the collection. They complimented the outfits completely bringing them all together. Clean lines paired with voluminous details in just the right amount, the house of Arsalan Iqbal got it right through their AL FEMME and menswear line at more occasions than one.
Thee only thing I felt was that at times the brand had overdone the studs and needed to ring that down. I agree for the ramp one does need to amp up the quotient but the balance needs to be struck. Also at points I saw some strange gold and cherry blossom-ish accessories which did not go with the collection at all. While establishing a strong steam punk elements, they should have completely avoided going in that weird wanting-to-be-girly accessories. One of my fav looks (the last one) was marred by exactly that and would have been much more stronger if gone with a boot and a bad ass/ steam punkish accessories. The draped piece had no business being in a collection that had clear cut lines, the draped piece stuck out and not in the best possible way. As much as I LOVED those gold shoes, the whole blue look felt too gypsish. The lace jumpsuit..was it?.. had no business being in a collection that was high on androgynous looks and was more feminine than required. The last look that i was not too keen on was the short baggy tunic paired with a shalwar making the whole look too laidback and sack-y.
My picks: I absolutely loved the steampunk channeling accessories esp the one eye spec (in one of my pictures above), Loved those tapered pants with a points jutting out. There is something extremely polished about being in a bandhgala jacket and this one was such a polished and refined look with the pants ending at just the right length that it had to be here. This another look of jacket, tank top and these layered shalwar pants paired with boots and lazily side swept hair had everything just going for it. I loved the front short back long draped tunic in midnight blue and lastly the basic that you can’t go wrong with, the look that should have been with boots rather than those bejewelled heels and some pendant necklaces and one bad ass earring.
*Images courtesy Faisal Farooqui and his team at Dragonfly … and me