Let’s address the elephant in the room before we talk about anything else. Is it just me or did everyone else also think that THIS is what all fashion weeks should look like in Pakistan? I mean, look at that lineup! It had the best of both vintage and contemporary designs houses on one platform, it looked slick and fashionable and there wasn’t a single channel promo or celebrity stunt to pull it down. If Hum TV could get Rizwan Beyg onboard to pull this off, then what was stopping them from pulling the same standard at their other fashion events? I’d love to see Rizwan Beyg, Bunto Kazmi, Umar Sayeed, Nomi Ansari, Shamaeel, Faraz Manan and Faiza Samee show at BCW as well! These are bridal couturiers that elevate the skill and standard in wedding wear and if anyone can do it, it’s evident that Hum can.
Some clarity first. I couldn’t attend Showcase. For reasons unnecessary to explain here, my invites came on the morning of Day One and since I hadn’t been invited to the Showcase brunch hosted by Al Zohaib either, I had no reason to believe they would come at all. By the time they did arrive I had already committed to attend the premiere of Chalay Thay Saath. More on that later. I am also shifting (homes) this week so my Friday and Saturday mornings were chewed up by the electrician, plumber, carpenter, painter and polisher. I did manage to get the UPS, curtains, blinds, generator, air conditioners, sofa fabric out of the way but by each of the two evenings I was completely spent. I could not even drag myself out for Frieha’s Friday night party. I booked and then cancelled my hair appointments both days.
However, I did pile my hair up, sit on my bedroom couch and go through every collection and every picture and most of it did look very, very good. I also combed through the daily journals that came in and I have to say things did look mighty impressive.
Day One started and ended with two fantastic looking collections from Nomi Ansari and Faraz Manan. I loved Wardha Saleem’s take on the Babushka dolls and the attention paid to the bags and shoes, as always, was impressive. I will need to make a call to Wardha and Tapu for those style unlocking earrings. The three menswear designers – Jazib Qamar, Munib Nawaz and Deepak n Fahad also looked so good. The structure was right, there was experimentation here and there and it was all trend setting clothing. Naushaba Brohi showed a collection at FPW earlier this year and this was just as good, if not better. Momina Teli left a lasting impression with monochrome and last of all, Al Zohaib worked with Christina Senter to give a fashionable twist to their fabric.
“This collection would not be possible without the vision and support of Mr Zohaib of Al Zohaib textiles who has printed the paintings (Maurizio Boscheri) for us on top quality fabrics and allowed us the freedom to be experimental in a cross cultural exchange with the generosity of the Italian Consul General Mr Rubagotti’s full involvement,” she wrote. “This is my first time in Pakistan and I am very excited about this new experience.”
Big names like Bunto Kazmi, Faiza Samee and Rizwan Beyg showed on Day Two and they brought a significant, ornamental quality to the lineup. These pioneers may not add to fashion trends or retail but it’s important to keep an eye on revivalism and designers like these keep the indigenous crafts alive. Adnan Pardesy’s collection looked good and HSY showed his best collection of this season; he has been super busy but he evidently did save the best for last. Gul Ahmed surprised with a fluid showcase while Cotton & Cotton stayed true to their signature, which is quite basic but not at all bad clothing.
Day Three, I have to say, looked the best. Shamaeel was as spectacular as ever with her ode to red. Zaheer Abbas, as I tweeted, looked as if he had collected drops of Jupiter in this celestial collection; I will look forward to seeing versions of this collection in his store. Sania Maskatiya was just as heavenly in her gold rush. Ahmed Bham showcased what he is best at: stellar suits with a certain trendy grooviness that experiments but stops just short of becoming unwearable. Kayseria is usually very colourful so I can’t say why the brand suddenly decided to mellow it down. Similarly, Umar Sayeed is usually very classic and traditionally opulent and I don’t know why he suddenly decided to try trendy. The winning collection of the day was undeniably Khaadi, that completely stole the show with its Chapter 2, in which it returned to its magnificent roots. More of this, please.
So yes, Showcase did look very, very good, even from my laptop’s eye. Credit, I believe, does go to Rizwan Beyg for bringing it together, to Nabila for making the models look so good and a special mention to Aamir and Muneera Vallika of Production 021 for designing their first fashion event. The designers, of course, all brought their A-game to the table, which is what matters most at the end of the day. I do look forward to the next season of Showcase, which has been confirmed as an annual if not twice a yearly event. Let’s hope it can maintain the standard.
- Photographs by Faisal Farooqui at Dragonfly