The eleventh edition of fashion week opened it’s doors yesterday at the all too familiar venue, The expo centre in Lahore. The carpet, the layout, the flow even the Sunsilk booth felt just all too familiar but what changed this time was the lukewarm response by the usual inhabitants that flock into the expo centre with their customary zeal and the un-ignorable flashes projecting from their smart phones, talking to one member of Lahore’s prestigious council, she jokingly remarked that Fashion now is the new gluten in response to the low turnout.
While a lot of the fashion critics were feeling down at the fact that PFDC’s fashion big guns were not present, what was not said was the room they left open for fresh new talent to come forth which mostly does get shoved in the back or lost in-between the pomp and show of the more established fashion brands. Was this a gamble that PFDC intentionally played? If they did, it certainly did pay off. This freshness on the runway came in blazing with new ideas, styles, silhouette and with carefully articulated shows, they roared aloud the future of fashion that will now challenge the present standards of beauty and what it means to be a fashion designer now.
The day started with PEL craft/design show in collaboration with GOLD by Reema Malik that was curated by the chairperson of PFDC Sehyr Saigol herself, showcasing 4 capsule collections by Akif Mehmood, Zonia Anwar, Hamza Bokhari and Shahroz Tariq Khan. A commendable initiative by PFDC in updating our traditional craft and introducing it into the modern world. While all the designers did a fairly decent job, Zonia Anwar’s use of old school Neelak Phulkari and her use of geometric embroidery particularly stood out. What also stood out the most from this show was the use of a trans model Maavia who closed the show for Jeem by Hamza Bokhari, setting history as it was the first time a trans model walked for an official fashion week. Thank you Hamza Bokhari for setting the tone for a modern, diverse and inclusive future.
Hira Ali was another favorite of the day with her collection titled “ Future is female”, this debut star is sure to leave a mark and a definite force to keep an eye out for. The looks were crafted with utmost detail and the silhouettes fresh. Her army of models walked out piercing and the signboards left us applauding this petite young girl that made such a big statement.
Hussain Rehar was clearly the winner of the day. His runway debut was nothing short of spectacular. Hussain Rehar is one of the freshest and aesthetically strongest addition to Lahore fashion geography who has established his name in no time that most still struggle to. The use or aqua and silvers in his show was fresh and exciting. The 3d embellishments had us clapping and glaring. A job well done.
The day is not over until the clouds of disappointments slowly reigned in. Arjumand Bano, with her dated prints, over-designed outfits and frankly comical looks had no reason to be on the ramp last night. Her show in the end felt like some sort of warped fashion humor leaving an awkward taste in everyone’s mouth. We’d suggest her to grab a few copies of vogue and update her fashion palette. It would serve us both good.`
Another collection we felt particularly indifferent towards was of Sania Maskatiya. The collection entirely, from it’s prints to it’s color palette felt rushed through and boring. I guess it is too much to ask for this brand to move away from it’s signature commercialism and present a collection that belongs more on the runway and less on the rack.
Day one of the eleventh edition of PFDC has done one thing right, Lahore and it’s fashion council has pushed it’s platform into an independent fashion conversation where now designers are ready to embrace more progressive and diverse dialogues that will actually catalyze a brighter, more accepting and diverse future for fashion. At this moment, this is the kind of originality and out of the box thinking that all fashion critics should demand and let go of the so called favorites that have kept the runway stagnant and pretentious. We do advice PFDC in our small speck of standing in the industry that such optimism in embracing the new will define fashion in it’s new terms, that it has to do more. Whether it is the use of age old craft, embracing a diverse range if models or just bringing the underground kids to the front row, it is time to dawn in a new era. However originality has always been blurry when it comes to fashion but we can keep ourselves enthusiastic at the thought of seeing how the fresh new faces will define it for themselves and for Pakistani fashion as a whole.