truck art

Pout…with love

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Photography by Marcos David

  I’M WEARING: Kurta (Khaadi) / Skinny Jeans (Levis) / Chappals ( Affan Baghpati) / Aviators (factorie) / Rings (Flea market and MABEL)

Anything better to wear on Valentines but red? 😛 And that too with a tunic which advises you to ‘pout, magar pyaar se’ (pout but with love)…Cheesy? Of course 😛 .. For those who don’t know, I am a pretty much a sucker for print, esp one that entails desi kitsch elements. Now because no one would release such a kurta for men, I took up the largest size in women’s tunic, ripped it apart at seams and had my tailor, make a men’s kurta for me on my size (yayyee for customization and I have probably told this story before). Nothing looks better when you combine a looser silhouette with a streamlined one and therefore the skinny jeans are a perfect companion to this tunic. Not going the usual black route (how many times have we seen that) , the navy denim compliments the kurta to a T. As quirky as is my tunic, the footwear is equally fun. Custom designed by a friend, Affan, who is a, wait for it, a fine artist. He was kind enough to make these for me. The mis-matched chappals are always fun either to spruce up my look or compliment it  (you can do mix match with socks too). Rounding off the look were the reflecting aviators that always look fun when paired with desi silhouettes providing a  certain playfulness to the whole look.

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Brand Spotlight: 9lines

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Turning up desi and videshi (foreign) elements over their heads on a kitschy platter, that’s 9lines for you. The local Pakistani brand has been serving up since 2013. The brand that started off with kitschy graphic tees and have branched out into different merch each one unique in its own identity.

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The co-founders Saad Shahid and Hassan Iqbal Rizvi (who are pretty easy on the eyes; perfect reason for them to star in their own campaigns… I hear no complaints) are two fun creatives who have successfully managed to build a fan base in a short amount of its nascent stages (who can say it just started in 2013). The brand’s philosophy is not simple. its a RIOT. The pop culture references, the splash of color, the desi kitsch design sensibility and the love for vintage Lollywood and Hollywood movies. Its unapologetically sassy and does not fear to mix up elements with fun one liners. Turning over Linchenstien and Warhol over its head, the brand successfully manages to cater to the local and international brand of people who don’t fear stepping it up a notch with desi Pakistani kitschy elements.

So you would get an audrey hepburn with a ‘jaani zid na ker’ tag line, a Marilyn monroe with ‘had ker di aap ne’ to Barbara Sharif with ‘phoolon ki shehzaadi’ (trust me translating it in english would make it lose its charm). A loud applause is definitely in order for them to successfully translate the street art into wearable one. Its loud, its kitschy and its desi fun . In the sea of sophistication, the duo sings a tune of their own. Though one does see a shift in terms of evolution towards being polished, they do not lost sight of their kitschier ways… just the way they like it (n I hope they keep it that way).

Starting off with quirky and cheeky ‘tease’ (how they like to call it), stationary and poster, they have quickly spread out into different merch including their successful line of bags. Just this summer they launched a limited line of sunnies (guilty of owning one) and these neon briefcases that are sure to grab attention (who said you can’t have a little fun while being corporate ;). Launching their faux leather jackets for fall, the brand is spreading out its wings into more apparel ventures without losing the sight of their attention grabbing aesthetics. The poppy colored jackets are a perfect fun element of pop for those experiencing fall/winter (who said it has to be all greys and darks) … and whats more is they deliver across the globe. Head over to 9lines before they run out (trust me they do.. with a limited edition I was looking to get my hands on of their other products and it was gone within a day). Get your kitsch on!!

 

*Images courtesy 9lines

On the neighbor’s turf

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Though we keep having designers of both countries showcasing at Bridal Asia, for the first time for a mainstream fashion week, designers from Pakistan were invited to showcase at the Lakme Fashion Week a/w 2014.

Sorry but I am tired of rizwan beyg showcasing similar collection. While I may like the use of truck art using it again and again in similar vein, wears off its novelty. For reviews on his previous showcasing go here or here of collections he showcased in PFDC sunsilk fashion weeks

Going the japanese way, Sania made her foray onto the mainstream Indian Fashion week through her signature prints inspired by the Japanese murals and paintings and culture with her ‘Sakura’ collection. While I did like some of the prints especially ones that included signature prints of Japanese mural style of drawings, and the cherry blossoms, the plot seemed to waiver as the collection progressed. Sania elicited a mixed response, I for one, have definitely seen her do better. Saw a few repititions, but overall Sania managed to put forward quite a chic collection that was styled well. Crop tops, slinky and bloused tunics and high waisted tailored pants (my fav ones), possibly the best of the three designers that showcased at the fashion week. While there were a few beaded, not so good, elements involved.. she did manage to pull it off quite well.

