Fashion weeks dedicated to prêt always hold such promise. Switching focus from generic shimmery bridal-wear, design may venture into new, unexplored territory, surge towards avant-garde creativity or define trends for wearable, affordable fashion in the coming months.
It was what one expected from the third day of the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week (PSFW), with its line-up of ‘hit’ designers. But as one knows all too well, this doesn’t always guarantee ‘hit’ collections. Drifting down the catwalk, there was a bit of repetitive mediocrity, a few lows and some flashes of fashion brilliance.
Following an earlier segment featuring Hang Ten, DSS, Umar Iftikhar and Denizen, the spotlight primarily fell on the evening show. Here’s the lowdown:
With ‘Translucent’, Khaadi Khaas marked its return to the fashion week circuit after a two-year-break.
The brand clearly has plans of getting bigger, better and more luxurious, creating the PSFW line in collaboration with global giant Swarovski.
A lot worked in this line-up; quirky asymmetric tops, sheath dresses, crop tops and ankle-high pants.
There was plenty of monochrome, interspersed with pops of bright pink, neon yellow and green and heavy smatterings of Swarovski crystals. This predilection for bling is not what one generally associates with Khaadi and certainly, the uber-chic vibe that defined its earlier fashion week’s outings was missing.
Instead, this collection was more formal and sophisticated. Perhaps this is indicative of the changing ethos within Khaadi. The brand mastered the unstitched and prêt ball-game long ago and is now very clearly zoning in on luxury-pret, the Khaas line. It is important now that Khaadi cashes in on the fashion week buzz and brings some semblance of this line to its retail racks.
That, in essence, will gauge its success at PSFW.
Zonia Anwaar’s ethos gets better with every fashion week showcase and it is high time that the designer seriously considers making her clothes more accessible.
Her ‘Kievan’ at this year’s PSFW, for instance, featured some very pretty separates that could fly off the shelves should Zonia want them to. Inspired by Ukranian decorative art with floral and cross-stitch patterns, print merged with embroidery on a predominantly white backdrop.
The silhouettes may not have been very new but they worked well: cinched with leather belts, there were dresses, mini-skirts, jumpsuits, off-shoulder blouses, elaborate puffed sleeves simmering down to the narrow, embroidered pants and gorgeous long skirts.
Zonia certainly has a knack for the aesthetically pretty and should she push the envelope just a tad further, she could be fashion’s next big thing. Provided she manages to get a grip on retail, of course.
With their ‘Ysatis’, Saira*Shakira probably set out to push the fashion envelope but got somewhat lost along the way.
Geometric prints moved in quirky zig-zags, mixed with huge bows and beaded floral embroideries. There were jarring OTT moments; for instance, the dress worn by Mehreen Syed was a confusing mix of print with net, cut-off shoulders with embroidery at the hem and shoulders and a bow at the neck!
Deconstructed, this line could have made a lot more sense. Some pieces stood out: an asymmetric, high-collared tunic and a printed mauve pant with embroidery tapering up one leg.
Zara Shahjahan tried her hand at slouchy elegance with ‘Phiran’.
Using cotton linen in muted shades of pink, she presented a line that will undoubtedly sell well: baggy kurtas with rolled-up sleeves and frayed necklines paired with well-tailored cigarette pants, thin leather belts loosely tied at the waist and oversized lightweight shrugs.
Embellishments were minimal but classy; floral embroideries tapering down a shoulder or only on the back while the front remained plain. Large leather bags, kolhapuris and khussas complemented the looks, designed in-house and set to begin retailing at Zara’s stores.
A very pretty line-up and yet, it was not design that one hadn’t seen on catwalks before. Myriad other designers – Misha Lakhani comes to mind – have been associated with similar collections and although Zara presented understated glamour very well, she needs to decide upon a particular design signature.
Her ethos changes with every fashion week and she needs to now develop her brand so that a Zara Shahjahan design can unmistakably stand out. Right now, her creations are pretty and certainly commercially viable but they run the risk of getting lost amongst a milieu of similar-looking designs from other ateliers.
HSY’s such a pro at building hype and one loves him for it.
His collection – the final one of the evening – was preceded by a short film titled ‘Be Yourself’. Cheekily, along the same lines as the ‘20th Century Fox’ movie openings, this one was by ‘HSY Productions’ and had the designer playing matchmaker to actor Bilal Ashraf and model Mehreen Syed.
From a Japanese geisha to a military woman to a pouting, self-obsessed society girl, the two discussed Bilal’s ideal girl before reaching the conclusion that the perfect woman believes in ‘being herself’.
On that note, the show began, featuring design that was strongly inspired by Spanish matadors. The color palette was bright, there was plenty of bling and some elements worked: fully embellished pants, boot-cut trousers and a jacket with bright embroideries on its hood, for instance.
Sadly, there were also parts that didn’t work. Overall, far too many textures, embellishments and cuts were mixed in, rendering the collection more confused than cohesive.
The House of Kamiar Rokni has long been professing its penchant for bridal-wear and their PSFW collection was originally devised for the Fashion DNA segment at London Fashion Week last month.
It was the design house’s take on prêt, seen after a long, long time, and it left one wanting more. This was high fashion. The designers worked with luxe fabrics like jamawar, organza, tissue and karandi.
Bright rilli worked on borders and entire garments, brocade shirts, capes and pants, puffed sleeves, vivacious embroidery and an ebullient play of hemlines … it was a brilliant amalgamation of the edgy and the pretty.
This is what prêt at fashion weeks needs to be like; avoiding the opulence of bridals while presenting something unique and distinctive. The House of Kamiar Rokni’s was certainly one of the collections that raised the bar in a fashion week that has featured quite a few stellar style moments.