One thing you have to credit to Fashion Pakistan, the council, is their eye to pick and choose innovative new brands, giving them a platform to flourish upon. This year’s breakthrough came with a label called Boheme, which has been around for several years but debuted at fashion week this season with a fresh spring/summer line. Fashion week progressed in ebb and flow, with several highs and an occasional low, which thankfully did not sap the style energy of the day.
What did cramp the catwalk – and this issue needs to be addressed and gotten out of the way – is the pool of models, which lacked any form of uniformity. You saw every shape and size of girl, from short to tall, from low energy to no energy, and one missed the kind of swag and attitude expected from fashion models. The established supers – Mehreen Syed, Fouzia Aman, Sadaf Kanwal, Rabia Butt, Anam Malik, Zara Abid, and Sabeeka Imam – held the collections together but most of the new faces were just sad. And that’s quite ironic given that several of them actually had the galls to make and release a video spoofing actor Zara Abbas, who walked for Huma Adnan a day earlier. Zara at least had energy, which is more than one can say for the models, who also lacked the better sense to not release such an offensive video.
Anyway, back to the collections…
Deepak Perwani: Deepak does well when Deepak does fusion and his collection called Black is the New White was quite delightful. There was some contradiction in the name as the collection featured just as much white as it did black, but combined with his fresh Oriental floral prints – thankfully bold as opposed to feminine – it was one well put together. The trousers were especially interesting in their pleats and skirting and this collection convinced one, finally, that a white shirt with feathers is the cool staple to have in summer.
Saira Shakira: One doesn’t remember the design duo putting out such a strong collection for a long time but Winds of Summer was one that impressed with almost everything. It’s not easy to innovate on luxury clothing but Saira Shakira put out a variety of styles and designs that were fashion forward and yet classic enough for luxury pret. One especially loved the texturing, as shown in the featured jacket, and the layering as well as the experimentation with shapes of tunics.
Rozina Munib: Rozina debuted on this platform last year with a collection that ended with an homage to Mukhtaran Mai; this year she focused on Glamorama and an unapologetic take on western luxury wear. It was a brave collection that revealed the designer’s eagerness to prove and display her skills, but that unfortunately led to lack of cohesion. If edited properly and given direction, Rozina can surely evolve with a stronger line, she has the personal style to prove it.
Boheme by Kanwal: This label just has to be credited for being the breakthrough brand of fashion week, because it simply blew one away with this debut collection. The designer has apparently been living in the USA and Dhaka for 16 years, which explained the ease with which she put saris together. Sourcing readily available crafted fabric, Kanwal managed to create silhouettes and styles with the kind of organic and fuss free feel that one expects to see in international labels like The Good Earth. Relaxed and yet fashionable, this is a label to look out for and one hopes to see more of.
Nauman Arfeen: The menswear designer undoubtedly has a handle on menswear and can innovate when it comes to improvising on the basic shalwar kameez and sherwani; his designs are always well-constructed, sharp and wearable. The monochrome striped palette was a safe albeit stylish canvas for a collection but while his choice of showstopper – the marvelous Special Olympians - got a worthy standing ovation, the collection did not stand out just as much.
Natasha Kamal: This young designer has a grip on luxury wear and managed to create an interesting mood board with marbled prints, rivet studs and colour blocks. The longer dresses and tunics were impressive, the shorter styles and saris not so much. This was a collection that had the basics of style and silhouette but fell short on confidence, which will surely come in time.
Ayesha Farook: The best thing about Ayesha Farook is that her signature stands out from miles and does not ever waver. It’s her trademark sense of luxury clothing that keeps her going, year after year and this season was no different in its decadent display of opulent western wear. The flipside is that there is usually very little invention in her collections or at least not enough to enable one to distinguish one from the other.
– Photography: Tapu Javeri