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27 Sep

PLBW19 Day One: revivals & reincarnations of fashion’s established brands

Day One of fashion week, any fashion week in Pakistan, takes off with a little more trepidation than confidence and one steps in wondering whether the day will fly or fail. Day One at PLBW was a bit of both, taking off every now and then but then dipping down, much like a little bird trying to fly. Except it’s not a little bird anymore.

There’s always an air of experience around the way PFDC’s fashion weeks unfold; now in its ninth consecutive year, the PFDC L’Oreal Bridal Week (PLBW) too has that upper hand of expertise, which is always a relief. What one sees dipping is off-the-runway energy, the presence (or lack) of front row fashion and fashionistas, that love for fashion and energy that used to once take over and lift the madness to new levels of frenzy. One hopes that energy will lift today.


Hussain Rehar

Hussain Rehar, fashion’s new favourite, opened fashion week with a collection titled Fateh Pur, which one heard was an ode to his ancestral city of Punjab. One could have connected Rehar’s vintage feel with Fatehpur Sikri, capital of the Mughal Empire that Akbar founded in 1571, because it had very little to do with hardcore Punjab in terms of shapes and styles. That said, it was beautiful in its play with dusky antiquated colours and equally intricate and well balanced embroideries. His silhouettes were classic but also playful at the same time; this was a designer breaking away from the freedom of designing from the soul but also stopping short of selling his soul to pure commercialism.


Hussain Rehar’s Fateh Pur


One is used to seeing a more avant garde and experimental vision from this young dynamo, but then again, the need to design with commercial viability in mind is also totally understandable. One is pleased that Rehar – in his transition – was able to retain his sincerity to his intrinsic, proven aesthetic. This was a collection that should transition equally well from runway to reality.


Nida Azwer


Undoubtedly the most mature collection of Day One, Nida’s Anarkali was an amalgamation of every little creative vision that has stood the test of time as her strength as a designer. She took no risks and simply built upon her trademarks: those romantic, painstakingly detailed, embroidered silk shawls, the three-dimensional treatment of fabric flowing into lehngas and anarkalis, the blend of different textures…it was classic Nida and very welcome to the eyes.


Nida Azwer’s Anarkali


One always looks for two things in bridal couture: the first being the level of craft, revivalism of techniques and an overall expertise in creating the perfect, handcrafted garments and two, the ability to take the craft of bridal couture and innovate new visions for it. Nida has certainly perfected her craft and while one also sees innovations and experimentation in her craft every now and then, there is more of a deep rooted commitment to the classic, Mughlai silhouette. It works.


Saira Shakira


Closing Day One as the finale of the day, design duo Saira Shakira came forth with Kali, their vision for bridal couture for the next one year. Saira Shakira have made a name for themselves in Lahore; they do come across as designers who have an eye for modernism in wedding wear and that’s always refreshing. What one appreciates is their skill-set in creating ensembles that do master the craft of couture while almost always introducing something new in their silhouettes.


Saira Shakira’s Reincarnation


One did see their trademark caped sleeves, column shirts that could pass off as heavily embellished dresses, a jumpsuit or two and an over all offering of a diverse collection that would appeal to women eager to break away from tradition and reincarnate their personal ethos’ of what works as wedding wear in 2020.

Note: Zubia Zainab and the Aquafina Rising Talent Showcase coming up soon…

  • All photographs by Faisal Farooqui and his team at Dragonfly


Aamna Haider Isani

The author is Editor-in-Chief at Something Haute as well as Editor at Instep, The News. Full time writer, critic with a love for words and an intolerance for typos.