Fashion puts its worst foot forward


May 27, 2010

KARACHI: Like all bubbles, this too, was meant to burst.

Followers of Pakistani fashion - stylists, critics, designers, socialites and buyers - have been enthused for the past few months at the number of creative designers who have emerged on the scene. Retail sales have picked up, enough to encourage retailers to expand their stores and broaden their horizons, and designers have made a stronger effort with every showing.

But the bubble burst last week at the bi-annual Veet Celebration of Beauty show, with a plethora of designers whose collections simply disappointed.

Sana and Safinaz inspired luxury pret? Check. Garish bridal ensembles that only belong in an atelier, being shown to a matriarch with a gold credit card and a desire to outfit her soon-to-be daughter-in-law in bad clothes? Check. A repeat of fashion week collections? Check. Animal print? Check.

The collections being trotted out led one to believe that designers had merely decided to send the remnants of their ateliers and showcase these as a ‘celebration of beauty’. Even though the night was meant to also celebrate the new models Veet had handpicked through a model search - some of whom are rather promising and a welcome addition to the roster of Pakistani models - it was a pity that this was their introduction to fashion.

So what was so bad about the night?

When designers such as Nilofer Shahid - a celebrated queen of couture - disappoint, it is never a good sign. Shahid’s collection had no focus, and she chose to do western wear, which ended up as a collection of ill-fitted dresses with fabric detailing that seemed to have been added on as an afterthought. Even musician Shehzad Roy’s performance during the runway show could not distract one from the train wreck being presented.

Designer duo Nickie and Nina were the worst offenders of the night, whose ‘Lily of the Valley’ collection seemed entirely taken from Sana Safinaz’s look book of luxury prêt with embellishment.

Maria B managed to salvage the night to some extent, choosing to show cotton ensembles that toed the line between resort wear and outfits for the kitty party crowd. The collection had a theme, a colour palette that would work in the sub continental summer, and it was accessorised well.

The other non-offender of sorts was Zaheer Abbas, who while also showed a repeat of his Fashion Pakistan Week collection, bore enough promise. If more attention had been paid to the finishing of the clothes it would have been a resounding hit.

That said, the Veet Celebration of Beauty show at least had a few other smaller hits. The lighting was impeccable, as was the hairstyling by Sabs. But that do not make for a fashion show, least of all, a ‘celebration’.

Off the runway

The buzz at the event: Mahira Khan, sporting a t-shirt from Ammar Belal’s last collection, has just finished work on her first film, Shoaib Mansoor’s Bol, while Komal Rizvi is excited about her next video, which will be directed by Amna Khan.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 28th, 2010.

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