Most of us are well-acquainted with the fashion after-party — digitally, at least.
The fashion industry's after-parties may be ‘exclusive’ and ‘invite-only’ but they're also all over Instagram and Snapchat: the babes, the boys, the bright lights and the bubbly (environment, of course). Really, our tech-savvy social media consumers are all in the know about what goes on when celebs and stars get together to party.
Simmering just beneath life’s sedate, everyday routines, this is the unruly, throbbing ‘other’ side of Pakistan – quite the usual thing for the fashion set. But for the ordinary amongst us, these parties are curious, riveting affairs, replete with décor, costumery, decadence and the occasional scandal or two.
For the uninitiated, then, here’s a guide to the fashion after-party. You never know, you may find yourself at one soon.
Contrary to popular belief, invites are fairly easy to obtain. All you have to do is befriend an event sponsor, or flatter a big-shot (or even small-time) designer, clutch an i-Phone and join fashion’s burgeoning bloggerati or hey, just become friends with the venue’s electrician and you’ll be in!
And once you’re there, here are some of the people you’ll see:
1) The host
The host is a lively soul with a love for showing everyone a good time and enough moolah to keep the entertainment going through the night. A lot of times, the host may be a deep-pocketed businessman with the wherewithal to sponsor events, the hope to associate his or her brand with fashion’s glamour and a secret, unrequited desire dating back from teenage years to be featured on the social pages with the prettiest models. If the host has to throw a party to achieve all this, so be it.
At other times, the host is a fashion personality – designer, model, event organizer, stylist, for instance – who makes the mistake of organizing the soiree at his or her home. In such a case, the host’s joie de vivre wears out fairly quickly, replaced with a domestic desire to wipe table-tops, pick cigarette stubs off the floor and silently bemoan the breakage of the family crystal by the increasingly raucous guests.
2) The not-really friends
These characters are particularly prevalent in fashion-centric parties. They’re not really the host’s friends but they are always on the guest list because they can’t not be.
Also, if the party’s in celebration of something, this bunch isn’t really feeling too congratulatory. In all probability, they’ll whisper to you about how bad the party is and how they don’t really want to be there. But these are also the famous faces who are going to get the media cameras whirring and will ensure that the party’s pictures make it to the social pages (which is unfathomably an essential requisite for a successful party in Pakistan).
Later in the night, they’re most probably going to be the ones having a go at the host’s family crystal.
But they’re still going to be invited to the next party… because they can’t not be.
3) The Instagrammer/Snapchatter/insane mobile-phone enthusiast
Now here’s someone who’s ecstatic to be at the party and he or she proves it by perpetually taking pictures and posting them.
The Instagrammer is easy to spot: he or she has a penchant for pouting and making strange duck-faces and usually does so with a range of bleary-eyed party attendees. Pet phrases for posting on social media: ‘Rocking night out!’, ‘Having a blast!’, and ‘Muah! Muah!’
4) The hungry
The existence of this individual depends on the nature of the party.
There are a few that boast lavish dinner spreads; there are many others where waiters whisk about miniature hors d’oeuvres that don’t suffice as nourishing, energy-giving food (although other ‘offerings’ are available aplenty).
Unlike the Instagrammer, this character isn’t too happy to be at the after-party. He or she may be a newbie at such affairs and came expecting dinner, as one tends to do at most parties. Chances are, he or she will sulkily leave early – hobnobbing with the rich and famous loses its allure when all you want is a good ol’ chicken tikka.
5) The fashionably bored
These guests are trying very hard to be cool. They roll their eyes occasionally, stifle yawns and keep looking at their watches. Apparently, they’ve been to much better shindigs and this one’s a drag.
But then, why don’t they just leave? And why do they keep posing for selfies on their phones? These people are just plain old party-poopers.
6) The leerer
Also, it is absolutely imperative to stay away from the leerer. All-too-prevalent at shaadis, dinner parties and shopping malls, the leerer also runs rampant at the fashion after-party. And he has plenty to leer at there!
Eventually, the leerer summons the courage to hit the dance floor and take the leering to another level. Definitely the seedy, shoddy side to the fashion after-party.
7) The angry designer
The angry designer is most likely to surface when a party takes place during or after fashion week. The designer’s collection has just been trashed by critics and it makes him or her so, so angry. This character is likely to fall into a fight and indulge into choice language. If nothing else, he or she will have a go at the long-suffering host’s family crystal.
On the upside, when the angry designer gets into a fight, the party definitely makes it to the news.
8) The couples
An inevitable feature at any party, the couples are no fun – unless you’re part of one.
Usually in the initial rosy phase of a romance, they’re too moony-eyed and inseparable to be great company. Also present at most parties, random people that find each other interesting and become couples… for the time being.
9) The party people
The people who are actually, genuinely, happy to be at an event and know how to have a good time. These are officially the ‘cool’ people to hang out with and it’s easy to identify them: they’re swanky dressers and they usually know their way around the dance floor.
The downside to this group: they don’t want to leave the party until the very end. From this perspective, they’re much like the pesky neighbor/phuppo/cousin who is initially fun but doesn’t know when the fun should end. Not very cool.