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Thursday, 2 April 2015

Fashion Pakistan Week: Day 1 lacks ramp drama

amna baber sania maskatiya nida azwer
With crowd pullers Nida Azwer and Sania Maskatiya both in the first half, some of audience left after the first half. —Photo courtesy: Tapu Javeri

The first day of Telenor Fashion Pakistan Week was a muted start to fashion week season. The event itself was smoothly organized and had all the trappings of fashion week from the buzzing red carpet to a stunning stage.

The young Fashion Pakistan Council now has a great team in place with backstage and management working seamlessly to put together a polished show. What was missing was some of the ramp drama that makes for a memorable fashion week.

There were some good collections from Nida Azwer, Sadaf Malaterre and Sania Maskatiya but the rest failed to impress. Moreover, with crowd pullers Nida and Sania both in the first half, some of their partisan audience left after the first half which put a damper on the proceedings.

This was despite the fact that the event didn’t run very late at all and was done by 10 pm. Sadaf Malaterre may be an accomplished and senior designer but the finale should go to a designer who has popular appeal.

sadaf malaterre and fia
Sadaf Malaterre strikes a smile with a model

Nida Azwer opened the proceedings with her masterful French Trellis collection. She enlivened an unremitting palette of soft greys and pale coffee with skilled use of texture and black and white accents. Nida used white embroidery, pearls and beading on organza to excellent effect. The collection featured capes, crop tops, lenghas, saris and wide leg trousers and adhered to Nida’s contemporary Eastern aesthetic.

nida azwer french trellis collection TFPW15
Nida's collection was an appealing one

While there some standout pieces, like a white laser cut bolero on a black jumpsuit, Nida also showed one of two silhouettes that should have been saved for the showroom. For example the organza anarkali was one of her hit silhouettes from last year but it was a jarring note in this collection. Nevertheless, this was a beautiful, cohesive collection from the talented young designer.

hira tareen for nida azwer TFPW15
Hira Tareen walks for Nida Azwer, modelling this eye-catching black jumpsuit with a bolero

Next up, the Bank Al Falah Rising Talent section provided what can best be described as comic relief. We saw four graduate collections from students from various fashion schools around the country. The students seemed to be competing for a prize in wackiness.

Rimsha Shakir’s eighties-inspired capsule included a monochrome dress with a light studded PVC bodice. Hamza Riaz send his models down the ramp in Hannibal masks. Sheza Azhar chose to make a statement with a neon orange PVC tutu. Momal Zia’s muted, distressed pieces didn’t even have the advantage of quirkiness. While these may all be what fashion teachers are looking for from graduate collections, they have little or no relevance at Fashion Week.

bank alfalah rising talent

This is a great platform for newcomers and it was wasted on collections that ignored the business side of fashion entirely. Moreover, at least two of these collections have been seen before – at the TDAP Fashion show and at the Telenor Fashion Weekend in Lahore. The Bank Al Falah platform needs to be used better if it is going to truly benefit newcomers to the fashion industry.

Lala Textiles followed with a mish-mash of a collection. Their in-house designers have obviously being paying attention to recent fashion weeks. There were several derivative designs on the ramp in a collection that did attempt to use lawn in an interesting way.

There was however too much going on - cutwork jackets, maxis, and wide legged trousers jostled for attention in a mix of prints and colours. The brand still has to learn that interrelated ensembles make a stronger ramp statement.

lala textiles
Lala Textiles collection was all over the place

Sania Maskatiya’s Khayat collection brought the first half to a close on a much better note. It was vibrant and spirited though it lacked some of the freshness of vision that we have come to expect from Sania. Inspired by the kaarigars of the workshop, Khayat had beautiful prints and detailing but didn’t make enough of an impact in terms of cut and silhouette. It was still one of the best collections of the night, but Sania is capable of much more.

sania maskatiya TFPW15
Sania showcased wonderful designs but played it safe

The prints and fabrics were gorgeous with popping neon colours and bold embroidery reminiscent of splashes of paint. Sania did experiment with cut to some extent. There were many subtle plays on silhouette – the set of a sleeve here, a startling short back there. Sania also showed wide legged trousers and maxi dresses that were a nod to the 70s trend.

There were plenty of stunning pieces both on the ramp and on the red carpet. However, the collection included too many cuts that we have seen before from Sania. Her grasp of print and textile design is unmatched but the overall impact of the collection was compromised because it didn’t make a definitive statement in terms of silhouette.
Fnk Asia’s collection was first after the break and it was an unusual take on their folk aesthetic. Consisting entirely of crisp whites and a few outfits in solid colours, the collection pared down the idea of ethnic chic. The array of bohemian dresses included plenty of interesting detailing – rope-like effects on the backs and lacy cutwork.

fnk asia TFPW15 huma adnan
Fnk Asia's pieces were a little bland but nothing a few edits couldn't have fixed.

Devoid of the folk accessories and bold embroidery that Fnk Asia usually relies on for impact, the collection had its moments. While some outfits cried to be edited out, overall this was better than usual from Fnk Asia. Not bad for a high street brand.

Madiha Raza’s Spring Myth collection was one of the biggest disappointments of the night. It’s always difficult to follow up a spectacular debut but this collection was pedestrian at best. Raza won her place at TFPW with her award-winning Flight of Birds collection. She used many of the same elements this time round, such a laser cutting and digital printing. What was missing this time round was the clarity and originality that marked that collection.

This time around she showed everything from straight kurtas to skirts and harem pants. There were some delicious details such as her laser cut belts but the collection failed to gel. Maheen Khan as Madiha’s showstopper was one of the moments of the night, but the collection was otherwise best forgotten.

madiha raza maheen khan TFPW15

Sadaf Malaterre’s finale was simply gorgeous. Polished and pretty, it had both impact and variety. Sadaf is one of those designers whose minimalistic, undertstated aesthetic can fall flat on the ramp, as it did at PLBW in 2013. Similarly her capsule for Toni N Guy at FPW last year was unimpressive. However, last night her collection hit just the right notes.

As she tends to do, she took a few simple ideas and melded them into a beautiful collection. Using a soft blush pink with pearl beading and chocolate brown as accents, the collection played on the ideas draping and fringes using chiffon, net and silk. From bias cut dresses to layered, wrapped gowns, the collection was springtime romance personified.

sadaf malaterre TFPW15
Malaterre's designs stayed true to her simplicity

Hopefully there's still plenty of great fashion to come at TFPW. Designers to look forward to today at Day 2 include Sanam Chaudri, Fahad Hussayn, Amir Adnan and Zaheer Abbas.

All pictures courtesy of the talented Tapu Javeri.

This piece by chief editor Salima Feerasta was first seen at

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