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.
HSY’s latest collection titled sher collaborated with an NGO working towards welfare of education of girls and women empowerment. Incorporating crafted skills of these women into the collection, HSY should be applauded for his initiative and 20 years in the business. However did the collection deliver? In most parts yes! But wasn’t without flaws.
Employing crafted skills of women from Shergarh, HSY’s collection featured a multitude of patterns embroidered and printed, usually ones falling under the umbrella of Islamic patterns and sub continental motifs. These included geometric patterns as well as paisley and floral vines and motifs. The collection that was heavy on embroidery and print. From fully embroidered and appliquéd to embroidery done on sheer fabrics, plain and juxtaposition with printed fabric, he pretty much explored a diverse range in his presentation. Using browns, teals, reds, yellows, indigo and beiges, he kept his tones earthy…a far departure from HSY we saw earlier in FPW going all out dark glam or his usual signature.
As far as silhouettes go, seeing his last few luxury prêt collections, he took a 180 degree turn to present a very…so to speak…a ‘pakistani’ collection. The silhouettes were a far cry from the silhouettes that we are used to seeing from him. Presenting menswear and womenswear, he had quite an array on display. There were kurtas, flared pants, shalwars, sherwanis, waistcoats, straight pajamas, flared tuncs, straight tunics, churidaars, saris, jumpsuits, floor lengths .. phew! I even spotted a pair of overalls. The collection made heavy use of organza, georgettes and silks through which he played on sheer layering, varying lengths and looser silhouettes.
However I was not quite on board with the styling… the extra high spiralled braid with a paranda, wasn’t my cup of tea and felt too ‘punjabi’ to put it cultural terms. The collection which should appeal to the city crowd felt a wee bit too desi gaaon-ki-gori with that. Also many of the embroidery placements though commercial and sellable were expected of sorts. The high low hemline kurta felt funny with its drooping sides, some of the crushed flared long tunics seem a little dated since we just dusted our hands off them a few seasons ago.
Loved the men’s kurta’s…and especially that shalwar on the model leading the pack was fun. The straight pajama in this one was done to perfection ending just at the right length, the overalls with sherwani were a quirky way, the layered flared pants were fun, the sleek panelled tunic worked because of that plain middle panel providing that break, the high waisted flared pants went all out with patterns and loved it for that and the sari with the jacket was one of my fav looks.
He ended the collection with an inspiring speech, giving out a social and patriotic message. With so many feathers in his cap, it wouldn’t hurt to add one more of standing up in next elections now would it?
P.S. A note of thanks to team at Lotus for their timely efforts. From pictures to seating to press kits, they nailed it like always. The team at Golin Haris, my bloggers in crime, keeping me company virtually or in person, and everyone who actually reads the individual reviews that I keep writing (though I am planning to change it up)…Thank you.
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