Adnan Pardesy, Bunto Kazmi, Rizwan Beyg, Sana Safinaz and Tarun Tahiliani show their winter 2008 collections
Fashion caters only to the elite. This rings true especially at a time when the global economy is struggling with post-war and post-financial crisis depression. Closer to home, on the one hand where the locals are wrought with extended loadshedding and inflated food prices amongst other things, on the other hand we`re headed towards one fashion show after another that showcases resplendent outfits that at times sell for more than a person`s monthly income.
This isn`t meant to guilt-trip those fortunate enough to splurge — it`s just interesting the way such ironies exist. Fashion, the world over, exists in a well-protected bubble of beauty, style and innovation for whoever can afford it. World events at the most affect to “inspire” designers to create “statement” collections that, ironically again, only the highest bidder can afford.
It was this very bubble that one stepped into when going to view collections by four of the biggest names in the South Asian fashion industry, along with a relatively newer one who has fast begun to establish himself as a force to reckon with. Ensemble, the fashion house that stocks collections by almost every other major designer in Pakistan and India combined, hosted yet another one of their shows showcasing winter 2008 collections by Sana Safinaz, Rizwan Beyg, Bunto Kazmi (for the first time on a Pakistani ramp), Indian designer Tarun Tahiliani and newcomer Adnan Pardesy. That the latter was chosen to showcase alongside well-established names clearly shows his standing with the designers working in the industry.
In a splash of colour and airy volume, the collection by Sana Safinaz opened the night with a delightful bang. With empire waists, halter necks and skillfully cut skirts on dresses that ranged from an amalgamation of prints to singular bold colours in lime-green, orange, deep red and blue, the duo`s collection came with an attitude that was as celebratory as it could possibly get. With these colours of spring, the Sana Safinaz woman celebrated the return of a self-assured and vibrant femininity.
Iraj who opened the collection by Adnan Pardesy still reigns as the queen of the ramp. With a collection in simple black and white — the white predominantly being the hundreds of yards of fabric painstakingly woven into honeycombs over a grueling period of several months — Adnan Pardesy`s collection seemed like an extension of the one he launched with at the Karachi Fashion Week, but on a different level.
With a singular African drum beating to a slow crescendo, Iraj walked almost in a doll-like manner, with the same still expression and cocked her head to the side when she turned to give her final pose before she left. The models were styled with neat but knotted hair and knee-length white socks and black school-girl shoes. There was white honeycomb on a dress, skirt, lining the borders of a coat... in short there was honeycomb everywhere. Interestingly, the models were told backstage that they could not sit in these outfits.
What`s pleasing about Adnan`s work is that with each collection he has something new to offer and every little detail including the styling is customised to suit what would define the look best. However, on the flip side, with the monotony in colour (black and white only) and concept (honeycombs) it tended to drag on towards the end. The designer, who thinks he has made enough of a statement with his previous two collections, now intends to work on his prÃªt-a-porter ensemble.
The designer for the designers, Rizwan Beyg showed a small capsule collection in complete black and white as well. With Dilbar blaring from the speakers, Nadya Hussain opened the collection in a white turban, a train trailing behind her, white tights and black go-go boots. Rizwan`s models were painstakingly styled to the minutest details and carried delicate black net hand fans, wore heels done up in the manner of gladiator sandals, arm-bands customised to suit the outfit and what not.
To some, the collection was similar to the flamenco-inspired one that he had shown at the last Carnivale de Couture in 2006. However, it can also be argued that if a designer has a certain style that dominates his/her work, there are going to be some similar elements. The question is whether the designer has managed to innovate and design within the parameters of how he/she does it. Having said that, the clothes were impeccably finished with the models often playing around with the volume.
Taking the ramp for the first time, Bunto Kazmi showed her collection which started off very well. Her models sported patiala shalwars (worn backwards) with a front-open overcoat with improvised gara embroidery that displayed motifs from peacocks to horses with Mughal-era men and dolis... some of it infused in paisley embroidery one normally sees on Kashmiri shawls. The colour palette of her collection ranged from a rich turquoise, pink, red, brown, black to beige. During the second half of her showing she moved into clothes that seemed more traditional and more commercial, an example of which was the top-to-bottom glittering light turquoise sari modelled by Nadya Hussain which caught the eye at first, but failed to hold interest for long.
For the life of me I cannot understand why Tarun Tahiliani`s collection was shown that night. The clothes seemed too simple and off-the-rack, and simply did not gel with the rest of the collections shown that night — skinny jeans, a denim miniskirt over which were simple, stripe-patterned blue, turquoise and red shirts to a delicate, double-shaded pink pumpkin dress worn with tan go-go boots(?). Tarun`s collection also had a matte-coloured red sari and a triple-shaded one in blue, white and red which, otherwise good pieces of work, failed to (forget about dazzling the viewer) even sparkle.