A hair show is expected to place focus on hair, to mould the human mane to glorious new effects, to snip and colour and spin and style.
And hair did dominate the catwalk at the Toni&Guy Hair Show, which endeavoured to bring global hair trends for 2018 to Pakistan. With solo shows becoming local fashion’s favourite new catchphrase, the brand rolled out two events one after the other, one in Lahore and another in Karachi that took place last night.
The former show placed importance on training local stylists while the other, staged at the colonial British High Commission in Karachi, simply played about with hair, sometimes to great effect, sometimes not.
The show belonged to Saeeda Mandviwalla, Toni&Guy’s CEO for South Pakistan, who worked along with two experts from Label M. international, Gary France and Mark Lamparter. And the crowd that came filtering in to see the show gave testament to Saeeda and Toni&Guy’s combined clout.
Seated on benches bordering the catwalk was the local media as well as HUM Network’s CEO Sultana Siddiqui, Khushbakht Shujaat, actors Meera Ansari, Aamina Sheikh, Sanam Saeed, Ahsan Khan and singer Zoe Viccaji. The catwalk itself looked exciting enough, a basic white platform framed by hexagonal lights. There were times, also, when the hair being showcased excited…
In the ‘We are Two’ segment of the show, model Amna Ilyas walked, shaking out a fluid perm. She was followed by a swaggering Fayezah Ansari with fierce, jagged short hair. There was a model with bouncy voluminous curled hair and another with glossy beach waves. It was the most impactful part of the show, bringing back the big curls, fringes and bangs that ruled the ‘80s and sashaying them out with great flair.
The segment experimenting with hair colour was termed Futurewise and perhaps it was this term that made one understand the thought-process behind some of the looks that were presented. This was futuristic hair, often too stark for the faint-hearted amongst us and possibly not palatable to most of Pakistan. It was fun, though – the bright red candy floss effect, the asymmetric bronde waves and the black speckled with shades of grey.
‘Fashion Fix’, with its gravity defying braids and profusion of hair accessories may not have made much sense in realistic terms but then again, this wasn’t a catwalk for everyday hair. There were styles that had definite possibilities for editorial shoots. In contrast, the casually styled ‘almost wet’ looks for men looked good on the catwalk and could easily be translated to real life.
Ultimately, what undermined the show were the models. The extensive hair styling and colouring required had most known models refusing to take part in the show. One recalls Toni&Guy facing similar dilemmas in the past. Instead, new models ended up being selected, good sports who are yet to make a mark in modelling and are willing to let their hair be teased, tweaked and dyed 50 shades of red just for those five precious moments on the catwalk.
This is understandable – but couldn’t the organisers have at least taught the models how to walk? Many of them merely stomped their way down the ramp.
Perhaps inculcating style into models is a task easier said than done. Nevertheless, the lack of grace in the models was unfair to the hard work that Saeeda and her team had very evidently invested in their hair.
A word about the wardrobe also: it was wise of Saeeda not to collaborate with known designers as she had done in the past at fashion weeks. Hair, after all, should be the focal point at a hair show. Having said that, some of the clothes worked - the bright floral prints - while others simply didn’t appeal. It wasn’t necessary to include experimental silhouettes when classier cuts could have really worked wonders.
Most importantly, one felt that the makeup was ignored. Yes, the show was dedicated to hair and the makeup didn’t have to be outstanding but better blending was direly needed. A model with bleached hair, in the Futurewise section, for instance, was looking positively pasty-faced. Great makeup makes for a well-finished look. That’s fashion show 101 for you.
With all its hits and misses, the solo show worked. Earlier on, Toni and Guy has been part of fashion weeks where, sandwiched between apparel showcases, the impact of a hair show gets diluted. This time, though, the catwalk belonged solely to the brand. The venue itself was sophisticated, in alignment with the international stature of the brand. The pace was snappy and slick, keeping things interesting.
It was also good to see Toni and Guy International take the initiative to invest in the Pakistani market by sending out experts and planning out solo shows. Regular shows like these can really help push the brand forward – and next time could be bigger, better.
All photographs by Mutahir Mahmood of O'Shoot Photography unless otherwise stated