The second fashion week of the season, The fashion week from Lahore had quite a few interesting collection that did explore the fun and business sides of fashion. The collections both by debutantes and established designers definitely had people sit up and take notice how pret is evolving within fashion. While there were a few that stuck to the formulaic commercialism, others did dare to venture out, pushing the envelope and making a damn point.
It was a mixed bag of fashion week with many veterans and experienced designer stumbling onto finding a contemporary footing with some traditions that are ingrained within their audience. The final and Day 3 was no different either with designers putting on a show. With Zaheer coming out on trumps with his succinct collection and Nilofer Shahid showcasing her technical finesse, balancing the interpretation and tribute facets within her collection, the concluding day rounded off with an interesting note of sorts; with a lesson for designers for the need to step up their game seriously instead of mediocre offerings.
Can only do so much
High street brand like Levis while introducing its products does not veer away from what it is. Even bringing on stylists like Rana and Ayaz, who can only do so much, Introducing yet another denim, Levis kept the look and feel of the show their usual self. Read the rest of this entry »
Where the wild things are
With a match made in fashion heaven of outhouse jewelry and Mohsin Ali for Sana Safinaz, the collection that was about all wild things and translated into luxury pret ensembles. Mohsin brought in a certain sense of bravery within this offering from the house of Sana Safinaz flexing his muscles into a well established brand. While a few Haider Ackerman moments ensued, Mohsin pretty much nailed the collection with interesting drapes, some deliciously dark and luxe color palette and unusual embellishments. Barring any usual evening wear outing, he went for boxy silhouettes, oversized boyfriend shirts, suits and tops that could easily be seperated or synced in together. Inspired by wild jungle, the prints in greens and browns accented off with unexpected purples and lapiz blues and bright oranges were a perfect delicacy for the winters. The collection had quite a few wrapped shrugs and tops, fuller printed skirts and the power suits, esp the printed one meant that this woman meant some serious fashion business. The fierce collection was complimented by equally fiery accessory pieces by Outhouse jewelry. The quirky pieces added a lot of character and depth to an already fun ensembles and were a perfect match that added onto the look. The evocative, sensuous and delectable collection was one of the major highlights of the fashion week.
Bang Bang Tang
The only Lahore designer Faraz Manan to showcase at the fashion week, Faraz’s collection had me over the fence whether to completely like it or not. While it had some interesting pieces, the shanghai-ness seemed to be missing. He played with quite a few sheer, distressed and his favorite pretty bling details in tops dresses, seperates, jackets, crop tops and skirts. While he was in his usual luxe element, the pieces esp the ones paired with distressed denim could have been styled much better. There were quite a few moment that I did feel that I have seen so much better work from him. With some brilliant highs, there were a few basic (pun intended) lows that just could not match up to the peaks in the presentation. However all was not lost in the process. The chevron gunmetal wrap dress was completely lust worthy. He picked the right shade and the perfect pattern. The gunmetal bandhgala was another winner. Not many people do pink jacket well, he for one did it, one that makes me want to own one just because his was soo well made (could have been styled better though).
What has Nauman Arfeen not shown in menswear that he has not showcased before. Known for his classic approach towards eastern menswear, Arfeen remained true to his element this time in tones of browns and blacks presenting a modern yet traditionally rooted nawabi collection. While I partly expected him to go much more contemporary after his last showing of blues and browns, he did remain in his zone for the most part of his presentation while experimenting withing that arena. . While I was ok with the black ones, one of the pieces was odd with a fringe arm band detail, and another one without an inner to the sherwani (that exposed shalwar pants was not a good idea) and the some of the embroidered pieces needed to be toned down heavily from their nineties-ness.The browns and bronzes fared better showing quite a bit range in graded printed jackets and print on print suit that were an absolute favorite and almost a perfect compliment to Sabyasachi’s modern maharani gayatri devi interpretation (here). I would definitely like the designer to step out a bit more even though it is fair enough considering the desi man is not that experimental, but unless he is offered something, how would he know unless he tries.
*Images courtesy Tapu Javeri and his team.
P.S. A shoutout to Latitude PR for keeping things running smoothly and remarkably on time breaking myths of shows not being able to end before 11pm.. not a mean feat.
