Body Focus Museum by Iman Ahmed
Truth be told, when it comes to visual imprint, Day 3 began and ended with Body Focus Museum. Iman Ahmed is a sensitive, intelligent designer who is rarely seen anywhere and when she is scheduled to showcase (which is never more than once a year) I know that she must be tucked away in her studio with ‘Do Not Disturb’ instructions on her door. She sits, sketches and creates. And what she creates is magic. She is a perfectionist; I remember visiting her to photograph a brilliant collection that was up on the racks; she took ten minutes perfecting the fall of the trouser on the mannequin. I can only imagine how much intrinsic detailing must have gone into putting this collection out.
The brilliance of this designer is that her creations are never commonplace and yet she manages to make them impressive even on a commercial level. If you visit the BFM (Body Focus Museum) after two months you’ll see this collection and wearable versions of it on the racks, available to the discerning fashion lover. I wouldn’t even dare to call someone who had the taste to wear Body Focus a ‘fashionista’.
This was a smart way of putting some distance between Iman’s brilliance and the next designer, because it would have been unfair to expect anyone to follow her New Nomads. Levi’s was good old-fashioned street wear, brought in for what I would assume are commercial reasons. High street brands pay a lot more to participate in Fashion Week and that’s why you’ll see so many of them on the lineup. I still don’t think it’s a good idea because they show utilitarian clothing that has nothing to do with fashion. FPC has to come up with an alternate strategy. That said Wasim Akram’s guest appearance did tickle peoples’ fancy.
What started with a promise of some fresh and candy coloured animal prints soon transformed into a melted box of Quality Street candy wrappers. That really is all I can say.
YBQ: Yousuf Bashir Qureshi
People who hadn’t seen his work before were either confused or overwhelmed by the dramatics and that precisely is the reason why and how YBQ is relevant to fashion. He throws up the exact kind of oomph and drama that is needed every now and then. His garments have a select clientele, the few women who know where the Artist’s Commune is and will brave the trip in the name of fashion love him; for everyone else, he’s just a great showman who pops up on the scene every now and then and impresses with his theatrics. I feel that is essential for fashion; you should have seen the foreign press going gaga over all that Sufi-seeped redness. There’s a reason why I called him Fashion’s Feudal Lord when I interviewed him back in the day!
Wardha toned down her usually kaleidoscopic palette and mellowed it into a blend of beautiful pink and blue pastels. Inspired by the serene lotus flower and embracing summer in its softness, this was a very pretty collection. The intricate workmanship was also perfect; delicate and detailed. That said, the silhouette offered nothing new and appeared too similar to what Wardha has always shown: the well constructed cape, the straight tunic, sari, the embellished trousers etc. The collection let down in terms of innovative silhouettes.
Sania Maskatiya for Al-Karam
What happens when one of the country’s strongest print makers collaborates with one of the country’s textile giants? The result has to be spectacular as Sania Maskatiya’s collection for Al-Karam was. Having seen the collection up close at a press preview, I already knew the potential it had in terms of being an impressive lawn collection but that Sania would manage to make it work so effectively on the catwalk was a stretch. But she did. It was lawn but it was fashion. Many designers have attempted this before but other than Vinny’s debut collection of V Lawn (at the Commune several years ago) I haven’t seen lawn take such an innovative avatar.
Naushaba Brohi made a spectacular debut last year and while she did not show an Autumn/Winter line, this, her second collection, did not disappoint. The problem with craft-based collections is that their patterns usually suffer but the first half of Brohi’s collection revealed some interesting ways of incorporating rilli work in contemporary clothing. A short jacket, a tunic lined with contrasting patchwork, a silk shrug in mute tones of beige…it was all good until a dress that featured fish tail scallops in the hemline. The collection took a dip from there on.
I couldn’t focus on this collection as properly as I would have liked to; Instep pages had to be transferred at 10:15 and this I was multitasking but whatever I glanced at was crisp, sharp and smart. So good to see menswear that is well tailored and sexy/wearable as opposed to the costumes that most wannabe newbies think they can get away with.
– Photographs by Tapu Javeri