FPW ’17 Designer Report
WHAT: Fashion Pakistan Week 2017, Winter/Festive
WHEN: September 11th to 14th, 2017
WHO: Nineteen prominent designers displaying their latest formal, semi-formal and bridal collections
Shamaeel Ansari’s curatorial and off-venue walk-through fashion capsule showcase ‘Blue Tulip’ was inspired by Turkish arts and crafts. It transmogrified into on-trend silhouettes with intricate embroideries that used the grapevines in Iznik art, the visual philosophy of the Ottomans, and the Bosporus’s oversize florals and seagulls.
WHAT WE LIKED: We appreciated the off-venue location and the meticulous attention to detail with the myriad installations that highlighted the collection’s inspirations: Iznik, Ottoman and the Bosphorous. The overall ambience created with complementing oversize paintings of Osman Ali Hamdi as a backdrop, and worded philosophical ruminations by Rumi and the ilk. The stunning modernization of Turkish art, with the intricately textured and vibrantly hued Caucasian needlework embroidery with motifs of saw-toothed leaves, plates and sublime namesake Tulips, paired with gold lattice for a luxurious Bohemian vibe. Kiran Aman’s beaten gold jewellery as a perfect complement to the collection. Nabila and N-PRO’s boho-chic braided hair and make-up that included models’ eyebrows colored in vivid Turkish hues.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: The slight predictability of yet another historically derived collection (previous: Egyptology, the Mughal era and Venetian scrolls et al) replete with artisanal iconography, and the usual accompanying slouchy and layered silhouettes.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: Perhaps a sexy asymmetrical one-shoulder slip dress.
Misha Lakhani’s bridal couture and ready-to-wear collection was predominantly inspired by Persian, Central Asian and Indian iconography. It used hand-woven silks and intricate floral needle-craft embroidery amidst a colour palette ranging from delicate whites and ecru, to pastel hues and bold maroons. These transposed onto voluminous boxy silhouettes seen in short kaftans paired with palazzos, and in multi-kalli tunics, as well as traditional shararas, sensual lehengha cholis, sleek saris and asymmetrical one-shoulder tunics.
WHAT WE LIKED: The ice-blue asymmetrical intricately embroidered and sparkly tunic paired with simple pajamas, and the ecru and gold multi-kalli tunic which proffered a fresh youthful feel.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: Misha is renowned for her artful juxtaposition of pairing Old World grandeur with a contemporary ‘it girl’ vibe. However, we majorly missed that modern sensibility in this collection, which instead singularly chose an aesthetic that was full on redolent of Bunto Kazmi.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: We would have liked Misha to have offered an equal mix of youthful and contemporary silhouettes alongside the Old World and traditional, as she had done in the past.
Aamna Aqeel’s bridal and trousseau collection ‘Palace Wonderland’ was an opulent capsule inspired by the imperial courts of the sub-continent, garden-scapes and exquisite flora and fern. These were rendered into goddess-like silhouettes comprising of contemporary cuts and flowy designs, including a three-tiered one-shouldered tunic paired with wide pants, peplum tunics, high-low off-shoulder tunics paired with cigarette pants, and sleek saris transposed onto a cohesive color palette of gold, white, tea-pink, maroon and black.
WHAT WE LIKED: We liked the fact that Aamna has learned to create well thought-out cohesive capsules without going all over the place, as in the past. We especially liked the soft tea-pink capsule with its versatile style options, and razor-sharp cuts and sleek asymmetrical silhouettes; a white and gold off-the-shoulder bell-sleeved top worn with a sharara skirt and the dramatic black and gold kaftan.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: The black and gold poufy and gauzy three-layered sharara worn with a boob tube and dupatta - mixed messaging!
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: A little less earnestness and trying too hard.
Erum Khan’s bridal collection ‘Bridal Odyssey’ aimed to tell the evolutionary tale of cultural and traditional bridal wear juxtaposing Old World regal charm using maroon and soft pinks. These were seen in a high-low asymmetrical one-shoulder trailing tunic and an ornate maroon, pink, gold and lime can-can sharara worn with a sleeveless blouse. We observed a fashion-forward, sexy contemporary vibe in soft aquas and greys, as seen in a soft grey short frilly peplum tunic worn with straight trousers.
WHAT WE LIKED: The soft turquoise-mint and gold cutout shouldered choli-top worn with a voluminous sharara skirt.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: The over-fussy ostentatiousness seen in a Michael Jackson-like maroon and gold military kimono-sleeved t-tunic jacket paired with over-embellished trousers; and extraneous details like tassels on capris and gauzy puffy sleeves.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: We understand that Erum is predominantly catering to a Lahori market that enjoys OTT ensembles. Nevertheless, we hope she can stay true to her own sleekly provocative and sexy signature – which we saw sneak-peeks of during this rather bi-polar collection – and perhaps find a happy balance.
