Some of PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Week’s former glory was recovered and restored on Day 2, which started and ended with time-tested, traditional bridal statements. Maram and Aabroo, two very hard working and talented stylists put out a video featuring a beautiful Iman busy with the Solah Singhar ritual before her wedding day: the bakhoor, the kajal, the zewar, the itr and it all unraveled in a romantic Mughal way. The video led to a small style segment featuring six gorgeous bridal ensembles courtesy Zara Shahjehan. It was all a throw back to Mariam Zamani and her extended toilette.
I personally prefer the bridal to be either entrenched in classicism or to break free and jump leaps ahead into the contemporary future. Asifa & Nabeel, though by no means disappointing at large, got stuck somewhere in the middle of the past and present. It didn’t work. I counted six outfits that were passably interesting but nothing that made me sit up and say “wow!” Plus, it was clear that while Asifa & Nabeel may be uber popular in the commercial field, they still don’t have a strong handle on fabric and pattern. Hemlines and seams did pucker, jacket sleeves did bunch up and yes, bra straps did show which is the litmus test to a well-constructed garment.
But Asifa & Nabeel were Rizwan Beyg compared to Hina Butt of the label Teena (which is actually Hina’s nickname). Hina Butt (below), actually, reminded me of Honey Waqar (who’s better), Asim Jofa (who’s simpler), Hoorain (who was just as bad)…I’m sure you get the rich yet tasteless drift. If Hina Butt does fabulous business, and I’m sure there are enough affluent lovers of the bling to encourage her, then good for her. That said it was not a collection worthy of the PLBW platform. It was a burlesque of the bridal.
Ali Xeeshan, on the other hand, was fun and absolutely gorgeous in an unapologetically kinky way. And the Cinderella after 12 collection was kinky. It indulged in deep rooted tradition with pure craft (the sucha kaam), lots of vivid appliqués, overlapping several embellishment techniques to create a mesh of garments that would come together and off after midnight! The cholis were sexy, the ghagras suggestive and the fact that jewelry found its way all over the body (jhumkas in the hair, backwards necklaces, kangans and hanslis in the mens’ hands) was a nod to a wild night. It was wild, and ended with confetti dust all over the place. It was a befitting finale!
So, some of glory returned after a dismal first day. The runway looked a little more groomed, the front row livelier and the energy a bit more vigorous. I had a chat with the L’Oreal people on my ‘fashion week on a shoe string budget’ comment’ and they insisted that the budgets have in no way been slashed (and in fact were the same as last year) and to tone done the ambience was a conscious effort. It shouldn’t have been, I still feel, because couture brings out drama and that drama was missing from Day 1.
I also disagree with designers multi-tasking at fashion weeks. I know that the PFDC is trying to build institutions within institutions and therefore delegate all responsibilities in-house but that would be acceptable if and only if in-house teams were not all designers. There were so many professional units working in unison when the PFDC fashion weeks started out – Catwalk, R-Team, Latitude, Little Black Book, etc – and they all brought value to the show. By minimizing (and that does seem like corner cutting to me) it’s become a home-grown operation. HSY is undoubtedly the best fashion choreographer in the country but by putting him in-charge of choreographing an entire fashion week is depleting him of his designer stature, I feel. The same applies to everyone else. It’s not done anywhere in the world and there’s a reason why organizations involve professionals. I shudder to think what’ll happen if the PFDC decides they don’t need Lotus for PR and decide to handle it in-house!
Today’s line-up projects Day 3 as the strongest with Elan, Layla Chatoor, Nickie Nina and styling by the Toni&Guy team.