The 3rd Pakistan Fashion Week held in London earlier this month saw a host of almost forty designers from various style genres showcase their works. While the majority focused on traditional wedding formals, probably in keeping with the local demand and the fascination with our native handcrafted embellishments, a few like Maheen Khan, Nomi Ansari, Zaheer Abbas, AFH and Sonya Battla among others pushed the boundaries and brought impressive fusion originals to the forefront.
Maheen Khan’s modern spin on ethnic fusion was probably one of the most creative displays of the two day event. It floated the notion that Pakistani designs are applicable to more than just bridals and classic eastern wear and translated further to a new realm of pret wear that can be sported internationally without being completely absorbed or categorized as western wear. There was not one piece in her collection that we could not imagine being modeled on the streets of London and equally at home. From the truck art prints to the Urdu script and adorable vehicles we were proud of every bit of it and even better were those fresh breezy silhouettes. The outfits were styled brilliantly with signature Gulabo bross body bags and printed scarves for a pure Pakistani desi chic look.
AFH by Ayesha Farook Hashwani
Ayesha Farook Hashwani has always resonated with the cosmopolitan element because of her label’s universal flavours and therefore showcasing in London; a figurative melting pot of cultures, gave Ayesha the freedom to show the essence of AFH in all its glory. Her signature romantic feminine streak, accompanied with a powerful refined confidence, were an abundant feature in the collection. She struck a careful balance between titillating audiences with her peek-a-boo cuts and charming them with soft understated pastels in fluid shapes and eastern embellishments.
Nomi Ansari played the field with his bipolar collection that sharply displayed his specific set of incomparable strengths in the field of classic bridal couture and playing with pattern and colors. We liked that he demonstrated a vivid twist of abstract modern art immersed in deep rooted culture with his powerful digital satin prints that were distinctly memorable. These were followed by a beautiful theme of royalty set in gold and cobalt and detailed with the finest handcrafted traditional embellishments which we’re sure left the audience in a daze. We absolutely love the rustic jewel tones paired with cobalt for winter weddings.
Zaheer Abbas and Sonya Battla both picked off where they had left off at FPW 4 Karachi with their showcases and sensibly so as their fusion pieces had incredible international appeal and even won Zaheer the Etihad Airways award for ‘Most Inspiring Designer of the Year’. The understated baroque embroideries of Zaheer Abbas and the flounce factor that was common to both were the highlights of their collections.
Antique beaten gold embellishments far outshined silver detailing and were the definite preferred choice. Saadia Mirza’s intricate work on rich lamé dripped in gold and bronze was a delight in particular.
The PFW 3 certainly proved that our designers have come a long way in terms of raising standards when it comes to refined embellishments, use of luxury fabrics, and creative tailoring. However we must pursue the effort to carve a niche market for Pakistani export prêt wear abroad and the answer lies in authentic, unique fusion lines as perfectly executed by Maheen Khan. To view the complete collections showcased visit the respective designer’s Profile Page.
Photography: Shahid Malik
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