Obaid Sheikh’s collection ‘Husan Ara’ aimed to celebrate every woman's beauty buoyed by her own inner strength. Using bold yet elegant ethnic embroidery, including Marori and Raisha techniques, he used them amidst a colour palette of gold melded with soft carnation, deep maroon, burnt sienna, grey and black, and a medley of both contemporary and traditional silhouettes, including a maroon and gold high-low trailing angharka tunic worn with slim cigarette pants and an ornately traditional multi-hued tunic. He also presented an Old World menswear capsule, which included timeless pieces such as flared prince coats and classic sherwanis.
WHAT WE LIKED: We liked some of the menswear, including a black and gold naval-inspired sherwani worn with hybrid harem-jodhpur pants, and the womenswear maroon and gold high-low trailing angharka tunic worn with slim cigarette pants.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: The trying-too-hard to mix the traditional with the modern and failing, as seen in the crotch-revealing burnt sienna high-waist jamavar pants, choli and embroidered opera coat ensemble worn by Mehreen Syed.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: Restraint and some understatement.
Saira Rizwan’s ‘Glitterati’ trousseau and bridal collection heralded the festive wedding season with accompanying glitz, using rich fabrics such as velvet, brocade and tissue, embellished with tilla embroidery and exquisite gold 3D floral embellishments. The colour palette ranged from subtle oranges to olive and starry midnight blue and black. Silhouettes included short peplum shirts, sleek asymmetrical one-shoulder tunics and a medley of accompanying wide-trailing Dhaka pajamas.
WHAT WE LIKED: The heavily embroidered chunky and trailing Dhaka pajama/gharara pants hybrid, and the citrine sleek sari and asymmetrical one-shoulder tunic.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: The black and gold double layered gauzy stomach baring choli worn with clumsy straight pants.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: A more distinctive signature style.
Sana Yasir of Suffuse
Sana Yasir of Suffuse’s finale luxe couture collection was an elegant ode to the modern contemporary woman and was buoyed by a silver colour palette replete with sparkly crystals and silver tassels. Sleek and contemporary silhouettes included short, subtly double-layered belted peplum jackets worn with slim slit pants; one-shouldered tasseled sheath gowns; tripled layered backless sharara gowns; flowy tunics and an off-the-shoulder kaftan gown. Suffuse by Sana Yasir collaborated with the renowned Jaipur and Co.
WHAT WE LIKED: The heavily embellished and textural one-shouldered tasseled sheath gown and the short peplum, belted coat.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: The odd addition of an overly traditional white and gold sharara ensemble worn by Areeba Habib in the otherwise contemporary collection.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: Equilibrium
Sanam Chaudhri’s bold and audacious ‘Pandora’ luxe-couture collection was inspired by the late ‘80s to early ‘90s power-dressing silhouettes, with a heady juxtaposition of starkly masculine and soft feminine lines. It included boxy shouldered peplum coats with fluid pleated skirts, umbrella-cut capes and wide-leg pants, and edgy jackets with fluid shalwars. Uber-chic shirt sleeves and hems were enhanced with long flares, elegant flowy tails and floral embellishments. These silhouettes were transposed onto opulent fabrics such as pure silk, with an energizing color palette including statement-making dull parrot green; Prussian, Egyptian and sapphire blues; and soft carnation pink, plum and black. Fiercely alluring, the capsule is for the self-assured urban socialite looking for a wardrobe that transitions well from cocktails on to dinner.
WHAT WE LIKED: The blue striped asymmetrical one-shoulder trailing strip-tunic, worn with straight pleated pants, and the dull parrot green cut-out shoulder belted shirt worn with straight trousers.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: Not much except for a particularly masculine, large collared velvet embroidered coat.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: Perhaps less emphasis on the boob-tube, cropped pants and coat “uniform”.
Wardha Saleem’s ‘Dholak’ collection celebrated the mehendi bride. Deeply traditional yet with a playful silhouette, the collection was a symphony of vibrant colors, including a blend of bright hues such as fuchsia, radiant oranges, vibrant greens, lustrous blues, light lilacs with greys, passionate plums and rich reds. The intricate techniques and details such as knotted beads, kamdani, bird embroideries and hints of truck art kept in line with the subcontinent’s rich and vibrant heritage, and transposed onto sensual cholis and shimmery ghagras, angarkhas with deep backs, and bell bottoms. The menswear collection consisted of bright sherwani colors and patterned orange and pink kurtas.
