It was Eid business as usual this week, with exhibitions offering great discounts popping up everywhere. I obviously couldn’t, didn’t and wouldn’t go everywhere but I kept a keen eye on what worked and what didn’t. There were 5 exhibitions I had shortlisted for my Saturday trawl and I’m happy to report that I managed to completely avoid all unsightliness.
Stop 1: Blocked
I was serious when I said I wanted to pick up my first Blocked tunic but by the time I got to the exhibition (around 12:30) everything nice was gone. The unstitched fabric was attractive but then fashion and style is more about the silhouette than the fabric. I made a mental note of asking for a preview next time Blocked had an exhibition.
Stop 2: Body Focus
A predominantly white and indigo palette dominated Iman Ahmed’s studio and the challenge was not to buy more than the budget allowed. I fell in love with a layered ecru tunic and thought how well it would work in my fashion week wardrobe. Check. And then the distressed, unstructured and boxy indigo top (very similar in style to what I was wearing) was another irresistible piece. Check 2. Lucky that I got a 20% off on my purchases and spent less than I had anticipated.
Just as interesting as Iman’s collection was the discussion we had; we pondered over how social media had killed creativity and how important it was for designers to distance themselves from the madding crowd in order to innovate and create. Mostly those who stayed away from the lure were the ones creating clothes that mattered.
Stop 3: The Eid exhibition at Ensemble
The exhibition featured around 30 designers, including most of the big names people want to wear at Eid. And while there was a lot of nice, Eid clothing (which doesn’t excite me, I’m afraid) I found the selection of kids’ clothes especially endearing. Shehrnaz, who stocks at Ensemble, has designed an adorable range of kids’ Eid clothing and I would recommend you check it out.
Stop 4: Sonya Battla’s Weave with Amber Sami’s jewellery
We know that there aren’t many sincere and genuine designers out there; most have become labels and brands that aim to count the till at the end of the day without bothering about what they’ve been selling. I’m happy to say that Pakistan can still boast of designers like Sonya Battla who have a love fashion and they’re rarely swayed by the wave of consumerism. This Weave exhibition, therefore, was my favourite this week. Organic cottons in monochrome shades of indigo and ecru were treated with dyes washing into ikat prints. The palette was perfect and created the ideal canvas for Amber Sami’s jewellery, also featured as part of the three-day exhibition.
Sami is another true artist as she has managed to create a signature that can be identified, eyes shut. The chand-bala and glasswork, the meena and the colourful parrots perched into dainty pieces that can be passed on as heirlooms…this collection was delightful to experience. And while Amber Sami (like Sonya Battla) comes at a price, I’m happy to say that both designers were offering pieces at lower, affordable prices as well. I ended up ordering a blue hand-woven kurta from Sonya (since my size was out of stock) and also bought a scarf for a friend.
Stop 5: Shamsha Hashwani
The last stop on my list, I was exhausted by the time my friend and I got to Shamsha’s but then her aesthetic balance always rejuvenates any exhaustion one may be feeling. You could kill me in corals and there was an entire rack dedicated to the most vibrant and gorgeous shades. And my other weakness, a black and white tunic that was so perfect in its proportions and so sophisticated in its finish that it was irresistible. I did resist though, as luckily my friend picked it up for herself and we can’t own the same clothes. I would recommend a visit to Shamsha Hashwani if you’re still looking for Eid wear.