Fashion weeks are hit and miss unwieldy behemoths. Bunching together a motley crew of designers, it just isn’t possible for every collection to be exceptional or trendsetting. There is bound to be some uninspirational design, droning its way on to the catwalk and worse, ghastly collections that bring down the credibility of the entire event.
The second – and final – day of Fashion Pakistan Week (FPW) featured a mix of the good and the bad; the former indicative of some of the finest design sensibilities within Karachi’s fashion fraternity and the latter, down-sliding towards tacky design and an overdose of tassels. We wouldn’t mind if we never see tassels again for the rest of the year.
Then again, let’s focus on the good... and the opening act by designer Deepak Perwani was quite fabulous.
Top picks: The single-sleeved silk kaftan top, the white printed culottes, the sultry red wrap with thigh-high culottes, the wraps, the capes, the summer suits and kurtas for men... err... the whole collection.
This was Deepak Perwani the way we love him best; designing for the urban woman, playing with print, bright colors and creating immaculately finished, slinky silhouettes. It was all very glamorous and yet, utterly wearable. Deepak expertly toed the fine line between statement-wear and retail-friendly design and all the clothes could simply go straight from the catwalk to retail racks.
Also, it was good to see summer-friendly, trendsetting options including lightweight cotton suits and kurta-pajama sets for men. Other menswear designers, please take note: we’re at the onset of a sweltering summer and swaddling male models in thick unwieldy fabric just doesn’t make sense.
Top picks: The shirt and pant set worn by Sabeeka Imam.
We’ve already established that every Pakistani fashion week – even self-declared prêt based fashion weeks – will inevitably feature wedding-wear. It’s what designers primarily earn from and therefore, what they want to show. Deepak’s flight into prêt was followed by Saira Shakira, who spun their characteristic contemporary signature into summer wedding wear.
There were plenty of very pretty options in the collection for the wedding-bound: the shirts with unique, geometric embroideries, the asymmetric shirt and pant set worn by Sabeeka Imam and a long, light pink cape that could be dressed up for a wedding or dressed down for an evening soiree.
There were other designs that weren’t as standout: a variation of the sari-shalwar was confusing and the double-layered pants didn’t really have anything new to offer. Also, the wedding-wear market is replete with big names who fastidiously work with delicate hand embroideries. Saira Shakira’s embellishments weren’t always as detailed although we did enjoy some of the 3-D embellishments.
It was, nevertheless, a modern take on wedding-wear which will possibly be appreciated by women who have a penchant for the pretty but edgy. Also, here’s a shout-out to Allure by MHT for the gorgeous statement accessories that held their own on the catwalk!
Top picks: Do we have to?
Alas, then came Rozina Munib, pitching her version of ‘Glamorama’. We earlier mentioned how certain collections can bring down the credibility of a fashion week – this was one of them.
Rozina needs to work on her cuts. She also needs to understand how to use the right fabrics, exercise some restraint when splattering clothes with bling and realize that long tassels in shades of pink and purple just don’t look good. Also, not everyone can cut a gown or a neat pair of pants. If you can’t, then just don’t.
Top picks: Everything!
For a fledgling brand, Boheme By Kanwal has a strong hold over aesthetics. ‘Kathputhli Tamasha’ was a brilliant catwalk debut replete with indigenous details and traditional silhouettes: there were vibrant jackets worked with thread embroideries and mirror work, simmered block-printed and tie-dyed cotton saris and basic tunics with insouciant multi-colored kath-puttlies flitting about their canvas. The final winning stroke was added by Zoe Viccaji as showstopper, who floated onto the catwalk in a heavily can-canned multi-colored skirt.
We had noticed Boheme By Kanwal before when actress Mahira Khan wore designs by the label while promoting her brand ‘Verna’. With this catwalk show, though, the brand properly came into the spotlight and stood out as one that understands its strengths and prefers to march to its own beat.
Top picks: The jackets, waistcoats and kurtas with stripes zig-zagging across them.
As the collection’s name implied, the key element in Nauman Arfeen’s ‘Lines’ were the striped prints. They stood out in monochrome on men’s kurtas, jackets and waistcoats, with spurts of patriotic green popping here and there. The fabric was appreciably kept summer-friendly. The designer’s forte has always been menswear but even the few options for women made neat, minimalist statements and should they up for retail, we’ll be buying!
What didn’t make sense though was the short waistcoat that ended slightly above the waistline. There were also plenty of all-black outfits that may work well retail-wise but couldn’t make much of an impact on the catwalk.
Top picks: The bright yellow sari, the long slouchy shirt with the marbled effect on print, the long kaftan also with the marbled effect, the color-blocked shirt with vertical stripes.
Natasha Kamal worked with various textures and marbling effects and most of the time, the collection worked. The prints, particularly, were unique, playing out in swirls and splatters. The few saris in the collection followed a vibrant color palette were also quite pretty. Natasha Kamal evidently has quite a big clientele and this collection was very visibly designed for them, wearable, with stylish little details thrown in.
Greater improvisation with silhouette could have added more punch. Also, we can’t see the top with laces criss-crossed around the chest being much of a hit.
Top picks: The statement cape which was the very first piece in the collection, the off-shoulder silk jumpsuit.
Ayesha Farook has a flair for creating luxe and it was good to see her designs on the catwalk again. Her black and yellow color palette stood out and as expected, she showcased the kaftans and jumpsuits that have long been her signature.
It would have been more refreshing – and less predictable - had she extended her signature on to other realms of design this time. Also, the three-dimensional black embellishments were a bit too Sana Safinaz-esque. Ayesha Farook has hitherto proven her finesse at creating luxury wear but this wasn’t really her best collection.