In Fashion: The affair of the ‘Supermodel’

Published November 2, 2014
Photography: Mohammad Farooq
Photography: Mohammad Farooq

Modeling contests are generally glamorous affairs, gilded by an illuminated catwalk, spotlighted by the whirr of media cameras and adorned by smatterings of leggy, sultry modeling hopefuls. When Veet, in its ninth year of ‘celebrating beauty’, fluttered out its pink carpet for the Miss Supermodel 2014 Grand Finale, one expected to be razzled and dazzled by a show that riveted the audience in attendance as well as the viewers who would eventually see it on TV.

Veet’s finale event was replete with more misses than hits with the celebrity quotient at an all-time low. The 12 modeling finalists were there but they hardly brought on the oomph given that they were dressed in gowns that ranged from too blingy to bearable.

In comparison, more easy on the eyes were the event judges: Tapu Javeri, HSY, Vaneeza Ahmad and Saba Ansari; and this season’s modeling mentors Cybil Choudhry and Sabina Pasha. The third mentor, Amna Ilyas, was absent since she was out of the country for work.


The closest thing we have to a pageant in Pakistan, the Veet Miss Supermodel Grand Finale had more misses than hits this year


The rest of the glitterati included a somewhat thin smattering of designers and celebrities. One spotted designers Amir Adnan, Huma Adnan and Wardha Saleem with brother Nubain Ali, actors Aijazz Aslam and Khaled Anam, Anoushey Ashraf and Mathira Mohammed and Tehmina Khaled, managing the event’s PR. But where were the hot and happening stars and the decked-up socialites that had hitherto flocked to the pink carpet? For a long time, Frieha Altaf had orchestrated the product brand’s events and had pulled out all stops to bring on the glamour. Now that she is no longer in the picture, it seems it may take some time for the cogwheels to spur on again.

Hitches and glitches

The judges: Tapu Javeri, Vaneeza, HSY and Saba Ansari
The judges: Tapu Javeri, Vaneeza, HSY and Saba Ansari

One actually missed the repartee between the hosts of last year’s event. Azfar Rehman and Aamina Sheikh, styled to perfection by the show’s then Creative Director Nabila Maqsood, had cracked jokes and made jibes. Wiqar Ali Khan, instead, droned on with his self-congratulatory odes to the product and its many contributions.

Ali Azmat and Zoe Viccaji both performed on stage but while Ali’s an icon and Zoe looks great while carrying a tune, the two were also part of last year’s show. A bit of innovation wouldn’t have hurt as TV audiences are smart, increasingly fickle and easily bored.

The models dressed by Zaheer Abbas for the hair and make-up show by Sabs looked pretty enough, but a show dedicated to styling should present diverse looks and push the envelope ever-so-slightly. With greater creativity, this segment could have been so much more interesting.


Ali Azmat and Zoe Viccaji both performed on stage but while Ali’s an icon and Zoe looks great while carrying a tune, the two were also part of last year’s show. A bit of innovation wouldn’t have hurt.


Fashion showcases featuring a mixed bag of Sania Maskatiya’s luxury-pret and Umar Sayeed’s wedding formals were flawed by threads running loose, belts left un-notched and wraps buttoned up incorrectly for Sania’s show. Meanwhile, some of Umar Sayeed’s necklines plunged deep, quite evidently oversized for the average-sized models wearing them.

  Ali Azmat
Ali Azmat

The selection of 12 finalists was, ultimately, a glaring error. Too hefty, too short, too old, too unwieldy on the catwalk and one, even too Botox-ed … although there were a few promising contenders. What were mentors Amna Ilyas, Cybil Chowdhry and Sabina Pasha thinking when they shortlisted these girls? And why was Sabina Pasha chosen as a mentor in the first place, with her repertoire is hardly as illustrious or as consistent as that of the other two models?

 Zoe Viccaji performs during a segment
Zoe Viccaji performs during a segment

One could have excused the glitches had this been the brand’s very first tryst with modeling. Young, new models have been brought in by the brand in previous years, girls like Sana Sarfaraz, Saima Azhar and Sadaf Kanwal who have gone on to carve careers for themselves. Standards have certainly nosedived.

Models for Pakistan

On the upside, one has to recognize that to date, Veet is the only mainstream platform that grooms and guides prospective models into the fashion industry. As judge Tapu Javeri observed, “The show allows these girls access to designers, photographers and stylists. Slowly, they can begin building their careers and improve with time.”

However, the question remains as to what kind of platform is being provided when it presents a motley crew of hotsteppers who occasionally stumble on the catwalk — in Sania Maskatiya’s easy-breezy cigarette pants, no less — and barely fulfill the physical requirements for models?

Perhaps the episodes preceding the finale, to be aired on TV, will be more interesting. Judging from the promos, the girls get bedecked in bridals by Ali Xeeshan, run against the clock as their mentors time how long it takes them to get dressed and — in true reality TV style — Amna Ilyas is seen strictly telling a girl, “Ab aap roein mat!” (Now don’t start crying).

A grandiose, well-planned grand finale would have done justice to Veet’s nearly decade-long Celebrations of Beauty — otherwise, why bother at all?

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, November 2nd, 2014

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