WHAT WE LIKED: Although the silhouettes were conventional, Wardha’s expertise as a textile mistress came into play with the stunning textural embroidery. We also liked the music of the live dholak and thalis, the models’ jhatkas with flowers and candles, and the overall replicative presentation of a mehendi environment.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: Some of the color combinations have been seen before and been done to death.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: Some experimentation with silhouettes
Emraan Rajput’s ‘The Gentleman’s Club’ was a conventional menswear collection of premium three-piece suits crafted from the finest fabrics, creating timeless styles. They included double-breasted jackets; tuxedoes; and oversized check and Prince of Wales plaid suits using a color palette of navy blue, grey, maroon, white and black.
WHAT WE LIKED: The fitting and the splash of color created with patterned ties and two-toned spectator shoes.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: A lack of originality and inventiveness.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: A stronger signature style and designer identity.
Sadaf Malaterre’s flamboyantly flirty winter festive capsule celebrated women empowerment through bold colors, razor-sharp cuts, freshly crafted unique-layered silhouettes, and lush fabrics such as pure silk and chiffon, and the odd velvet piece, end-noted with tassels and frills. Silhouettes and separates included innovatively crafted jumpsuits, boxy capes, layered shirts, shift dresses using glittery fabrics, spaghetti straps, frills and fringes and pants in a mélange of wispy dark maroons, blacks and greys. The Parisian-esque collection was indubitably designed for the young at heart and fashion forward.
WHAT WE LIKED: A layered deconstructed dress in a quartet of hues and the general easy-breeziness and innovativeness of the capsule.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: Not much to dislike. Perhaps a hint more of festive glamour was needed.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: A bit more oomph in the festive evening wear.
HEM’s ‘The Royal Majesty’ collection was buoyed by a blend of local crafts and experimental techniques using a soft pastel palette of white, silver, powder blue, champagne, rose pink and light mint. It had the purpose of reviving various embellishment techniques, including silver beadwork. Ensembles were accentuated with tasseled hems and fanning frills on the neck and waist, inspired by contemporary trends depicting subtle romance.
WHAT WE LIKED: The intricate silver beadwork.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: The conventional silhouettes and the extraneous double fanning frills.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: A shot of dramatic color.
Deepak Perwani’s ‘Gold Dust’ collection of bridal and groom wear resonated with a timelessness that seemed almost dated, and attempted a nod to modernism with its cuts and mélange of colors. Drawing from the heritage of the sub-continent, the obviously quickly put-together collection included high-low latticed tunics, regal lehenga cholis, which, paired with jewellery by Sherezad, created a wave of Old world nostalgia. Predominantly buoyed by traditional bridal colors such as reds and maroons with intricate gold work, more subtle hues such as mint green and champagne gold with intricate silver embellishments were also used. Menswear Nehru suits in rust and ecru were embellished with floral white threadwork, while classic white and cream sherwanis were complemented by emerald green and maroon shawls with gold embroidery.
WHAT WE LIKED: The classic, regal and traditional white, cream and gold capsule towards the end of the presentation replete with turbans, shawls, lehenga cholis and pearls.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: A lack of cohesiveness and freshness in the collection, and a slight muddling together of seemingly past archival collections.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: Pure Gold
Tena Durrani's Platinum Series collection took inspiration from precious metals and gems, and the dazzling, reflective play of light. It rendered a dramatic yet refined glow with an emphasis on maroon and burnt sienna with gold, and other more subtle colour combinations (including rose gold, champagne and platinum hues). Metallic-toned sheer fabrics, heavily embellished with Swarovski crystals and other precious reflective materials, were embedded with the finest thread-work techniques. Standout details included dupattas with finely embroidered hems, and sparkling lehengas with dull gold embellishments and kamdani work. The cohesive bridal capsule paid exquisite attention to detail brimming with indubitable lady-like glamour.
WHAT WE LIKED: The use of both a traditional and subtle colour palette juxtaposed with metallic fabrics, intricate thread-work and crystals to create an irrepressible lambency. Also, the emanating traditional lady-like aura without qualms.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: Quixotically the same reasons why we liked the collection: It was too traditional and safe!
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: A balance of conventionality and innovation.
Nauman Arfeen of Naushemian
Nauman Arfeen of Naushemian’s collection ‘Carnation’, inspired by the blooms of spring and the jewels of nature, used hand-worked embroidery on an array of diverse, versatile and wearable menswear outfits. The hue of the soft pink carnation, used as an anchor, juxtaposed with cream, ecru and gold, and paired with traditional pagris. The women’s wear collection had a ‘20s vibe replete with Clara bow hair and cigarette holders, and included velvet embroidered bell bottoms, fully embellished net coats, tunic dresses, embroidered saris and glitzy lehenga cholis.