Noir et blanc
Kicking off things on the last day, Sadaf Malatere opened up the day with a chic collection that was sans any unnecessary drama. The fourth monochromatic collection during the fashion week was still a-fresh due to its minimal and sleek approach in design. Accompanied along with controlled pretty chinoiserie cherry blossom details that just hinted and teased at points rather than going OTT over the garment. The pretty collection started off with clean lines it successfully evolved into fringed accented ensembles that broke the whole linear monotony but without looking out of place. The effortlessly chic collection had a range of fun basics, dresses, separates as well as some fun fringed pieces. The collection was restrained and well made (shouldn’t we stop mentioning it since it is the basic pre-requisite). The collection with its part french part jazz references scored majorly due to its control that it exercised. Tres chic.
Bringing back Surprises
Maheen Karim’s latest offering was luxe, glam and more. While the collection was not without its share of uh-oh moments, the vibe surely was high and the designer managed to deliver what she is known for. While a shaky start with a heavly embellished ensemble in blush pink… the things progressed for the better. A few DVF references in matt golds were hard to miss…A departure of sorts,not totally, from her usual serving of prints, Karim focused more on embellished details in moderation and some of her signature laid back luxe and resort vibe. Though I expected the sole print she presented to be much more brighter in print, but nevertheless suited the winter season for which the collection was presented. The front short-back long tunic with glitter hot pants was rather an odd inclusion in the presentation. The presentation did manage to spring back some surprises (pun intended) and peaked most at the red jumpsuit with a deep cross over back, the black gown with gilded filigree detail that continued on the a fun cutout back that was unusual and sensuously luxe. Another one that stood out in the collection was a wrap drape that gathered up front. A good showing.
After two successful pret runs earlier this year, Nida presented a Renaissance inspired collection moving away from the whites and pastels of summer, in an attempt to score a hattrick. She did manage to get halfway there. There was no dearth of fun and innovative renaissance inspired prints at Nida’s show in deep rich tones coupled with handworked embroidery. However she faltered on many counts in terms of silhouette and how the print and embroidery were coupled together, as well as separates that were put together. The metallic jacket with gharara, the black shrug, top and the layered gharara with different levels had some odd print pairings and looked more gypsy and carried a bit Ram Leela dejavu. Same was the case with saris paired with jacket (nothing wrong with that, I for one love the combo) with the two separates, not being in sync, and I thought she almost got rid of that front open floor length layered anarkali. While she started off strong with some interesting pieces thing went for a bit of an off balance half way through, but managed to end well with a printed slouched dress. Loved the black self printed pants with laser cut top and a tunic over a sariesque gown. Also a short printed shrug belted over a mouse grey gown (not an easy color) were some of the highlights of the show. Some great prints (as expected) but I wished they were utilized better.
*Images courtesy Tapu Javeri and his team
Mish Mash Mess
Fnkasia’s folk spirit collection left me a bit on the odds as to what to make of the collection that was presented down the runway. The opening horizontal striped number spelled disaster and set the possible tone for the collection that mish mashed so many strange elements together that it was hard to pin down the coherent thread. The collection titled folk spirit became disaster of quite epic proportions with use of some perforated materials, coupled with some dramatic accessories that were not needed in many places. The badly fitted blue maxi number, the odd first number and the dated yellow silhouette managed to bring things down quite a few notches. The blue knotted number with embellished tights and the last OTT number possibly hit the final nail in the coffin. Serious editing and quite the amount of control needed to be exercised by the designer since there was much too mish mash of so many things from elements of pret to wanting to go the high end route. Quite the disappointment for a fashion house who’s last two outings, esp the bengali one (yes I still remember that and it was more than a year ago) was quite a fresh take. The collection though had a two high points in the shape of the draped and belted yellow and monochromatic number and the black dress with a lace cape (but it was marred by the chunky accessory that it could do without). Ethnic legwarmers were another welcome addition and I did spot an interesting shalwar. Huma! we have seen you present way better stuff than this, esp for winterwear.
Designers Deepak and Fahad went the monochromatic way with their latest collection simply Siyah Sufaid. The collection that presented an array of menswear and womenswear was not without its share of hits and misses. While the menswear fared better than womenswear, the designers did display some serious potential and the ways in which they can take this forward. While they presented a number of fun jackets quilted and printed within menswear, the womenswear saw one breezy number and the rest on the structured end with dresses, gowns and jumpsuit. The black and white collection made quite a few people sit up and take notice of the duo, since they have gradually managed to improve with each passing presentation and learnt from it. This collection however it was not without faults. One of the leather jackets seemed like an odd intrusion in the whole presentation and stuck out. The white printed suit number also needed some serious alterations since the pants looked more like PJs and the last gown could have been better fitted. However not all was lost in the process and they did present a few some pretty interesting pieces. My picks had to be the quilted jacket, the printed sleeve shirt paired with that bandhgala nehru vest, the fading mini number and the jumpsuit with an embroidered bolero that scored high. All eyes would definitely be on them with what they come up with next.