When you are showcasing at a prêt week, it just eludes me why would you want to showcase kaam-waale-joray that ventured into the shaadi territory. Zara Shahjahan in her attempt to present at the Lakme fashion week did just that. Her clothers aimed at being inspired from Lahore and its culture. Playing up with the elements of sheer, handworked details and vintage prints Zara Shahjahan’s collection was hardly anything that made an impact considering the line up she was amongst on day 1. The collection even for her own standards seemed a bit bridalesque rather than high end luxury. From ghararas and shararas to printed jumpsuits, tunics to straight pants and crop top she did present a range. A not that sorry but a sherwani-esque tunic with an extra flared sharara had no business being together if the fit was completely off .. a brilliant example of what tarun talihani did 5 years back.. or was it rohit bal.. and did it brilliantly. A major issue were the seams and finishings that needed attention ( I mean come on!!) .In palette of pastels, this was most likely an opportunity wasted on the designer’s part whom we all know has so much potential.

Wish Faiza Samee had shown at the fashion week.

*Image credits: The LFW Team

Desi Love

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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

Gulabo by Rizwan ul haq

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.

Rangeela by Rizwan ul haq

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

Digi-tally Inclined

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As an ardent fan of knowing what the veteran designer Rizwan beyg is capable of, I was a rather bit disappointed in his presentation. The Digitruck, was an extension or rather a translation of his last collection. Having already done that brilliantly, it was a rather lacklustre opening to the last day.

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Taking his last year’s collection forward, this year’s too featured a concoction of vibrant hues on fabric namely silks and surprisingly denim (the first…actually second time I saw digital print on such hard fabric) for men. The collection carried a seventies vibe with bell bottoms, flouncy silhouettes and some exaggerated shapes, were part of the whole presentation. The collection did not find any takers in me but there is no denying they were made well. The Digitruck was the extension..or rather translation of his last collection that he showcased at PFDC. The difference being the earlier one was handcrafted peel offs whereas this was digitally printed onto the fabric. Though it is difficult to manage the same vibrancy of the color when translating from images and scans, he does it, especially on denim. Because it was the same theme, the comparasions were inevitable. I definitely felt that the last one was much more superior to this one. I missed the bags, the shoes for men..

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Obviously if it appears in any of the stores I would be the first one in line to buy these. However the big question that everyone was asking was instead of showcasing his collection at pfdc, this should have been the translation of his last collection for the stores where he stocks at. Because we know he is a genius and great at what he does, we wanted to see something new from the designer to see what is up his sleeve next. Also retail brands like Gulabo and Khaadi have already done and sold volumes of truck art themed womenswear so the question does arise how would his clothes fare in terms of Pakistani market or is the theme done and dusted with?? Or will people (like a small minority though like myself) flock to get one of the pieces of the collection?..though I have been told, he has incurred orders in various showings that he have had over destinations.

We want the genius Rizwan Back!! bass

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Images courtesy Faisal Farooqui and his team at Dragonfly

Sensory Experience

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Just when you thought truck art was redundant and nothing more could be done to it, Yahsir Waheed, springs up a pleasant surprise with his take on one of the most vernacular arts of the region. The collection aptly titled ‘ Ai No Corrida’ meaning realm of senses, was a visual treat on the runway. A fresh take towards truck art, Yahsir Waheed showed off what happens when the master takes centre stage.

Yasir Waheed’s fresh take towards truck art resulted in a multitude of abstract and fun prints which carried off elements of the art, yet were done in an artful manner. The colors ranged from lime, oranges, pinks, blues, whites and blacks. Using cotton, linen, chiffon and silk, a multitude of silhouettes and shapes comprised up of this collection. There were summer jackets, jumpsuits, dresses, pant suits, hoodie tops and separates. He also showed some pieces which played upon the sheer trend with just the right amount of black on black bling, with the colourful print underneath.

Producing a hip and fun collection, Yahsir Waheed proved that you can take a similar source of inspiration and do a brilliant presentation if you have fresh ideas and do an interesting spin on it. That’s why, from what I have heard, he is a good teacher too. My picks from his collection was this black and pink digital print dress, The eye print that was so masterfully done to convey the ‘dekh magar pyaar se’ line without the text, the abstract orange ripple with black offcentre geometric print dress, the pink hoodie top, and the layered jumpsuit with eyes peeking in through the sheer black over the print.
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*Image courtesy Faisal Farooqui and his team at Dragonfly