Fashion worldwide often draws inspiration from the days of sartorial yore: whether a collection is rocking out to leather and neon from the 80’s or is dusted in feathers with nods to the 20’s, it’s a staple of the brainstorming method to see how it was done before and can be reworked for today.
Pakistani fashion has been undergoing a renaissance in the last year where trends and silhouettes flowing in from the west have found themselves less in demand; we’ve been reaching into the backs of our closets where mom’s old gems are hanging and becoming par the course.
We’ve seen it on the ramp with kameez hemlines having no discernible right place (we’re seeing them down to the ground and cut short circa the early 2000’s), gota being the choice work method and shalwars and churidar pajamas giving pants a run for their money.
HSY’s recent showcase Mohabbatnama was an ode to Old Lahore with colour palettes inspired by the olden days and bridal looks that had dupattas (a once forgotten friend) playing front in center with major draping happening across the bodice. A sari worn by Rabia Butt could have easily been in the wardrobe of Padmavaat and even the non-bridal looks had the fun and flare of silhouettes that embraced their desi roots instead of trying to give them a brush of western aesthetic.
Similarly The PinkTree Company, which is synonymous with celebrating classic South Asian aesthetic, create collections that are a dream for those who adore the colour schemes and panel work of simpler days when fabric choice and cuts mattered more than the embroidery.
Boheme also hit the Fashion Pakistan Week ramp with traditional aesthetic sending printed saris and (the most classic of classic cuts) anarkalis down the ramp.
Elan’s Nafeesa collection was also a playful use of contemporary and old school style where sleeve lengths, embroidery (lovely doses of gota mixed with intricate thread work) and colour choices were recognizable as odes to fashion back in the good ol’ days.
Brides are more often leaning towards traditional looks than the modern style that has dominated bridal and mehndi stages since the late 90’s and even guests are giving their formal wear, accessories and even hair styles some retro fashion love.
Late last year we had two brides from the industry buck the norm of going full on glamazon for looks rooted in cultural tradition. Farwa Kazmi opted for a multicoloured kameez and shalwar look by Kamiar Rokni whereas Saheefa Jabbar went with a classic silhouette by Fahad Hussayn matched with simple kaanch ki churiyan (glass bangles) – something every desi girl has owned and rocked in her life.
Celebrities like Ayesha Omar, Maya Ali and Mahira Khan and models like Anam Malik and Rubab Ali who often post #OOTD’s have been sharing wedding guest looks that also lean on traditional aesthetics like mokaish, kotis (cropped shrug like vests), shalvars, and short shirts, as well as traditional jewels paired with buns surrounded by motia (flowers).
In the world of fashion where upkeep with the latest and greatest can get exhausting, the throwback aesthetic has been a welcome addition to the fold. Gone are the days when an outfit’s life ends after one or maximum two wears and in are the days where an outfit being dated, being inspired by or actually coming from the past are welcomed.