It took them over two years, a truck load of paperwork and legalities and last minute date and venue changes to finally bring back Fashion Pakistan Week at full throttle.
From April 7 to 10, the council that prides itself for initiating the fashion week culture — popularly referred to as the Karachi Council — hopes to differentiate itself from other fashion events via “content”. The council has certainly managed a coup by getting Bunto Kazmi to open the week alongside other bigwigs like Sana Safinaz and Umar Sayeed plus an assortment of promising young designers like Sanam Chaudhri and Sanam Agha. But while one must wait for the week to unfold to see whether or not FP manages to match the expectations, here’s a sneak peek into what’s in store.
“Will people stop asking me about my collection,” requests a flustered Bunto Kazmi. “I’m a revivalist not a designer. I make couture, that is made-to-order. How can I design a collection?,” says Kazmi rhetorically. She’s done only four shows in her 30 years of work and despite the fashion explosion in recent times, there is a strong probability that you won’t see her grace the ramp again. “I have had to borrow pieces from my clients to do this show,” asserts Bunto. While she is renowned for her bridals, it is her romance with shawls, tapestries and wall panels that drives her these days. And to prove that she is more than a mere bridal and trousseau designer, she’s showing her interpretation of the Nauroze shawl that captures a Mughal coronation in its regal pomp and glory.
Till she had showcased at Fashion Pakistan Week two years ago, Shehla Chatoor was a name that fell into the pool of aunties churning beautiful bridals from their home. An array of sexy draped dresses and a showcase later, Chatoor catapulted into fashion fame as a designer with immense dexterity to straddle both the East and the West with equal panache. “I wanted to show both the eastern and the western sensibilities and demonstrate the balance that I have managed to achieve as a designer to do both,” spoke Chatoor of her collection which is aptly titled the ‘Spring Equinox’. While previously Chatoor had steered clear of prints and had opted for solids for her western, luxury pret lines, at FP3 she’s attempting to bring in elements of traditional prints with detailing such as fringes, chains, mukesh, sequins and exotic leather.
There was hardly a collection as ubiquitous as Shamaeel’s miniature Mughal prints from FP2, which dominated the fashion scene two years ago. From weddings, soirees to even fashion events, there was no escaping that classic-jewelled neckline and Mughal prints that became Ansari’s hallmark. “The Mughal art is so over now,” dismisses Ansari herself. “I felt that I needed a departure from what I do without losing my hallmark as a designer. Hence, this time we are taking our signature theme of heritage and mixing it with edgy-cool to showcase a radical collection.” Ansari’s latest collection titled ‘Bouquet’ focuses on spring and is rather fresh in its colour palette and overall look.
On the ramp, he’s known for his flamboyance and theatrics, but off the ramp, you can trust him with a vibrant bridal. But at FP3, Nomi Ansari intends to make a departure from both. “I’m not doing anything avant-garde. All the costumes from previous shows are just hanging in my office,” he says. “This time around, I’m making a very pret-savvy and economical line that can be dressed up or down,” reveals Ansari. The colour palette, however, is very Nomi: a bit of neons and super bright hues for spring.
While the sister duo Aneeqa Cheema and Salma Lehsaan have been making funky fusion desi wear for a foreign market for a few years now, FP3 will be their debut show in Pakistan. Their brand, Baani D, focuses on moulding traditional prints such as ajrak according to the demands of a foreign clientele. For their first ramp collection, the duo is taking Fashion Pakistan’s concept of high street to heart and creating lots of separates that retain heritage cuts but are modern enough to be worn on the ramp as well as on the streets. “We’ve got all the provincial signatures together and mixed them for a world fusion,” says Cheema about their collection.
Other designers participating in Pakistan Fashion Week 3
Zaid Bashir (Kuki)
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2012.