Moschino just recently showcased its Resort 2017 collection, which Jeremy Scott put down as a kitschy tribute to his adopted hometown, L.A and was referred to as a much needed boost in the L.A fashion scene that has been struggling to find ground among its contenders. What caught our eye, however, was the craft that Scott incorporated in his designs. Referred to as ‘Indian mirror embroidery’, the collection picked up the native craft of shisha-work that is indigenous to parts of interior Sindh and southern Punjab both sides of the border. It also threw our memory back to 2009 when Deepak Perwani took the same craft for his showcase in Milan; his D Philosophy Flights of Fancy collection was one of his best works to date. Now we’re in no position to scream plagiarism, because mirror work can hardly be patented, but we called Mr. Perwani and spoke to him about the obvious similarities in both collections and why our indigenous crafts, that are now being adopted and applauded in the west, are so underrated here? Or are they?
Something Haute: Moschino Resort 2017 drew a lot of parallels to your 2009 Milan show; do you think the resemblance is coincidental?
Deepak Perwani: It is funny that I’m being asked this question seven years later. Nothing in life is a coincidence and especially not in fashion. When I came back from Milan, just a season later Dolce and Gabbana’s design philosophy had changed all of a sudden it all looked like my Dphilosphy collection intact. I remember we all laughed at it and so did my friends who were visiting from Italy for a holiday that coming year. I have always taken inspiration from our own culture and given it an international twist because that’s what original fashion is, whether it was Flights of Fancy at Milan which was inspired by the dastarkhwan and truck art to Amrita Shergill collection or Frieda goes to Kharadar, my inspiration will always be our own culture with a more modern twist.
Something Haute: Recently we’ve seen a lot of international fashion houses picking up Pakistani crafts and motifs, while only a handful of local designers have adopted such techniques into their brand. Why do you think there is a prevalent rejection in the fashion industry to build, use and evolve our own culture and craft?
DP: I actually think our culture and craft is constantly updated and used; most of the dying embroidery techniques are being revived by designers as well as NGOs working in the remote areas of Pakistan. I also believe that some brands have stood ground with their original ethos and are still experimenting with craft. Embroidery has always been a huge resource in the subcontinent and is still widely used in our local fashion scene.
Back to Moschino’s Resort 2017 collection, it does look like Deepak Perwani, Nomi Ansari and Manish Arora rolled into one bright and colourful package but until credit is given where it is due, it will get away with being referred to as an ode to Los Angeles.