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Invogue: Bad Romance with fashion

April 18, 2010


Fashion Pakistan recently held Fashion Pakistan Week (FPW 2) for Autumn/Winter 2010. The first FPW held in November 2009 carried with it a wave of optimism and the feeling of something new after the council members returned from showing at one of the top four fashion weeks in the world, Milan Fashion Week.

Emerging from the fashion-Taliban stereotype and moving beyond the initial atmosphere of a fresh beginning, FPW 2 was a more mature event. Quantity, however, does not always guarantee quality as most of the collections shown failed to make an impact. Having said that, collection editing must take place since it is extremely exhausting sitting through a five-day affair, 52 designer collections, most of which were mediocre at best.

FPW 2 brought forward the good, bad and the ugly. Veteran designer Rizwan Beyg, who had taken charge of the backstage area, mentioned that “Let young designers show, learn from their mistakes and come back stronger next time.” That aside, the council could consider, perhaps, setting an “experience” criteria in a similar (not identical) manner as is the norm abroad where designers need to have shown their collections on the ramp a certain number of times before participating in a fashion week. Keeping in mind the limited platforms available to emerging designers, FP could perhaps create a rule for emerging designers to show a capsule collection in a group show till the designer is mature enough to have his/her own slot.

One refreshing thing about FPW 2 was that although they had a small list of sponsors, attendees were not inundated by either the logo of the sponsor brands in every conceivable nook and corner of the venue or a series of advertisements shown on the screens prior to each show.

Although one could see definite movement in the direction of certain styles being adopted in the fashion week (the dhoti shalwar, drop-crotch pants, churidar pajama, fine pleating, jumpsuit) but on an overall level, fashion trends need to come together and be more consistent.

The long, A-line shirt, loose/straight pants is a style that has been around for well over two years now. In the last FPW designers showed a tendency of concentrating more on the shalwar by reintroducing trends that were popular in the '80s and paired them with shorter shirts for both men and women. This showed a movement towards a newer trend in fashion. Unfortunately, FPW 2 on an overall level tended to shift back to the old trends of the long, loose shirt and the baggy pants.

The best male model award went to Noor Hasan and the best female model went to Mehreen Syed.

Where both of them might be good print models in their own right, they lack presence on the ramp as they do not have a strong walk. Mehreen, in fact, has bad posture, preferring to thrust her hip forward in awkward manner and keeping one expression frozen on her face while walking. Noor Hasan on the other hand, seems slightly introverted and it's visible in his body language and expressions.

On the other hand male models such as Abdullah, Iffy and Mohammad rule the ramp. In the female category Nadya Hussain, Cybill and new model Amna Illyas shone on the ramp whenever they made an appearance. Iraj Manzoor, however, was sorely missed this season.

Music on the ramp

Alexander McQueen found a muse in Lady Gaga, design costumes in her music videos and also premiere her song, Bad Romance, on the runway during his fashion shows. Most of the designers showing at FPW 2 had the same idea. It seemed that her songs Bad Romace, Poker Face and Love Games played on loop for the season.

Another music feature that repeatedly made an appearance is mujra music — a mixture of tabla, sitar and ghungroo sounds. Ali Zeeshan in the PFDC-Sunsilk Fashion Week featured this music during his collection and the trend was picked up by quite a few designers on the ramp in FPW 2.

Conclusion The fashion industry, as we know it, is on the threshold of change. Never before have there been such platforms available to designers, both emerging and established, that comes with both international coverage and the presence of foreign buyers/stockists. Keeping that in mind, it will take time for our local market to develop — at least five years of doing consistent shows. With the PFDC Boulevard in both Lahore and Karachi catering to PFDC designer members, FP is also opening up a Fashion Pakistan Lounge in Lahore and Karachi that will provide exhibition space to their members and other participants in the fashion week.

It should be mentioned here that there are more markets to explore beyond just Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Designers have recently begun to make their presence felt in Faisalabad, but there are also an untapped markets in Gujranwala, Hyderabad and Peshawar (among others) as well.