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Saturday, 4 April 2015

Fashion Pakistan Week Day 3: Iman Ahmed, Inaaya and YBQ wow the crowd

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Aamna Ilyas walks for Yousuf Bashir Qureshi. —Photo courtesy: Tapu Javeri

Day 3 of TFPW made it clear that fashion week is the hottest ticket in town.

With designers like Iman Ahmed, HSY and Sania Maskatiya all showing, it was standing-room only at the venue. Many of the crowd of fashion insiders and socialites ended up sharing seats, with the chivalrous Zaheer Abbas giving his seat to Iman Ahmed after her show and sitting on the floor himself. So much for designer egos!
It was an evening that lived up to its billing.

Iman Ahmed may not be a designer who makes her clothing easily available, but in fashion terms she reaches heights that few other designers can reach. Her “Sartorial Philology and the New Nomad collection” was breathtaking.

The best fashion shows have a narrative — the clothes, styling, music and progression of the outfits blend seamlessly into a whole that portrays the designer’s artistic vision.

It’s hard not to gush about Iman Ahmed’s show last night because it was exactly what a fashion show should be.

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Ahmed started off the show with white ensembles


Starting with a series of outfits in white and gradually adding tribal colours, Iman used fringing, embroidery and a range of fabrics to great effect. From the inspired detailing to the juxtaposition of texture and silhouette, this was a class act. The tribal white-dotted makeup and beaten silver accessories added further depth to Iman’s stunning layered ensembles.

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Three looks from the “Sartorial Philology and the New Nomad collection”


Levi’s uninspired showing of their new 501 jeans and other stock provided the audience with a pause to process the previous collection. It’s difficult to make a interesting fashion week presentation out of high street wear and something that Levis struggles with.

They used better music than they did at their autumn show but the styling was still painfully lacking. They did manage to make everyone sit up and take notice at the end of their show though — Wasim Akram walked the ramp as their showstopper amid cheers from the admiring audience.


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The highlight of the show was former cricketer Wasim Akram walking the ramp


Somal Halepoto was next, with collection that looked distinctly amateur. She seemed to be aiming for a bright kitschy collection but ended up looking merely tacky. The shiny, synthetic-looking fabrics and gaudy embroidery were particularly woeful. Somal’s digital neon animal prints and some of the harem pants were funky but the rest of the collection had little to recommended it.


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Halepoto's collection was all over the place


YBQ’s LalShah collection, meanwhile, was in a different league. An ode to 3 Sufi Sindhi saints, the collection was as much about the artistic impression it made on the ramp as it was about the clothes. The distinctly theatrical presentation relied on the slow beat of sufi music and plentiful accessories for much of its impact.

YBQ sent his models down the ramp in huge pagris, holding flags on poles and garlanded with prayer beads. He used only three colours - red depicting rage, white for peace and black for mourning. Most of the outfits were draped red jersey tunics or gowns with white lowers, braided belts and black turbans.


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YBQ stayed true to his design aesthetic


Rubya Chaudry wore a black gown with red roses but otherwise the outfits were all about subtle plays with drapery and cut. From jodhpur style chooridarsto asymmetrical draping, the outfits had interesting touches but needed all that heavy styling to make an impact. HSY was YBQ’s showstopper and added glamour to the theatrical presentation that he had choreographed.


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Wardha Saleem was first up after the break and her Lotus Song collection showed how this talented young designer has been upping her game over recent years.


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Saleem's collection was an ode to flora and fauna


She used digital flamingo prints, 3D embroidery, gota embroidery and lasercutting in a pretty formal fusion collection. The detailing on the collection was simply stunning. Wardha used gota in delicate patterns that gave her outfits shimmer and paired this with three dimensional embroidery. The outfits featured flowers, fish, elephants and birds picked out in silk thread and beads.

She showed a variety of shift dresses, jackets, saris, capes and draped dresses. The styling was also great fun – the models wore shoes featuring spikes and 3D flowers while the multi-talented Tapu Javeri provided some gorgeous jewellery and music for the show. While there was nothing groundbreaking about her silhouettes, this was a beautiful collection that showed skill and artistry.


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Sania Maskatiya, who presented her luxury pret on Day 1, now showed her lawn collection for AlKaram. As far as designer lawn goes, this is something of a dream collaboration.

Textile and print are Sania’s forte and she uses print extensively in her luxury pret. In this collection for Al-Karam she has taken print elements from her pret collections throughout the year including the Sakura, Lokum and Khutoot collections.

The prints are different from those used in her Luxe pret but are based on the same principals. She’s even used the paint splash embroidery from this season’s Khayaat collection in one of the outfits. Designer lawn should be affordable way to wear a designer’s aesthetic and this Sania Maskatiya Al Karam collaboration certainly is.


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Maskatiya managed to showcase lawn in a way that was not a bore


As for the show itself, showing lawn is always tricky on the ramp. Sania pulled it off with an upbeat presentation using fast music and trendy cuts, throwing a few conventional shalwar kameez in the mix. She fashioned the lawn into jackets, kaftans and draped tunic, using the sort of cuts that are a hallmark of her pret. It’s not how most people wear lawn but it was a great way to show off the prints on the ramp.


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Cybil Chowdhry does this yellow outfit justice


Naushaba Brohi’s Inaaya burst onto the fashion scene last year with a spectacular collection. Following up on a dramatic debut is difficult but Naushaba proved that she is not a one hit wonder with this collection. Inaaya’s SS15 collection continued with the theme of using traditional Sindhi crafts in contemporary wear. Naushaba used both touches of Rilli and some stunning mirror work in her collection.

What makes Inaaya noteworthy is the way that she takes unsung traditional crafts that we’ve seen badly used and gives them a high fashion twist. Standout pieces included a bolero with unusual mirror work and a rilli sari that glittered with tiny flashes of mirrors.


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Simple but packed with subtle punch, Inaaya's collection was praiseworthy


Although the collection included many beautiful outfits, there was a lack of focus. The simple tunic with a rilli dupatta didn’t work with knotted purple evening wear jacket. The inability to make a definitive statement let down an otherwise accomplished collection.

Naushaba added a characteristic touch at the end of her show. She’s committed to social responsibility and supports local craftswomen with her brand. Accordingly, Inaaya’s showstopper was Mashal Chaudri of the Reading Room Project along with Naushaba’s daughter Inaaya. She held up a plaque saying “I teach therefore I can” while Inaaya wore a T-Shirt with the slogan “super role model”.


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Naushaba's collection is named after her daughter, Inaaya who also walked the ramp


HSY brought the evening to a close with a high-speed presentation of his Hi-Octance menswear collection. The unusual choreography featured the models zipping along the catwalk, pausing briefly on their second round. The energetic presentation complemented a collection of sharp suits and jackets, leavened with quirky polka dot shirts and bold stripy ties.


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The men looked slick in HSY wear


There was the requisite shirtless model in distressed jeans and an ice-blue jacket but also some appealing suiting fabrics. HSY used only Pakistani fabrics and included solid colours as well as self-checked and striped suits. This was wearable, classy menswear presented creatively.

Day 3 was undoubtedly the best day of TFPW so far. Iman Ahmed undoubted takes the laurels but she was ably supported by HSY, Wardha Saleem, Inaaya, Sania Maskatiya and YBQ.

All pictures courtesy of the talented Tapu Javeri.

This piece by chief editor Salima Feerasta was first seen at Dawn.com.

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