Lets just take a moment and sit and go through the whole collection of what Mr Pardesy presented on the runway possibly peaking day 2 with his collection titled Labyrinth. Breathe In and Breathe Out. The monochromatic collection with a multitude of inspirations was perfectly balanced outing with the display of his love for craft and deconstruction of it. The collection was one helluva ride that, as expected, was one we did not want to end.
Possibly his most retail friendly silhouettes, Pardesy’s collection was not absent or compromising of his penchant for details of various crafts that included deconstructed weaving to embroidery to greek imagery. The collection was meticulously crafted, one that was obvious so much so the created an entire top out of weaving strips and that too patterned… *applause*.. that my dear is not an easy feat and that is the effort this perfectionist puts into his craft and excels at it. Apart from that, Pardesy combined a multitude of prints as well as embroidered images so fine that they were mistaken for print by some of the onlookers, unless given a second look. These combined with prints and brilliant mastered tailoring (not a thread out of place), Pardesy’s collection was chic, relaxed and fab. His experimentation with some of the silhouettes was remarkable while the control he exercised in others was pitch perfect. The menswear he presented, the black and white sherwani is bound to find takers *raises hand*. It is amazing to see how far Adnan Pardesy is willing to push the envelope every time he is to present, be it the gota enriched gilded collection or the denim one, the ralli inspired one or the summer sorbet that he presented. He just pushes those boundaries and loves doing so in his attempt to experiment with womenswear. Thank God he is not satisfied and I hope he never is, for then he can continue to seek excellence every time he has to present. Killed it man!!
Kukkar Kamaal Da!!
For all the reasons I just had to title the review of Deepak’s collection this… because .. those who understood it definitely got it :P. The collection ‘Everything but the girl’ was just that, nothing but Menswear. Deepak’s collection presented a variety of menswear with some interesting silhouettes for the Pakistani man who is a bit conservative to experiment much. However with Perwani’s collection there was pretty much everything for everyone. From suits to bandhgalas to nehru jackets to long coats to cheeky ‘rooster’ printed kurtas and pants (loved them, they instantly went onto my lust list) to some very interesting jodhpurs, the collection presented quite the range with embroidered and belted accents onto them. While one of the jackets with its OTT embroidery did take me back to the 90s, *shudders with horror with the reminder of what put me off embroidery*, thankfully only one such piece made an appearance. The collection also presented a belted sherwani and a bandhgala which made for an interesting styling choice. From OTT to minimal, the collection pretty much had it all and that is where possibly it seemed a bit inconsistent at points. The dip dye shirts and rooster prints (though my favs) as well as casual outings and coats seemed disconnected at points to formal suits and sherwanis presented by the designer. However the designer managed to maintain the whole vibe of the show and round it off before it had the tendency to go astray. Sikander Rizvi and Adnan Malik made for suave showstoppers and set quite a few swooning over them (trust me you should have seen my timeline during that moment).
*Images courtesy Tapu Javeri and his team
Fierce Fab Fitch
Shehla Chatoor’s Misaki ticked off most of the right notes with her signature luxury aesthetic coming into play within the collection that drew inspiration from japanese folding screens, murals and samurai. The collection though had a bit of a Balmain (another designer who needs to be left alone after DnG) deja vu in terms of similar rope techniques and was hard to ignore, Shehla brought more than that to the table in a collection that was fierce and definitely not for the faint hearted.
