I heard that Moiz Kazmi (you may be wondering who?) in his new venture, Fashion Bites (you may be wondering what?) put my name on the cover of his latest issue in a question Saba Ansari of Sabs had posed to me. It was something to the effect of “Why didn’t Aamna Haider Isani object when Nabila was styling the Lux Style Awards year after year?”
I don’t subscribe to FB and have not read what it exactly said (also because it wasn’t available on my news stand) but from what my sources conveyed, it was something to the effect of Saba taking offence to something I had said. She objected to my disapproval of fashion weeks appointing no one else but her for the styling of models. And she apparently challenged me to reply as to why I didn’t raise the same objection when Nabila was styling one LSA after the other.
It’s not really my nature to clarify (I’d be writing theses otherwise) but in this case, since I genuinely respect Saba for trying, I shall make the exception and clear the air.
The background: I brought this issue up at a dinner at Rizwan Beyg’s house in a pre-FPW2 PR exercise. Saba was at that dinner as well and I very politely asked the Fashion Pakistan council (in front of her) why they were repeatedly using the same stylist instead of involving others as well. I had already spoken to Nabila and Tariq Amin – two of the most established stylists in Pakistan – and understood that a) they had never been asked, b) they were unaffordable for such a huge project and/or c) they were not comfortable working in an environment where they did not have total creative control and where even shoddy work done by others would be attributed to them. Fair enough.
The council’s explanation was a bit different.
I was told that Sabs was the only company with enough resources to cater to a project this big and that she was amiable to work with. I object. Saba and her team may be easy to work with but many other companies are big enough for fashion weeks. Bigger and better. Nabila’s Creative Services certainly is and so is Depilex. I am happy for Saba and the opportunity fashion councils have given her, believe me I am, but these aren’t NGOs, they are fashion councils organizing fashion weeks and they need to put their best face forward. That face isn’t Sabs’.
The answer to Saba Ansari’s allegation is that yes, Nabila did style the LSAs for several years in a row but her styling was flawless. Remember 2003? The ceremony that was taken behind closed doors due to the newly started war in Iraq. Every celebrity looked stunning and the entire creative conceptualization of the show (done with Asim Reza) was nothing short of brilliant ala the Oscars.
The same finesse and creativity was seen year after year when the LSAs were juggled between Nabila and Tariq. I find it unbelievable that two of the best names in Pakistan’s style kitty have not been asked to uplift the ‘softer image’ of the country that we are so desperate to unveil!
“Hair, skin and makeup here was not good,” French fashion journalist and curator of Pret a Porter Paris, Alexandra Seles spoke (my mind) to Khadija Hassan Malik in an interview for Libas magazine. Senes had come to Lahore for the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week, which had also been styled by Sabs. “You cannot have pins showing and you cannot have so much fake material on. You just cannot do that. A professional hair-dresses should not be using fake chignon, fake lashes – it weakens the clothes….”
May I add that it’s also aesthetically wrong for hair pieces/wigs to shed on the catwalk (I am witness to it), for models to have mismatched hand and toe nails (unless they are thematic) if paid attention to at all. They were neither manied nor pedied. The body makeup was imperfect with not enough cleaning up done in advance. Blisters and mis-tones were visible. There were a whole lot of problems with Sabs’ styling. Need I go on?
And that is why I raised this question now and not when Nabila was styling the LSAs. Not to mention that the LSAs occur once a year whereas fashion weeks frequent us four times as many. That’s a bit too much fake hair and flyaway wigs to digest, if we have to at all.
Hope that answers the question.
PS. I would have objected even if Nabila or Tariq Amin had just done three fashion weeks in a row. The Lux Style Awards are about excellence and it’s okay for them to cherry pick but fashion weeks are about trade and industry development. Every capable person deserves to be involved.