Almost all of Fahad Hussayn’s shows manage to create a buzz for his expertise with theatrics and beautifully crafted clothes that invariably reflect his signature. They’re memorable because one experiences something surreal, fantastical and often slightly bizarre. Oddly enough, whether or not his audience revels in the show he puts on, Hussayn tells Instep, “I’ve never been satisfied after a show.” Last year’s PFDC L’Oreal Bridal Week had him particularly upset with some backstage concerns but none of his shows have achieved his desired level of perfection – up until recently.
Last week the designer staged an entire fashion show in Lahore, which he aired exclusively on his social media channels. Showing his Print Museum collection, The Huntman’s Lament, he was very pleased with the way the showcase turned out. “I had complete control over the show from the models, the hair and makeup, the people I showed it to and when I showed it.” The biggest advantage he had was that he could photograph a commercial catalogue during the runway show and cater to people who complain they can’t make out what his clothes look like when they’re elaborately styled in Fahad’s quintessential manner.
“People can’t see the product so I tried making up for that with a shoot where everything is visible - to make sure there’s relatability for the local client,” he said. Earlier, his catalogue shoot would get delayed till after the runway show and would delay the release of the collection in the market. With this format Fahad could release the runway show, catalogue shoot and the collection itself simultaneously.
“If I didn’t like the way someone walked I could do a retake, I had time to re-press an outfit. All the factors that bother me at fashion week were under my control.” The perfectionist in Fahad was clearly at peace with his new showing format. Does this mean he’s off the fashion week bandwagon? “I understand that the market has become very different and fashion week format has become a bit repetitive in terms of audience and buzz and there’s less area for growth. Fresher ideas that you put forward for your brand give you far more in return. But, I still might want to do it next year because of the different reach and hype but for my own end product I’d like to keep doing this for my brand.”
In 2019, the designer plans to separate Fahad Hussayn Couture from Print Museum with the latter being more mass oriented and the former going back to what Fahad says was his 10-year-old self; less restrained with design and more adventurous with bridals. “I take the role of an educator a lot and teach a lot of people so I can’t be someone who can get confused with trying to commercialize my brand. I want to keep the integrity of my ethos intact so I’ve decided to disembark both these brands and retain my identity.”
With both brands operating independently, Fahad will be able to maintain the signature he is so well known for and make a watered down mass friendly version. When the discussion turned to bridal designers claiming that their signature is being copied by newer brands, it was imperative to get his views as someone with a strong signature himself. “You should make an aesthetic so strong that no one can copy it,” he said. “My hand painted prints are such that no one can copy them and every year I use different embroidery techniques and incorporate them in my signature but it’s not like I can claim gota work as my own. Techniques exist for everyone – it’s how you employ them.”