The collection apart from the rope twistings, heavily employed lasercut leather that was cut, twisted and woven into the garments, along with that she brought forth some chic ensembles incorporating japanese prints so well that it is safe to say she was actually better than reigning princess of print Sania Maskatiya’s Sakura outing earlier this year at Lakme fashion week. The digital prints were controlled and served up in some serious sultry luxe treatments that everyone would want to get a hold of one in their closet. Shehla Chatoor along with employing all these techniques never lost sight of her usual glam aesthetic that was omnipresent throughout the collection. Her silhouettes ranged from full length skirts, gowns, saris, jackets, seperates and jumpsuits. Loved the set of three different silhouettes all with a single leather slashed sleeve that she sent out in black. That woven top made in leather for that sari…epic..for someone who knows weaving and that technique… its not easy to pull off. The collection is sure to be picked up by celebs for red carpet as well as women who are her regular clientele. A minor gripe was the sporty ensemble that she sent out in black. In a collection that depended a lot of fierce femininity with a charm, that sporty ensemble stuck out… but just a minor gripe. I loved almost everything. My absolute favorites had to be the chic button down with printed skirt with a box clutch… was a perfect example of laid back fiery luxe ensemble, the leather top with one sleeve with black printed skirt and the opening number. Brownie points to the brave styling that complimented the clothes to a T.
State of Stagnant affair
Emraan Rajput’s take on military faltered on quite a few notes giving us a presentation that was hardly variable in terms of silhouettes or color. Staying withing browns and greens, the collection stayed within a limited structure that probably became its own undoing. I, for one, have seen some brilliant military interpretations and this one did not live upto that… not even his last denimology outing. The collection stayed within the parameters of jackets and bandhgalas alll paired with pants, heavy boots and cap (n no that did not give it its tough look). A couple of womenswear were also thrown it, structured and well made but on the whole everything lacked a certain charm even for taking a minimal approach. The only high points that probably came in the collection were a woven vest and a cross over jacket… the rest..sorry! nothing much to talk about there.
Sanam Chaudhri’s was one collection was one I was waiting for primarily because of the vintage techniques that it aimed to employ. What I feared was the trap that Sanam might fall into regarding silhouettes, as tending onto an era, designers tend to go costumey in an attempt to display drama on the ramp. However much of it was laid to rest since Sanam avoided such pitfalls from the word go. The vintage inspired collection BANO was demure and subtly nuanced attempt at contemporarizing (yayy new word) while harking onto traditions. This was probably full on desi-gone-luxury pret outing this year…first being Maheen Kardar’s (here), which was much more dramatic but this one was much more relaxed and calmer compared to the former. Think of this one as subtle Rani Mukerji and former one as Kajol (does that analogy even make sense..but I just had to put it)
Sanam’s collection while incorporating various adage surface treatement techniques, managed to give some fun silhouettes that could be broken down as separates or built up as desired. What she gave us ranged from jackets and crop tops to koti vests, structured cholis and bolero (loved those strong shoulders specifically this one but wasn’t too keen on the gharara skirt that it was paired with) as well as some shalwars, tapered pants and capri izars (wasn’t too sure of those though) and a gorge sari. She managed to experiment with silhouettes of many of the shrugs, incorporating sheer elements too while the last statement piece with that fuller Afghani coat was the perfect build up end the presentation needed.. though the motif and embroidery are not alien to me, but again it is indeed one of the references that I know of. All were minimally styled with a mang tika or a simple earring sans any drama. This was desi vintage done well. I picked up on some of the references of shorter kurtis, some vintage fabrics and embroideries that she showcased. My favorite ones had to be this white on white ensemble with this exteremely well tailored pants, the shorter black jacket with that crop top and the white sari. Net Saris are hard as it is to pull off and to her credit she actually managed to control it and give it pitch perfect pleating and styling without wanting to go OTT and just let it loose just to display the handwork.
Ayesha Hashwani is one of those luxury designers who has had much luck on the retail front rather than ramp. Her designs are what women swear by and with her latest store being opened, she finally has had more than a sell-out exhibition to cater to only increasing her fan base. Her collection nevertheless displayed the luxury charm that she is associated with , one that is bound to fly off once it hits the stores. Known for her use of luxurious embroidery and embellishment with not too far ranging yet commercial silhouettes, her winter offering was no different. Delving into darker tones of blacks, reds, rusts and golds, her Baroque collection definitely picked up on its references and played up by the designer in her usual embroidered fashion. With kimono inspired tops, jackets and capes, her collection, albeit safe and commercial, offered layered luxury pretty impressively. The client base, the high end, clearly reflected in clothes and the styling. While the collection may seem a bit dainty and for a woman from upper echelon of society, it does not go without saying that some of them had fierce self assured undertones…A bit of Anna Karenina if I must say. The over fringed piece is as dramatic as it gets on the runway. While the collection of just eleven looks did manage to impress, it also had a few pitfalls. The animal printed pants seemed a bit of an odd fit in the collection and so did the last cream number. The black and gold had heavy DnG undertones (how many times have we heard that), with the whole collection feeling of bit Shehla meets Shamael vibe.
