(Published in The Review in Images, Dawn)
A glorious summer sun has already started washing the harshness of winter away from many parts of the country and while winter is experimentally exciting for fashion in the western world, here in Pakistan we look forward to summer with the same enthusiasm. Not only is it the longest season of the year, it is just as versatile. Summer hikes through the blazing heat and swims through monsoon downpours. In most parts of the country the atmosphere gets humid enough to pass for a sauna while on coastal shores, it blows in a gentle summer breeze. Cottons, lawn, voiles, muslin and even chiffons and lightweight silks work well with all these variations.
This versatile weather calls for a wardrobe just as flexible and of course, flattering. Here, we round up trends to adapt this summer: wardrobe essentials that have come through in spring/summer 2010 fashion weeks worldwide and must make an appearance in yours too!
PRINTS & FLORALS: steer clear of the shrinking violets
If you’re looking for a theme to follow where summer prints are concerned then there is only one word to abolish: feminine. Embrace the rest fearlessly. You’ve undoubtedly started piling up on lawn prints – they are irresistible – but when buying lawn, don’t allow your wardrobe to end up looking like a pastel water-colour of the botanical gardens. Both pastels and saccharine florals should be avoided at all costs. Unless, that is, they can be worn with extreme originality.
Designers all over the world have unanimously set a slightly kitschy colour code for spring/summer prints. Florals may still twine their way through our lives but they will have a sinister and dark twist. They must have an edge that reminds one of thorny roses instead of sweet blossoms that exist in fairy tales or birthday cake decorations. Think wicked stepmother instead of Sleeping Beauty.
Pick up prints that are different and have a strong character. Diane Von Furstenberg’s spring collection incorporates a lot of black and acid tones, especially in floral prints. Sara Shahid’s exclusive prints are borne in turquoise and bright plum blossoms. Stick with floral prints that remind you of a dangerous variety of flora. Let the bees and birds flock to the sickly sweet!
COLOUR CODING: go for strong statements
A lack of feminine pastels doesn’t mean that your summer palette will be void of colour. There is a lot of colour, which borrows primarily from cinema this year. One can find tinges of Avatar – making blues and eco-friendly greens top hits – as well as the fantasy of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. The colour red will also play an important role in your wardrobe, especially as an accessory. This is your time to be Queen of Hearts. If you think that summers get too hot for a fiery red, then restrict it to an accent in your clothes. That is exactly what Kamiar Rokni is doing, though he too has some solid red separates in his spring/summer collection too.
Other than the red alert, summer’s favourite colours are blue, a shade that reminds you of Pandora or a brilliant wash of ocean, and green – from a dense moss to a newborn sprig. Colours have to be bold, not washed down by recession, depression or any more of the oppressing feelings we’ve gotten used to in these times. This is time to embrace life and wear colour unapologetically. It’s time to fantasize.
Those of us who prefer to be understated must improvise. Black and white, graphite and shades of coal will be as classic as always. Spun in chiffon they will be perfect for hot summer evenings. And in black and white prints, the best thing to do is go geometric. Remember, when in doubt, go with shades of black!
SHAPES: it’s the age of 3-D
Keep your silhouette simple when styling your busy prints but go totally 3D in blocks.
Shirts and tunics will retain their length this summer, though the empire silhouette will (thankfully) be replaced by a lower waistline. The hemlines are just as low as they have been for a year, dropping a couple of inches below the knees but the just-as-high Capri trouser has been replaced by the loose palazzo pant. Nothing sticks to your body this summer!
Clothes go 3D in the sense that they acquire band new structure, most of it on the sleeves. Visit Sonya Battla’s outlet to see her work ingenuity into karandi. Feeha Jamshed plays with ruches, pleats and ruffles to give the illusion of heightened drama and even at Khaadi, you will sense an exaggeration of the sleeve. Even if you don’t have muscle, this is the time to build an illusion of power. Flaunt it, flex it!
Where shapes are concerned, loose and flowing will be the preferred silhouette in Pakistan (for yet another season, though this will be the last) though it is gradually making way for graphic construction worldwide. We’ll worry about that next year!