PFDC L’Oreal Bridal Week, in the absence of many significant bridal couturiers that people look up to for trends and forecasts, lacked its usual lustre. While fashion weeks world over do and must introduce new names to the business of fashion, they are by no means a replacement to the experienced and established names. So while the Aquafina Rising Talent Showcase, for example, was an integral part of the lineup, one also missed fashion week heart throbs like Nomi Ansari, Ali Xeeshan, Elan, Faraz Manan, Sana Safinaz, Zara Shahjahan and Shehla Chatoor; these are names that have shown over the years – albeit sporadically – and have now chosen to either not show or show solo.
There were too many names that – as one has mentioned before – did not qualify to showcase on a platform as meritorious as PLBW but then there were the veterans, who stabilized the days and at least brought some consistency to the catwalks…
One was relieved to see Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, PLBW’s favourite grand finale, in great form. This was one of Hassan’s most mature and perhaps strongest collections for a long time and it closed fashion week on a much needed high note. Crisp, concise and without self-indulgent gimmick or drama, this collection offered several strong colour palettes for brides in 2019-20202 and presented them in an array of interesting shapes and silhouettes.
The collection, called Empire, was presented in four acts, each act being an ode to a selected regime in history. Though it would have been difficult to differentiate between the Ottoman, Mughal, the French Polynesian Empire and the Russian Empire without direction, it was mostly the palette that created their identities.
Even without the theme, the ensembles stood out for their personal character. There was the sexy, printed sari with the full length embroidered coat for an ideal winter evening, there were chiffon and organza blousons worn over embellished cholis, and there was an experimental array of lengths, shapes and silhouettes. This collection will surely go far in transitioning from the runway to retail.
Fahad’s collection, Labyagawachi – The Musical, literally translating to Lost and Found was definitely a dramatic search for identity and featured live installations, dance and mime on the catwalk. And the show provided a much needed ‘pick me up’ to the evening. Fahad Hussayn is undoubtedly a creative head, his showcases usually do have an edge and air of drama, but that in no way gets in the way of his craft. Fahad Hussayn’s couture identity is usually very strong; unfortunately, this was not his best piece of work.
This collection, however creative in its concept, got a little lost in purpose. It was neither completely edgy and nor was it entirely appealing in a classic way. While it was a relief to not have to watch more cumbersome bridals lumbar down the runway, Fahad finish and finesse was not as impeccable as it usually is and that brought the overall concept of an avante garde wedding wear down.
Republic by Omar Farooq
Republic put out the only purely menswear collection of fashion week but while Omar Farooq obviously has a strong grasp on his craft and aesthetic, this was not his finest moment. One saw the usual suspects that you’d expect to see in a groom’s wardrobe: the ivory sherwani, the darker Nehru jacket with straight trousers, the kurta pajama paired with a provincial waist coat but there were no stand out moments, which one usually does witness in Omar’s shows. He is, of course, more at ease with western and ready to wear but he usually introduces more concept and idea in his couture too.
While Adamah, a collection that professed to take inspiration from ‘the beauty and free flow of nature and merged with it the structure and symmetry of architectural construction’, was by no means a bad collection, it wasn’t Republic’s best either.
Playing mostly on their strength, colour was the landmark feature of Nickie Nina’s collection; it is what they are known for and what they do best. Their trademark chunri ensemble made way into the collection as well and left one hoping for more variations on it. This definitely was a collection that took the entire Pakistani wedding shebang into account; from festive dholkis to colourful mehndis, the rukhsati and finally the valima, which is usually a more colourwise subdued affair, they presented options for all.
The collection, called Gulabkaar, was presented as a tribute to Kashmir though it really had nothing to do with Kashmir; maybe a phiran or a recurring Kashmiri motif would have gelled it with the theme. This reminded one of Nickie Nina’s earliest collections shown at the PLBW platform – also a tribute to Kashmir – which was undoubtedly one of the strongest collections they’ve ever designed.
- Photography by Faisal Farooqui @ Dragonfly