Deja vu: Designer collections at fashion week seem all too inspired

After a lacklustre showing on the first day, PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week didn’t pick up steam on the second.

Hani Taha November 12, 2010

KARACHI: After a lacklustre showing on the first day, PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week didn’t pick up steam on the second. The line-up left much to be desired, save for the Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design graduates who showed innovative pieces. The more established names in the industry provided an audacious Xerox effect of acclaimed designs.

A lacklustre presentation by Asifa and Nabeel opened the evening’s affairs. The duo have yet to present a collection that can be taken seriously and even show stoppers Shehzad Roy and Hadiqa Kiani couldn’t salvage the show with their collective star power.

Nida Azwer’s collection seemed to be a rehash of her previous collections with the same civilisation and Chinese motifs. It may be time to lay these ancient cultures to rest. Azwer needs to emerge from her comfort zone of anghrakhas, kimonos and panelled shirts. Frightfully enough, there was an oversized top that looked like the lost upper half of a lingerie pyjama set.

Elan’s Khadija Shah showed a variety of gowns in plain satin and crushed fabric. Her show, with her signature understated embellishment, featured French music in the background and one could tell this was a collection that may have been inspired by her recent sojourns to Paris. That one could glimpse Sana Safinaz, Ayesha F Hashwani and Elie Saab in the collection didn’t help.

Zara Shahjahan visited the 1960s in a collection that focused on short hemlines and narrow kameezes replete with long plaits and colourful hoops earrings. It was dedicated to her grandmother, the actor Husna. The glorious melodies of the age that played during the show, such as “Ko Ko Korina” brightened up the mood as many lip-synced and swayed to the music. While one must applaud Shahjahan for moving away from the overdone long, flowing silhouette, the collection was a tad monotonous.

Jumpsuits look set to reign next season as Muse and Libas both featured it in their collections. The former’s collection seemed entirely dedicated to this style.

An absolute lack of inventiveness characterised the Libas collection which was eerily reminiscent of Maria B’s show at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week this February, down to the styling. The Libas’ show’s saving grace was the showstopper - a Thalassaemia patient Khadija Saleem Surani, whose dream to walk the ramp was made possible by the Make a Wish foundation.

Muted panic

News of a bomb blast in Karachi jolted everyone at fashion week out of their reverie. Like a domino effect, the phones came out, the frantic messaging began and people began fleeing the scene while a disconcerted group of the international media gathered around Nuscie Jamil and Alexendra Senes to discuss their plan of action. There were a few furrowed brows but they ceased quickly. Senes was quick to reassure that they were not panicking but yes their families and friends back home were worried.

News of the blast also caused panic as models, designers and the international media were, as Karma’s Maheen Kardar put it, ‘homeless’.  With no option to get to their hotel, the fashionable contingent had to stay at the event venue. It may have also made for frayed nerves - rumour has it two models got into quite a cat fight with backstage and exchanged slips.


“Ammi I can’t come home! My shoes are at the hotel!”

A designer attempting to reassure her mother calling from Lahore

“Ab humara kia hoga?”

A distressed model after the show

Style quotient

Alexendra Senes personalised her Kamiar Rokni Spring/Summer 2009 outfit with a mustard belt and blue tights


When asked if the Pakistan Fashion Design Council thought continuing with the event was an advisable idea, given the bomb blast, and why, the council responded: “The show must go on and we believe resilience and strong security measures will mean us continuing with fashion week. Our objectives are clear and we are firmly resolved to take a stand and allow the industry to function as positively as possible for a better future for the country. We will lead the fashion front forward as long as we can continue to provide complete safety and security to everyone involved and attending. Our hearts go out to all the bereaved families who have lost their loved one in the tragedy yesterday.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2010.


Shemrez Nauman Afzal | 11 years ago | Reply Aw. I don't think you should be mean to the designers who are trying really hard and still put up a show, especially with what the country is going through. Having much to be desired is a good thing, especially as far as fashion and development of culture goes. Without plays and concerts, if you don't have fashion shows and exhibitions, all you have left is conferences and annual general meetings. Now, I'm neither an expert nor a critic, but I do suggest that instead of taking the steam out of Nida Azwer, Khadija Shah, Zara Shahjahan and Libas, you could instead suggest what they should have done, and how the crowd's response to their new ideas (as you outline and so eloquently rephrase in your article) could have been swung in a different - and more positive - direction...? However, as far as fashion articles go, this one is very nicely written. Especially the last section. Lets hope they show you some pizazz in their next two days?
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