Gulabo by Maheen Khan
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.
I’M WEARING: Kurta (Koel) / Skinny Jeans (Cotton On) / Chappals (Nagra) / Scarf (Gulabo) / Ring (Flea Market find)
Doing a desi look is always so much fun in a videshi (foreign) country…hehe. Giving my Koel kurta tunic it’s debut spin, I went for a much more casual staple of probably every desi guy at one point in time… Kurta, Jeans and a pair of Kolhapuri footwear. It has sort of become that one modern day classic for the urban guy. Sydney in particular has been a bit moody in its weather, so am loving the summer slash autumn interpretations and it mean out comes the cottons. I, for one, am a ardent block print fan and therefore this kurta tunic from KOEL demanded to be taken out. The tunic is hand printed with white on white chevrons overall on the kurta. Pairing it with basic black skinny jeans from Cotton On..these are probably one of the best high street skinny jeans I have put on and I am very particular about mine. Comfy and such a good fit. I added on this kitschy balochi scarf from Gulabo for just that added quirk that I needed to have. The pop of blue played a brilliant offset against the white and black ensemble. I finished the look off with basic Kolhapuris and a major statement geometric ring I came across in a flea market.
Possibly the last event I attended before leaving…and one am glad I did. Gulabo is a brand associated with all things desi kitsch, especially truck art. With a brand with such strong identity, it is easy to get stagnant with a similar vibe. However Gulabo by Maheen Khan has steadily foraying into desi kitsch done really well (evident from the collections they have presented on runways) inspired by the love of all things Pakistan. The brand recently launched two lines namely Rangeela and Shaam foraying into further expansion of the brand
For someone who is a fan of print and that too in menswear, the novelty fun prints, esp the road map ones that I always wanted for men (talk about wish coming true) and the chainak (desi kettles) came as a fun respite from the usual solids or the usual safe prints we are served for menswear. For someone who has to get novelty fun prints customized, this came as such a fun addition to the retail market. The RANGEELA line was fun with its prints but sadly I couldn’t get my hands on one before leaving.
The SHAAM line as the name signifies is a much more simpler elegant line for evening wear that could be dressed up or down as pleased. The basic tunics in silks could be paired with skinnys, add in a smoky eyes and some chunky jewellery and you are good to go without much fuss. Others included white and golds as well as prints combined with signature Maheen Khan embroideries. As quoted.. “SHAAM, the evening wear collection for women, has been designed for the on trend woman who loves both traditional and contemporary styles and is looking for something classy…” Furthermore from the signature printed accessories, it was the canvas monotone truck art printed cross body bags that stood out for me.
Go all out this EID!! Pricing for clothes range from PKR.4,000 and above and PKR.1,000 and above for accessories and bags.
PR and marketing was done by Samra Muslim of Walnut Communications
Gulabo by Maheen Khan has been a pioneer in deriving inspiration from the vibrant city of Karachi in many ways. With the collections, she and her team seem to be at play everytime they have a presentation to make. Primarily because of the fact that they enjoy what they do in having fun with fashion and it shows without being uninhibited by anyone in the vicinity.
The high street brand’s design philosophy has always centered around being young, youthful and yet deliver the love for the city of Karachi and more particularly Pakistan. Gulabo’s colorful ode to Karachi moved on from the truck art prints down to the Karachi road maps, drawings of monuments and vehicles juxtaposed with paint splashes bringing out the undying vibrant spirit of the city onto the ramp. The black sketches contrasted against paint splashes were a brilliant uninhibited highlighted ode to the city. There were a couple of camouflage prints done in grey, a sort of comment on the unrest situation of the city at occasions but continues on with the resilience against giving in to the situations.
The silhouettes were relaxed tunics letting the prints take the center stage in every piece. They were chic and laid back without trying too hard. The pants ranged from shalwars, wide legged ones and slouched trousers to fitted tights and cropped pants all finished off with khussas. While I was a bit over the fence with the styling, like it’s tagline they were having a bit of fun on the ramp, and why not!! it did remind me of a stage production of Shakespeare’s fairies from A Mid Summer Night’s dream. Many of the pieces were accessorized by signature Gulabo bags.
My favorites has to be this tunic of with the sketch of Merewether tower juxtaposed with vibrant splashes of color made into this colorful print of sorts. Also I loved the road map print and how the whole ensemble was put together. Though easily could be worked as separates, I loved the colorful road map printed pants with just a hint of print on the shirt (I so wish that shirt would have been in menswear, would have loved to wear it). Also I absolutely adored the cross body bags, Maheen Khan was carrying one too, with the ajrakh prints. Now who ever has been through my instagram has seen me in an array of ajrakh kurtas. I just love the print and this time, in a bag, …I soo want one.
*Images courtesy Tapu Javeri and his team