Lahore: We like to give credit where it’s due – the PFDC, despite a recent structural overhaul, has the organisation of fashion week down to pat. This edition started off on strong footing - the crowd was controlled, the shows well timed and best of all, the night was well and truly over in time for everyone to make it to their dinner plans. Kudos to the council on getting so much right - they definitely have the experience and it’s finally being put to good use.
Coming to the shows themselves, the line up might not have boasted of big names or celebrity designers (with the exception of Sania Maskatiya, of course) but what it lacked in familiarity it more than made up for innovation and freshness of design. Bank Al-Falah’s ill fated Rising Talent show has thankfully been replaced by a smarter collective of upcoming designers who showcased actual capsule collections as opposed to clothes that had been taken off thesis displays. The day also introduced three debutants; Hira Ali, whose strongly feminist stance placed her collection in the here and now, Hussain Rehar’s distinctive style cemented his reputation as a designer to watch out for and Arjumand Bano’s wearable western wear was easy on the eyes.
We break down each individual segment for you, giving our final verdict on the hits and misses of the night.
PEL Craft/Design Show
The craft show, a new venture on part of the council, which meant to showcase jewellery by Gold by Reama Malik paired with capsule collections by Zonia Anwaar, Hamza Bokhari, Akif Mehmood and Shahroz Tariq, did more to establish the designers than the accessories brand itself. Malik definitely had better luck last season when her jewels were showcased with Wasim Akram’s minimalistic designs that allowed the baubles to shine. This season though, Anwaar and Bokhari’s Jeem emerged as clear winners among equals. Anwaar’s footwear indicated an attention to detail that alluded to a well thought out and cohesive collection, while Jeem’s menswear immediately created a niche for the designer on a womenswear dominated night. The fact that Jeem also took the initiative to bring out Pakistan’s first trans runway model was also applauded generously.
Ali’s boyish, charming personality is reflected in her collection. Her latest offering might have alluded to the swish and flow of the art deco era but her boxy silhouettes and edgy styling prevented the show from turning into a regular feminine extravaganza. We loved the treatment of the embellishment – from the whimsical feathers strategically placed around 3D sequin to her signature layering of beads, Ali proves with her debut outing that she has what it takes to stand out among a burgeoning sea of creatives. It also doesn’t hurt to come out with an army of women with slogans that unabashedly reflected a feminist stance – given that Ali’s show was a day after Women’s Day it was heartening to see a female designer put her money where her mouth is when it comes down to ensuring that the personal is political.
Our love for Rehar isn’t unknown – from the moment fashion’s new IT boy emerged on the scene, Rehar has consistently produced distinctive designs that show his unique aesthetic without caring or catering to a mass audience. How refreshing! From suits to boxy peek-a-boo cut-outs that offered a great alternative to skin fitted, Alaia inspired cuts of the previous seasons, we loved everything about his collection; even though it might not be for public consumption. The colour palette was a delight - after years of pale, pastel shades the vibrancy of Rehar’s showcase jolted everyone awake and made sure all focus was on the fashion.
Bano, venturing out of her comfort zone with a showcase for the first time in years after having designed from an appointment based atelier, has nothing to worry about when it comes to reviews. Her collection, bright and dynamic, made sure that the audience focused on the clothes coming down the runway, despite the fact that thematically and print wise her collection seemed reminiscent of work, local and international we’ve seen before. Having said that, her cuts and colour palette were a visual treat and we can imagine picking out separates from her debut offering for easy styling.
What can we say? Maska-tiya is a master – whether doing print, drapes or structured silhouettes, it’s hard to critique much that comes down the runway once Maskatiya has gone over it with her Midas touch. The monochrome provided a welcome break from the vibrancy of this year’s collective palette, while the easy, breezy silhouettes served as wearable options to fitted, smart casual wear as custom in our country.
In conclusion, it would not be amiss to say that day one of PSFW had more hits and very few misses, nothing that can’t be forgiven or overlooked.
– Photographs by Faisal Farooqui @ Dragonfly