One of the multi-brand outlets on the forefront of this rapid increase in supply and demand is Ensemble. An offshoot of the multi-designer retail house in India (originally founded by designer Tarun Tahiliani) the Pakistan chapter is managed by Zeba Hussain and her daughters, Shehrnaz and Shezray, and stocks collections by both local and Indian designers. They recently relocated it to a new venue in Karachi which has the capacity to stock a larger number of collections.
A fashion show was held at the new premises, but with a twist. Instead of the conventional ramp and models sashaying down the runway, attendees were subjected to a fashion installation at three glass booths at the venue, the models would walk in and pose for several seconds before changing their position till the next outfit change. One booth contained bright pink wheels turning throughout the installation, another had multicoloured horizontal bars and the last contained gold mechanical birds that moved with the wind, gold bird cages in the corner and a regal chair placed inside the installation space as well. The set design for the fashion installations was by Wow Factor, the hair and make-up of the models (clean, dark eye shadow and red, nude and pink lips) was by Saba Ansari of Sabs Salon and choreography by Imran Kureishi.
Umar Sayeed showed a more commercial formal wear line sticking to established trends of peshwaz, choordiar pajama, lose straight pajama, etc, in beige on black embroidery and fully embellished fuchsia pink outfits. When asked about what he took as his inspiration for his collection he said, “Volume.”
Hasan Sheheryar Yasin, Sana Safinaz and Sadaf Malaterre all showed their recent fashion week collections. Hasan showed an extension of the Mumtaz Jehan collection he showed at the PFDC-Sunsilk Fashion week along with Sadaf who showed a collection she dedicated to the memory of her friend and artist/activist, Asim Butt, also previously shown at the same fashion week. Sana Safinaz showed the collection they recently did at the Fashion Pakistan Week 2.
Talking about the inspiration behind her collection, Sadaf Malaterre said it was “bohemian. Like the way I am.” Taking a moment away from giving television interviews, Hasan said, “Our woman is a mother, housewife, working-woman, etc. She has different facets to her personality but that doesn't mean she can't be fashionable. Our Mumtaz Jehan collection caters to that woman.”
Sana Safinaz recently held a successful lawn exhibition in some of the major cities in Pakistan. Their current to-do list also includes launching their collections in Karachi, India, Dubai and London. “We're on a railroad track,” said Sana Hashwani, “we literally came up with the fashion week collection in one week and worked nonstop to make it happen.”
The fashion installation show was a refreshing break from the nonstop runway shows that were the fashion weeks.
The choreography of the event was fun with the models doing a mixture of the typical '70s shocked expressions as well as contorting their body not just individually but often interacting as a pair or a threesome as well. In the displays the models stood in groups of two to three but for Umar Sayeed's finale they all got together in one installation.