The LSA 2023 list of nominees is out, and they are slightly baffling.
hile the annual advent of the Lux Style Awards has thrilled me since a local daily’s Sunday mag started printing, just like, pages and pages of party pix, even as a bystander/ armchair style critic I had opinions on nominees and winners. There was a year where most of the Instep team was on the fashion and music juries, and I remember sparring with one of my colleagues for not voting for what I had thought had been the better music video. Opinions vary, even within the same team. But the one thing we have all unequivocally always agreed on is the importance of the institution that the LSA is.
The last couple of LSA ceremonies have been slightly lower-key (2021), and a little more experimental but definitely less star-studded (2022). If I’m being totally honest, I thought both were fine, given that 2021 was the year Covid restrictions eased, and 2022’s ceremony was a strong nod to digital stars. Plus, the Anjuman performed. What more do you guys want?
What had been a bit perplexing last year were the nominees and finally the winners when they were announced. Where were all the stylists, photographers, models whose names we had come across over and over as we scanned shoots online and in our inboxes? Why did the same musician see himself nominated in more than three music categories? Where were the musicians whose songs had ruled the streaming charts and airwaves for better part of the year? Why was Lahore’s fashion set so obsessed with velvet last year?
The submissions process was patiently explained to me, with the promise that call for submissions will be announced more clearly and visibly for 2023. Team LSA has delivered on that, as well as on prompting people to vote for their favorite in each category.
We suppose a final jury, for some categories, passes a final judgement, thus picking the winner. But if these juries exist, I have questions:
I love Khaadi as much as the next Pakistani woman, but despite the western line and play on pattern, they aren’t the most fashion forward brand. Suffuse by Sana Nasir, Sania Maskatiya are both great design houses, but they have found their area of excellence, and they play within those dimensions. One would almost expect to see Ali Xeeshan, who showed a fun collection at the TEXPO show earlier this year, or Fahad Hussayn, who expands beyond his areas of confirmed excellence constantly (Faction, most recently), Rastah, if we’re talking higher-end retail/pret.
One would also expect to see names like Annie Siddiqui’s contending for Best Model, or Saleha Aref for Emerging Talent - the latter has been part of almost every retail catalogue online for the last couple of years. Is the issue one of possible submitters not really understanding how to go about it? Can we try to create some kind of helpline/space for them?
Film & television
In all fairness, no real complaints here. All the films that should be nominated by critics, were. For television, perhaps production houses should submit more extensive portfolios, and the LSA teams should consider broadening categories. There’s a lot of content on TV, and so much of it is so popular in different ways, you can’t really clump them all together. With the introduction of one new entertainment channel to Pakistan, which is exclusively airing lots of experimental TV series, the 2023-24 nominations will be a hot mess if they stay this limited, and are left up to submissions and anonymous voters.
The only thing that really jumps out for me in the music nominations is all the critics’ nods to Coke Studio. As an occupational hazard, one happens to know at least of all the music that is released during a year, and Coke Studio isn’t all of it.
Instep pointed this out last year too: if there will be a self-submitting process, unless regulated by an independent entity with some ground rules, we will find a lot of the same names and faces clustering similar categories.
Ditto for the voting process, if we are to leave the vote to nomination with the public, there has to be a system in place that can weed out automation and duplication.
As for the LSA 2023 and beyond? There will never be a year we won’t be excited!