Fashion Pakistan Week did everyone a favour by cutting its schedule to two days and shortlisting it down to designers who the council felt had solid collections and would be able to set trends for spring/summer 2018. Out of the eight designers who showcased – namely Gulabo by Maheen Khan, FnkAsia by Huma Adnan, Cheena Chhapra, Yasmin Jiwa, The Pink Tree, Gogi by Hassan Riaz, Amir Adnan and Farah Talib Aziz – names on day one presented on odd mix of summer trends, statement wear, men’s wear, wedding wear and a couple of ideas that no one should wear.
Several of them also supported social causes like the Karachi water crises, the refugee crises, gender discrimination, child labour, models versus real women and support to physically challenged individuals like the hearing impaired. Some worked and one could appreciate the thought behind those shows but at the end of the day it felt that ‘the celebrity showstopper’ had been overtaken by ‘the social cause’; as if the social cause is the new celebrity. It felt like a headline grabbing gimmick rather than a dedication to a cause and it nudged the need for designers to focus on the one cause they’re sworn to on priority: making fashionable clothes.
Over to the collections…
Maheen Khan knows fashion, she’s sincere to her unique aesthetic and whatever she designs is in resonance with an ethos that has been perfected over years. This collection, titled Liberation was all about layers and the ease with which one piece blend into the other. The collection was truly fashionable in all its diversity, trendsetting in tone and tonality.
Huma Adnan for FnkAsia took a turn for summer with a collection called Pegah ‘early light of day’ in Persian and accordingly, it flirted with shades of dawn. Very season appropriate and chic in its use of colour, the collection also featured accessories made in collaboration with the UNHCR by refugee women living in Karachi. Keeping that in mind, it would have been better to have some of the refugees walk out for a final bow instead of starlets Noor Khan and Zara Asad Siddiqui, even though the latter did have swag.
‘Real Women Rock’ was the heart and soul of Cheena Chhapra’s collection of craft-heavy clothing that aimed at extending festive style to every woman, irrespective of age and size. It was a fun show to watch and the clothes were wearable and artistic albeit not trend setting.
Once you got past the initial shock of Gogi by Hassan Riaz’s outrageous aesthetic, you realized that his technique was solid and his ethos was very genuine; he had actually designed his own outfit to match his Gucci sneakers and didn’t give two hoots about approval. The offensive part, however, was not on the senses but on the cause he had unnecessarily taken up: he should not have brought out his young niece and nephew with their hands tied, apparently campaigning against child labor. They had nothing to do with the Bangkok Club Collection and the Arab music that it played to. It left a bad taste in the mouth.
Yasmeen Jiwa showcased a cohesive collection; Qous-e-Qazah originally premiered at Paris Fashion Week and was extended by 9 pieces for FPW. There were several memorable pieces, such as the lungi-sari silhouette, in the collection but there were also just as many forgettable pieces in their midst. This was Jiwa’s first show and one could see the designer’s potential for style evolution though.
Staying true to their aesthetic, The Pink Tree Company presented an array of beautiful, cotton-based festive wear ideal for summer. The inclusion of traditional silhouettes, from saris, Dhaka pajamas to conventional shalwars was fresh and the palette was just as delightful as it flirted with ecrus just as effectively as bright colours. The collection may not have been fashion forward but it was a pleasure to watch and certainly will be just as pleasurable to wear. If one must take a trip down memory lane, then this was the way to do it.
Amir Adnan’s showcase was divided into two segments; Beast featured an array of recycled (they used the word upcycled) sherwanis– explaining the generous use of velvet in summer – and made for versatile traditional wear. The collection, however, was overshadowed by the six hearing impaired models that were encouraged on the catwalk by an audience that clapped in sign language. They stole the show!
Day One’s finale was presented by Farah Talib Aziz, a designer who has been in the business for years but debuted at fashion week just of now. Her collection, Mirabelle, paid homage to the designer’s trademark of pretty pastels, feminine silhouettes, lace and ribbons. It would have been more rack and less runway if it wasn’t for the large variety of lowers that she had introduced; her variations on how to wear a white trouser, lunghi, dhoti, tulip, trouser, crop pant etc were seriously impressive. One hopes that she can incorporate just as much variation in her designs as there’s a sense of repetition in her designs that she needs to address.
- This article was first published in Instep on Thursday April 12, 2018