The collection was definitely not without it’s high points. Of what Tapu referred to as RED RIDING HOOD was a fierce ensemble of red worked with baroque details and knee high boots scored high (makers of once upon a time.. are you listening?? makeover for riding hood) . The gold worked up cape with the black jumpsuit was perfectly balanced and the kimono top was pretty elegant. The last creme number with the embellished and laser cutworked cape though did not fit into the collection but does not go without saying that it was one hot and possibly the perfectly styled number in the collection drawing applause from all corners (it did remind me of when naeem khan presented a singular bridal piece at the end of his collection..no such thing here)
Textile giant Gul Ahmed’s latest offering was as bad as things come by on the ramp and you wonder what were they thinking after they took two baby steps up in their last two showings. The collection that relied heavily on prints and surface treatment was bad from the word go with its styling choices, bad color scheme and the inconsistency of the print sent down the runway. The bad prints in even unflattering and worse colors did nothing for the collection that could have been made better with fabric and styling choices. From geometrics, to tribals to florals, the presentations seemed like a confused array of garments and prints one after the other walking down the runway with no direction. Even the silhouettess from frumpy dressed ethnic school girl to bags…literally bags.. in an attempt to create slouched garments, in VELVET bogging down the whole thing and that too in ugh colors.. for the lack of better words, someone’s insides seemed thrown out on that to some really unflattering pants (if you can make a model look fat theres no hope for the rest of the women..or you). Even their finale outfit, the olive green (from all the countless tones of green they had to pick the ugliest one) with the cape that looked like a section of a carpet plastered onto the poor model, it was the classic case of one step forward 5 steps back for Gul Ahmed. A disappointing outing, probably one of the worst ones throughout the whole fashion week
Aamna Aqeel’s collection pretty much redeemed her from her last outing that saw her come under fire. However this collection, though still not as good as her first one, did show some brilliant promises and potential. The monochromatic collection that started off with whites and converged into black showed a variety of silhouettes and jackets and capes that showed some extremes of lengths within the same garment. While that is something that has come to be an element Aamna uses quite a bit, the collection was not absent from moments when these extremes did not work and resulted in some odd proportions. One of the garments with a different fabric on inner seam went all the way up highlighting the crotch area.. in a not so flattering way.. not a good move. But despite these few glitches, she is still someone to look out for how she comes into her own as a designer. From handworked details that were not over indulgent (thankfully) to some sheer details and structured silhouettes, her winter offering was good and thankfully the blacks did not remind us oh her debut outing.
Needless to say there were quite a few moments that showed some fun elements that the designer played with, within her silhouettes Kudos to her for sending down Aamna Ilyas in a plunging neckline done well that sent quite a few into tizzy. The embroidered band on the jacket, the structured long jacket with embroidery running down the sides (the model ruined it when at the end of the runway opening it to show pants.. not showing you guys that shot) and some peek a boo play of the colored lining were the few good pieces. Another one would also be the black and gold jacket with a black dress with tones of greys added the perfect amount of restraint and balance (one that we rarely see).
Like Pip, the pressure was possibly immense on Zaheer to deliver primarily because of the fact that he was returning to the ramp after quite a while and there is a certain level of excellence and construction that we associate with the designer. With such sky high expectations, all eyes were on the closing show of Day 1. Zaheer’s collection NEO NUDE aimed at exploring the relationships between skin and clothing. His winter offering though good at points still left much to be desired. Restricting himself to a color palette of nude, maroons and blacks, the designer focused on the forms and drapes though the fabric of choice probably became his undoing. The designer apart from silks played up with sheer and fringes to deliver the concept and to some extent did manage to do so. From dresses to separates, to gowns to kaftanesque silhouettes, while Zaheer had a range, it did miss out on the whole. To top it (literally) the blonde fringe did seem like an odd combo at places having a hard time coordinating with the clothes.
However not all was lost in the process. The latter pieces esp the sheer and embellished suits were sharply tailored to perfection and kept that hope alive. The bitchy power suits were an absolute favorite. The skirt with a sheer layer and one of the draped pieces in nude were the strongest one from his collection. We have seen him do better and the little chink in the armour won’t bother him. I am sure he will bounce back.. there is always a next time