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3 Nov

When in Mumbai, do as Bollywood!

(Dawn, October 31 2010) Compact and delightfully well organized, the HDIL India Couture Week would have been the ideal model for Pakistan’s fashion weeks to begin with. The Grand Hyatt in Santacruz Mumbai, where HDIL India Couture Week is hosted every year, started coming alive a day before the shows were to commence. Lobbies were taken over by leggy models that charmed the otherwise corporate corridors while a flurry of overanxious organizers fluttered around like busy bees. Fashionistas clicked around in ridiculously high heels (and just as high skirts) and the cafes crawled with the fast and fashionable pecking at bits of lettuce and fresh fruit. From luxury cars glistening outside (meaning that a Bollywood star had arrived) to bell-boys wheeling clothes...
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24 Oct

Breakthrough, Kid

(Dawn Images on Sunday, October 24 2010) The success of Tere Bin Laden has propelled Ali Zafar’s star to immeasurable heights in India. With the right vision it can illuminate Pakistan’s dying industry too. Ali on the sets of Jhoom in Mumbai   Traveling across Mumbai to Goregaon West in Film City, where Ali Zafar is shooting a video for his new album Jhoom is like swimming through a sea of sludge. Hot, humid and crawling with traffic, it takes over an hour to get to the FM Studio where extras, dressed in saffron as saadhus (hurriedly puffing away on a smoke break), are the only giveaway that some sort of shooting is taking place inside the downtrodden shed. It’s...
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22 Oct

Fahad Hussayn sells out at Ogaan!

I always knew this boy was talented and how! Fahad Hussayn, Adnan Pardesy and Rizwan Beyg are currently in Delhi, holding a two-day exhibition at multi retail store Ogaan run by Shagun Khanna who came for the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week this February. It's interesting how these three designers - none of whom showed in Lahore - made it to India. Anyway, fashion moves in mysterious ways and one is just happy that it is moving at all. I got in touch with my journo-friend Shilpa Raina, who writes for the wire service in Delhi, and had also visited the exhibition in Delhi. She was swept off her feet by Fahad's clothes and thought Rizwan was extremely articulate and intelligent. We certainly...
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19 Oct

This brand-wagon is caught up in a traffic jam!

Gul Ahmed marketing is usually impressive. From a brand that once put up posters advertising new collections (remember how everyone wanted to buy the prints displayed in the posters?), they now have thick, professionally compiled catalogues (not to mention the uber-impressive website) and these catalogues are available in over three-dozen stand alone Ideas stores nationwide. These are big numbers we are talking. Big numbers for a very big brand. Textile Giant. The launch of the Gul Ahmed autumn/winter collection, however, did nothing to substantiate how much the brand has evolved. It was one in a haystack of ‘red carpet’ events that take place these days. An event that invited every possible person alive to come and see a collection being modeled in...
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10 Oct

Fashion weeks: Fashion’s road less travelled

(Dawn October 10) This September the frenzy of excitement amongst designers was hard to hold down. The latest issue of American Vogue had hit the stands, featuring two-pages on Fashion Pakistan Week 2, and understandably not a single copy was left unturned (read unsold). Any fashion follower would know the value of Vogue coverage; fashion fortunes have been made by a mere mention in its sacred pages. And while this coverage did not entirely look at Pakistani fashion’s most glamorous angle — inevitably bringing in the Taliban — it did suggest that Pakistan has another, more liberal angle than what the world is used to seeing. Carla Power, the writer who specialises in the study of Muslim societies, suggested as much with...
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9 Oct

HDIL India Couture Week’s FAQs, Day Two

Day Two: October 7 Show one: Couture Jewelry starring Queenie, Raj Mahtani and Maheep Kapoor Q: Did anyone understand why the runway was constructed like a piece out of a rubic A beautiful Raveena Tandon. But why? cube, with poor models consistently having to walk up and down without tripping? A: No, it was inexplicable. It was a horrible set with terrible neon lighting. Queenie  opened with impact but then the show moved into an OTT on bling (and why Raveena Tandon agreed to model is something only industry insiders would know) ending with socialites walking out for their friend Maheep Kapoor. Stars and starlets filled the runways but the likes of Chunky Pandey had a child in his lap, who...
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9 Oct

Couture week is a Bollywood playground

Here's a very small peek into Couture Week in India. I know there's much more to report but it'll take time! The buzz here at the Grand Hyatt has been incredible for the past two days. Hundreds of ushers, helpers and organizers scurry here and there all day, just to ensure that the two daily shows breeze through without a hitch. They have to, because the runway as well as front rows play host to Bollywood royalty. So far I have seen Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Jaya Bachchan, Sonam and Anil Kapoor (who btw is an absolute hunk and much much more dignified and desirable than Big B), Amitabh, the Khans including Shah Rukh, Saif as well as Kareena, Karisma (looking...
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30 Sep

What washed out fashion week

Instep Sept 26, 2010 The bright lights and vivid colours of fashion weeks have worn out and washed out, leaving behind a very tired, dull and lacklustre fashion industry. From April (when FPW2 concluded fashion week season) to date, there has hardly been any inspiring activity and it’s just not the socio-political dynamics of the country that has caused this dreariness. Designers, it appears, are burnt out/out of steam after participating in fashion weeks galore and the only road to recovery for them seems to be foreign trips. For shows, exhibitions or inspirations, who knows how the wheels of creative minds work? What we do know is that they’re certainly not working on new collections as the PFDC & Sunsilk Fashion Week,...
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19 Sep

Take a vow!

(Dawn Images, Sept 19, 2010) It’s time someone stepped in to revive and reinvent the multi-million rupee bridal industry in Pakistan.   The biggest market for fashion in Pakistan isn’t the show. It’s the shaadi. With Pakistan’s fashion conscious middle class falling into a slim minority, the practical window to high end fashion - for most women - is still wedding wear. They can tally off designers for dholkis, mehndis, the wedding/baraat day, valima, trousseau etc even if they still go to tailors for everyday clothing. Weddings are what uphold the sartorial snob value here even though critics resist accepting bridal clothing as fashion. To be fair, bridals cannot be slotted as ‘fashion’ in any contemporary sense of the word. They are repetitive, often...
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