The big guns at Islamabad Fashion Week

IFW has managed to gather an interesting, if eclectic, talent pool for its couture shows.

Hani Taha January 27, 2011

LAHORE: The line up for the Islamabad Fashion Week evening shows reserved for fashion’s select few have already met with censure. Why just Ammar Belal, House of Kamiar Rokni, Chand and Chunni (Rehana and Shakil) Saigol and Nilofer Shahid? Why not the king of couture HSY (Hassan Sheheryar Yasin) or the emblem of sophistication Sana Safinaz?

The fashion fraternity is rife with reports that all designers were approached but given the perceived credibility (or lack thereof) of the Islamabad Fashion Week (IFW) and hence, only a few agreed. Additionally given their collective fatigue from the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week in November followed by the Bridal Couture Week (BCW), one feels that IFW has managed to gather an interesting, if eclectic, talent pool for its couture shows. “The fashion week gets a whole breath of work with the classic, old guards like Nilofer and bridals by Chunni, perfect fusion by Kami and a left wing and young (maverick) like me,” said Belal.

Each of the five designers participating in the evening shows has confirmed one thing though: they are taking part because of stylist Tariq Amin and his unrelenting support to each of them during their careers nascent stages. “He’s never failed me. He’s part of the family”, says Chunni Saigol while Shahid and Belal recounted the myriad ways the stylist has helped them in their growth as designers.

Yet personal relationships aside, one feels that these five designers are safe bets who are guaranteed to appease the foreign press and diplomatic audience that shall form the bulk of the evening shows. Also keeping the trade aspect in mind, these big guns are amongst the rare breed of designers who have functioning manufacturing units capable of delivering orders to local and foreign buyers on time.

With this group the international press and diplomatic community gets to see four different parts of Pakistan. In this sense, the first half of the day of the event will focus on the trade aspect centring on mass retailers like Lawrencepur and Bonanza that are a depiction of Pakistan’s street wear, while the latter half of the evenings will be a cultural show representing the gamut of traditions and craft that Pakistan has to boast.

From the fashion aspect, it would be interesting to see the husband and wife duo, Chunni and Chand Saigol, collaborate on a collection together given that their general design aesthetic is at opposite ends of the spectrum. “It is a complete departure from Chand’s work,” admits Chunni who is known for her bridals and heavy embellishment on formal traditional attire but is looking forward to “jolting a few conventional grooms”. The collection will focus on a play of colours that Chunni said, “Sophisticated Pakistani women are afraid of. The more sophisticated they are the more they turn to beige and shunt colour.”

Nilofer Shahid will be closing the fashion week with a finale that shall be retrospective of her work over the years. “This collection is not for the buyers,” said Shahid candidly. “It is just a round up for the fashion week as a cultural experience.” Akin to Shahid’s collection at BCW, she will be showcasing pieces from her Paris exhibitions as well as her Umar Khayam, Khalil Jibran and Noor Jehan collections.

Perhaps the most exciting shows will be by Ammar Belal and Kamiar Rokni, both designers known for their highly creative and extraordinary presentations. While Belal’s aesthetic is outlandish and cool, Rokni is known for fusing indigenous tradition giving it a western twist. “I am showing my most wearable collection to date. It carries the silhouettes from my New York collection but is done entirely in white for the power women in Pakistan’s corporate spheres,” explained Belal.

“We are (also) doing a ‘Repertoire’ of the House of Kamiar Rokni showcasing essentially a repertoire of all our work from our bridals and formal wears to our pret and couture. It is also our first foray into men’s wear,” says Rokni who promises that his ethnic men’s wear will be ‘fun’.

The show kicked off yesterday at Islamabad Serena Hotel.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2011.


kilian | 10 years ago | Reply sorry mr kamran - don't tell me who we are! we happen to be in the fashion business as well...! so we will be there! who are you?
Kamran | 10 years ago | Reply No Killian, you need'nt be! fashion weeks are generally not for public, they are for few select people i.e. the media, the buyers and the fashion critiques and you are neither. so stay put at your workplace or home
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