WHAT WE LIKED: The subtle combination of gold and soft carnation pink with cream, and the floral embroidery on the men’s sherwanis and shawls.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: The ribbed belts worn over menswear waistcoats and sherwanis, which seemed extraneous.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: More finesse with women’s wear silhouettes.
Designer duo Saira Shakira’s formal/bridal collection, 'A Monsoon Wedding', was buoyed by their signature ethos but accentuated with fresh contemporary silhouettes. The colour palette was a mix of pastels with rich jewel tones - soft pinks and gold with hints of emerald green transitioning to dark blue and mint green - amidst a flurry of printed florals. Innovative use of metallic tassels and coloured thread work with intricate mosaic borders and silhouettes (including off-shoulder tasselled shirts, short frocked kameezes, and asymmetrical cuts end-noted with floral embroidered dupattas) lent an unconventional and quirky edginess to the collection.
WHAT WE LIKED: A soft grey one-shoulder textural cape with pastel-hued thread-work.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: The overuse of a multitude of fussy embroidery.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: Restraint
Adnan Pardesy's 'Ravayat' collection was inspired by the splendour and opulence of a timeless, traditional bride. Using classic hand-woven embroidery and luxe fabrics, each crafted piece had an artisanal touch accentuated by silver embellishments, and paired with chic and contemporary bell bottoms. Mint green and silver shirts were webbed at the hem with finely netted work and paired with flared chiffon pants. Loose, wide palazzos in darker hues juxtaposed with gold rendered a dramatic sartorial narrative which was contemporaneously fierce and dauntless, as well as quaint and pretty.
WHAT WE LIKED: The all gold textural lehenga choli worn with a black and gold embroidered shawl, and the black and gold concluding capsule including its short, sleeveless black and dull-gold embroidered shirt worn with gold palazzos.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: Not so much the vapid pastel blue sharara and coat.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: An element of surprise.
Maheen Khan’s collection ‘The Lion and the Muse’ was a bold rebuttal to all the heavily embroidered bridal looks preceding and following her. Traditional bridal silhouettes – the gharara pants, for example – were given a contemporary twist using stripes and double layered flares, and paired with bustiers, short coats and one-shouldered capes. Languorous opera coats, with stunningly embroidered cuffs, one-shouldered trailing gauzy capes and draping sleeves added drama. Using a muted colour palette – white, dull gold, grey and black, with a bridal red thrown in an almost rebellious manner with a textural wrap top worn with a skirt – the silhouettes remained laser cut; sharp and uncluttered. The finest pure silk eschewing any embroidery were indubitable signature Maheen.
WHAT WE LIKED: The bold modernization of bridal looks.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: Not so much the pairing of the smart short trailing jacket and bustier with the all-beige double-layered gharara pants.
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: More brides to embrace sartorial simplicity.
The Sana Safinaz finale 52-piece collection ‘Roses and Rue’ was specially created for the contemporary bride, and was an exquisite visual monologue that showcased a revival of floral elements dovetailing delicate eastern embroidery with a distinctive western aesthetic. The result was a stunning collection that was breathtakingly provocative. A flurry of organza, silk, velvet and voile wafted down the winter forest wonderland, transposed onto dramatically architectural, streamlined and fluid silhouettes. Flirty peek-a-boo cut-out details and décolleté necklines alongside fully flared layered skirts created romantic whimsy in a kaleidoscope of elegant hues, ranging from deep jewel tones to ivory whites and pastels resulting in an alluring femininity. Intricate Swarovski crystals, semi-precious stones and pearl detailing in bold section compositions, and three-dimensional floral appliqués adorned with feathers rendered the collection exquisite. Fringes, tassels and elaborate woven detailing added a distinctively whimsical touch.
The dynamic duo also debuted their capsule menswear collection, created with the most luxurious fabrics, which was an ode to minimalistic style and was accentuated with lion head buttons, collar pins and elegant pocket squares, which added a refined gentlemanly swagger. A range of sherwanis, waistcoats and jackets with sharp innovative cuts were unapologetically debonair.
WHAT WE LIKED: Everything!
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: Nothing!
WHAT WE WISHED FOR: More!
A glimpse of the magic we saw at Sana Safinaz!
Photography: Fashion Pakistan Council and Shaharyar Siddiqui of The Brand Crew | Reported by: Zurain Imam