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27 Sep

PLBW19 Day One: Zubia Zainab & the Aquafina Rising Talent Show

Setting foot inside the opulent Nishat Hotel for the first day of PLBW, one could sense the grandiosity of the event and not to mention, the excitement! With a line up that majorly included new-comers, the day opened with Hussain Rehar making way for Zubia Zainab, the second show of the day, and then the Aquafina Rising Talent Show.

Zubia Zainab

With her collection titled Dare to Dream, Zubia turned the PLBW19 runway into a romantic dream last night. Having snagged an early evening slot right after Hussain Rehar, the young, up and coming designer drew inspiration from the soft femininity of an empowered woman and played along those lines by sticking to an amped up pastel palette; from icy blues, to pale pinks and champagne.



According to Zubia, the collection’s main aim was to fuse femininity with a certain, quiet edginess that will set apart a bride dressed in Zubia Zainab couture, and that’s exactly what was reflected in her debut at the PLBW19. An abundance of luxe, gossamer fabrics, with flowing, romantic silhouettes, sprayed with kaamdani, gota,  zardozi and intricate embellishments, the collection seemed fit for the contemporary bride who wants to make a modern statement. A lot of experimenting with the cape silhouette was seen, that made an appearance more than once on the runway. In addition to that, she also played around with the oh-so-romantic set-in Juliet sleeve and puff sleeve, adding to the charm.



There were some slight, completely avoidable shortcomings in the form of fitting faux pas; fabrics that clung to the body should be adjusted accordingly on the models, lest the bright lights of the runway render the outfit transparent. The styling for Zubia’s show was also as muted as the color palette, with soft curls, mostly bare necks, and minimal jewelry.

Aquafina Rising Talent Show

Next up was Nida Azwer, followed by the Aquafina Rising Talent Show at the PLBW19 which is a staple at local fashion weeks; aiming to provide a platform for new talent in the industry, to nurture and promote them for an eventual firm footing in the world of fashion. This time around as well, four talented students were selected after careful scrutiny, we’re assuming, to showcase their standalone collections alongside big names in the fashion industry. Scheduled after Hussain Rehar and Nida Azwer, two already established names, the Rising Talent Show was the perfect opportunity for these newcomers to shine. Featuring shows by Urwah Ali, Mehak Yaqoob, Elaha Ahmed and Abbas Jamil Rajpoot, the showcase oscillated between two extremes; major yes, and major no.

Here’s a lowdown on who showed what and how it fared.


Urwah Ali



First up was Urwah Ali with her Rei Kawakubo inspired collection titled Masculine Femininity. Whimsical yet fierce at the same time, Urwah’s collection was an ode to high contrasts, be it in the form of the colors used, the contrasting silhouettes or the materials. Opening the Rising Talent Show with a bang, her beautifully constructed black netted ensemble with a spray of interesting embellishment at the bottom, and a structured net collar set a high standard for the ones to follow. The Tough Ballerina inspiration was evident, with tutus and ballerina motifs on jackets.


Mehak Yaqoob



Deriving inspiration from Louis Vuitton, Mehak’s vision screams edgy mixed with tradition, albeit teetering on trying too hard to be on the edgy side. Titled Transmutation of Louis Trunk, the collection incorporated belts and buckles on structured bodices that transition into flowing silhouettes; her pieces had an air of spunk about them that is a signature of LV. A buckled jacket layered on top of a jumpsuit featuring interesting cutouts, the second look in her show was the star for us. In an interesting closing choice, the third look had literal belts hanging down the shoulders. Overall an interesting show.


Elaha Ahmed



Titled Beauty in Ashes, Elaha’s taken her Game of Thrones obsession to the next level, basing a whole collection on the dragon queen, Daenerys Targaryen. Repping strong women who do not compromise on their femininity, Elaha Ahmed took a risque decision with her looks that seemed to follow the transition of Daenerys from season 1 GoT to full blown Queen of the Ashes. Starting off with a more muted and soft look, the three piece long show ended with a dramatic red and black ensemble that was more Drogon than Daenerys if we’re being honest. Silks, nets, and lots of organza to complement the drama.


Abbas Jamil Rajpoot



Abbas Jamil Rajpoot turned the PLBW runway to a medieval French court with his The Dauphin of Versailles collection, taking direct inspiration from French royalty with their high, ruffled collars and exaggerated silhouettes. The drama, the aplomb, and the exaggeration were all in abundance, and while some pieces may have missed the mark, the finale was a gorgeous finish for the Rising Talent Show. A lot of Marie Antoinette moments on the runway for AJR, with ruffles, layered ball gowns and luxe fabrics.


  • All photographs by Faisal Farooqui and his team at Dragonfly


Yumna Aftab