The last day of the PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Week was long – it literally started one day and ended the next (at 1:00 am precisely) but other than the inexcusable delays in timing, the event ended on a good note. That good note being consistency and bravado to face the odds. Agreed, it isn’t easy swimming against the current, and the PFDC has managed to do just that for five pret weeks and one bridal week (yes, Hassan, we were listening each and every time you pointed it out).
Very quickly, I’ll take you through the last day’s lineup, which began with a style segment from Khawar Riaz and Adnan Pardesy. Adnan, who has impressed with his devotion to couture could not quite get a handle on how couture was redefined as bridal. It was a very basic collection, primarily black and gold, with white menswear. Not a stitch was out of place and one gold blouse was particularly impressive but the couturier’s oomph just wasn’t there.
Next up came Fahad Hussayn, who started out with some delightful digitally printed pieces – the prints made it through to the khussas, the turbans, ghagras etc – but then the designer continued with some very generic and frankly run-of-the-mill bridals. Fahad Hussayn has come to be known as the master of the dark and brooding. This happy gaiety looking for commercial success wasn’t him and therefore it disappointed.
One edgy element was the bullet-shell hair pins in the models’ hair (to be observed on QB’s head too) but for a bridal show that edginess was misplaced and back-fired, excuse the pun! I think Anjuman would have been a more appropriate celebrity for this segment as her hit song ‘Mein Aan Hussan Di Kalashinkov’ rang in the ears as we saw one bullet head after the other!
Nida Azwer, with her ode to Kashmir, was the strongest designer of the day. She stayed committed to her floor-skinning lengths (one wishes she would diversify) but she made up it with some beautiful craft that flirted with gold and silver embellishment and colourful phirans. Nida’s signature ornamental jackets were also part of the collection and her menswear – very crisp and formal – was sharp.
Saai, a name associated with casual clothing, made a foray into bridals and while the initial white pieces were easily lovely, the rest of the collection fell apart for lack of finesse. There were hints of innovation – Sahar Atif has proven her strength in texturing fabric – but there was a certain lack of control in developing the bridals. To top it off, Nilofer Shahid on the runway as a celebrity show stopper was more of a poke in the eye than eye candy. Why would a designer, who has never agreed to show at this platform, turn up to walk on it? Perplexing.
Then came the half hour break, which extended to an hour-plus and the grand finale – HSY – started with 17 heavy bridals. Beautiful choreography, a flash of opulence, the models came, posed and left to be followed by 12 men and I have to say the HSY menswear was more impressive than his bridals. The chatta-patti messenger bags and coordinating kohlapuris were especially eye catching and I know I would have seen and observed more had the show not been so very late and had my eyes not been shut.
ps: I am updating this post with an official photograph of the HSY show, courtesy Lotus and Faisal Farooqui. As I said, the reason for not having a visual earlier was death of phone battery.
PLBW ended with the gold confetti glamour that we are now very used to. This year’s was a watered down event with none of last year’s pomp. It wasn’t as slick as we’re used to a PFDC event being. Also, it did require editing of collections that were certainly not runway worthy. If only the good and even potentially good collections are counted, and there were six – Misha Lakhani, Ali Xeeshan, Elan, Nida Azwer, Layla Chatoor, HSY (for menswear) – then this four day event could have been trimmed to two days and organized with more fluidity.
What was expected and missed in the grand couture show:
1. More established designers showing (as opposed to walking and working) on the runway.
2. Hospitality lounge for media, buyers and designers only. There was no way to communicate in the show area, where the music was deafening even in the breaks.
4. Star value and front row IT crowd.
5. Conceptual set changes with every showing. For couture, it was all too plain.
That said, PFDC’s commitment to keeping the process afloat is impressive. And when HSY thanks Sehyr Saigol for being the force behind the fashion weeks, he is absolutely right. She has managed this single-handedly and her leadership is unprecedented in the entire fashion industry. SS brings immense power to the table, in fact there would be no table without her.
The council is doing everything in it’s possible power to empower Lahore’s designers (and several from Karachi too) through fashion weeks, store expansions, etc but there still isn’t enough talent in Lahore or Karachi alone to merit an entire fashion week. It either has to merge or it has to minimize. Designers need to take these silver platters more seriously for it to flourish. This ‘not ready with a collection’ attitude should not be encouraged and to show must somehow be made mandatory. If not, there are even fewer strong shows to look forward to each season.
But – and I say this with trepidation as it’s just hearsay so far – a little bird tells me that Rizwan Beyg is collaborating with the PFDC to put together a Showcase in Karachi. Rumoured to take place this December, let’s wait and see what that’s all about (if it’s true).