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 know I know I am late on this one, but better late than never right!! LIFE does get in the way and did I mention, I graduated and officially a Masters (you probably know that if you follow me on instagram 😛 )
While not averse to the idea of two fashion weeks, a full fledged and succinct fashion week with 5 days for all designers over the country would make much more sense, but I will not get into the politics of fashion, all I’ll say is that it is the case over all the world so Pakistan fashion industry going through it is no anomaly. The Fashion Pakistan Week that took place in Karachi showcased a multitude of designers showcasing their collections. From them, here are my picks:
Kicking things off on Day 1, Fashion Pakistan Week begun with the usual fervor with designers, Shehla Chatoor, Sania Maskatiya, Gulabo, Ayesha Hashwani, Tena Durrani, Hisham Malik and Sana Safinaz showcasing their luxury and high end collections.
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
Gulabi GULABO: Gulabo’s fun eccentric collection ecompassed and celebrated Karachi in all its glory. One of the major high street brands around, It showed its spunky fervor in its presentation. From prints comprising of buildings to truck art imprinted tunics and embellished berets, it was indeed a brilliant opening to Day 2. Keeping up the high energy vibe throughout the show, the array of tunics kept us wanting for more. While a couple of prints did make a reappearance, i did not mind it since it came together well. A special detail that caught my attention i.e. spray painted school p.e. sneakers that complimented the outfits brilliantly.
Deepak’s FRIDA goes to Kharadar: While one can catch my review in my coverage for FPW, Deepak took his frida notches higher from where he concluded as the finale. Kitschy, fun and vibrant, Deepak’s frida collection, while similar as well as an addition of a few more prints (the chainak (kettle) one), was fun at its best. Streamlining the silhouette to a much more sleeker and chic form, Deepak scored high on keep it minimal accessorizing with the frida printed bags. Sans any drama this time around, Deepeak toned down the OTT styling yet keeping the essence there, resulting in a fun collection that had everyone take up notice that he had taken his collection forward and made new pieces rather showing the previous collection
Mistress of SPICES: Starting off with a dramatic rani background song, Fnkasia’s latest presentation took everyone by surprise by its much more toned down treatement. With solid drapes coupled with streamlined cigarette pants and churidaars. These were enhanced with zari, print and applique treatements. Furthermore the tribal jewellery added to the ensemble just added the right amount of zing. Huma Adnan is aware of the concept of sending trickle downs of the runway shows to her retail stores. Furthermore she has been retailing abroad (Kimaya and US) that gives her that added experience. Doing shows abroad too, she has taken the brand to places. Combine that with fierce business acumen of her husband and you have a winner.
Debutante: Another debut on the runway, this time around it was daughter of Farnaz Mustafa (who showed on day 1), Umaima Mustafa. Unlike her mother, the daughter fared much on the runway front. Starting off with a nude plaette and moving off into neutrals, the show was pretty much a decent showing and like her mother roamed in the territory of semi formals and formals of though younger audience. Loved the bronze sequin pants cybil wore. However the fringed pieces and a peacock colored blue and green finale piece that did not belong in the collection and had the collection going all over the place. As a designer one needs to know where to stop or go all OTT.
CONTRASTING ELEMENTS: One of the impressive shows of the night was by Fahad Husayn, who’s much more demure color palatte was combined with his usual fierce and structured elements. He brought together two elements of being feminine and edgy together. He played around with layers and one of the interesting features was the pants with contrasting materials coming together giving off an illusion of knee length boots. Well played Mr. Husayn. However the inclusion of a sole male model seemed a bit contrived and forced. Also could have done away with the usual OTT headdresses. The collection was effective on its own.
BHAM BHAM: Ahmed’s Bham’s take on the chic evening wear suits was a perfect fit for every model that was wearing it. He knows his fit right and had it going on for him, for the most important thing in any garment has to be the fit particularly a suit. The patterned and solid separates, jackets and vests were bang on simple without much drama to let the clothes do all the talking. Also one of the better choreographed sequences, the presentation was a winner all the way
NOT UPTO THE MARK: Ayesha Ibrahim was one of the WHAT THE HEYY moments on the runway. The clothes sort of felt dated and while one could see her attempts at layering with net, it went all the wrong way bordering towards naughty lingerie and satin robes that were pretty tasteless and failed to make an impact. The applique and embroidery techniques combined with that silhouette didn’t appeal to much. The treatement of the fabric along with the silhouette went awry, and let almost everyone to think why was she shortlisted.
SHAMAEL: Shamael’s OTT presenation was one of those moments that had me going on again ‘this is not a fashion week’ … while the oriental prints and loose tunics and silhouettes were a reminiscent of her last collection shown at FPW, the flower accessories, the choreography seemed to be too dramatized and seemed rather forced because it was a finale. One should have enough confidence in the clothes for them to be showstoppers with complimentary styling rather than going all drama. While there were fewer pieces compared to others, it was a typically shamael showing. However what was a concerning thought was, that while she caters to select clientele, how would the veteran fare in retail
The 2 day show was pretty impressive considering the lineup of the designers with more hits than misses. The timely beginning and end of both the days was bang on, ending up at decent time, which is no mean feat considering the two fashion weeks. The timely PR by Tehmina Khaled of take II did a fab job. While HSY’s choreography is always as good, this time around, at occassions, i felt there was a need to be simpler, rather than exaggerated. The makeup however was a letdown and could have been better by miles. While the production values of blinding lights was not as good on day 1, day 2 was better with the back to back shows running smoothly.
Having said all of that the purpose of this trade show, i.e. to propel business, should actually be the purpose of the two fashion weeks that occur in the country. However reducing them down to entertainment doesn’t cut it since at the end of the day it is a serious business.