KARACHI: Fashion Pakistan Week has entered its third day since the its opulent opening in Karachi on Tuesday night with ten designers showing on the first day.
Featuring 52 designers over a space of 5 days, the opening night was - as expected - a crush of the city’s fashionistas, elite and even a smattering of politicians. With a heavy entourage of designers (Nomi Ansari, Kamiar Rokni, Deepak Perwani, Rizwan Beyg, Maheen Khan, Faiza Samee, Sanam Agha, Umar Sayeed, Adnan Pardesy, Rehana Saigol and Ather Hafeez), the three retail buyers (Labels’ Zahir Rahimtoola, Ensemble’s Zeba Husain and The Designers’ Asad Tareen) and L’Oreal brand representatives (Juggan Kazim and Meesha Shafi), as well as former MPA Fariha Razzaq Haroon and writer Sadia Shepherd in attendance, the event, on paper, had all the right ingredients.
But the collections were extremely weak. Starting with menswear is never a good idea - and Shakeel Saigol’s grey and black menswear collection proved that even more. The kurtas with zebra stripes (utterly kitsch and done-todeath) did not leave any impact, but the gladiator-themed helmets were the sole saving grace. Surprisingly, it was the unknowns and oft-overlooked names at the event - Shehla Rehman (whose white and silver lame pants were brilliant), Zaheer Abbas (whose debut collection featured ghungroos) and Rabia (a UAE-based designer) - who were the highlights of the night. Abbas’ chiffon and ghungroo mix made for an impressive debut but could be honed further.
Rabia’s ‘Gulfie teen chic’, layered headscarves with slouchy jumpsuits and harem pants, was extremely good (one hopes she gets a stocking order in Pakistan) but the raised eyebrows of front-row fashionistas at seeing headscarves on the runway proves that a disdain for covering up still exists.
The night, however, belonged to Sana Safinaz. The latter half of the show felt like a long prelude to what Karachiites were really there to see: the designer duo’s clothes on the runway.
The women sparked a madness of sorts with their lawn collection this year and one expected fans of the label to start ripping off clothes from the runway itself. It did not disappoint, even if it was not anything new. The designs were similar to what they stocked at Ensemble in Karachi and Lahore for spring/summer 2009 and so while being showily beautiful, it was not anything groundbreaking.
Questions of the night
What are bags doing on the runway?
Fashion Pakistan must learn to cut accessory-specific shows out and merge with other designers.
Why are the shows not edited?
Each show could have been cut down by at least five outfits and some designers were just plain terrible. Fashion Pakistan CEO Ayesha Tammy Haq told The Express Tribune in response, “But we cannot decide who should show and who should not!” But when asked why the schedule forced attendees to sit through 10 shows a night, she said, “Well, people want to sit through the entire event and they want to see everything!” Probably true, given the hype in social circles about what really is a rather boring event.
Can you spit your gum out?
Dr Shaista Wahidy, the morning show host for ARY TV, walked as a show-stopper for designer Monia Farooqui - and did not stop chewing gum throughout.
What was a cat doing on the runway?
During Ali Zeeshan’s show, Nadia Hussain walked out with a terrified kitten in her arms as an ‘accessory’. Shocked by the blaring music and the incessant camera flashes, the cat tried to make an escape and almost ended up clawing the leggy model.
Overheard at fashion week
“Of course people will dress up for all five nights... bohat faarigh qaum hai!” - A catty fashion editor
“People are so nice here!” - Malaysian designer Eric Chong
Things to look forward to:
Malaysian designer Eric Chong’s show on Wednesday
The two celebrities who will walk the ramp for Sanam Agha on Thursday
Couturier Umar Sayeed’s show on Friday
Model and actor Ayesha Toor reportedly opening for Fayez Agariah on Wednesday
Shehla Rehman for Unbeatable
Ayesha Tahir for Limited Editions