FPW 2018 Day 1 – Review
When fashion is weak, styling is strong. The prophetic words of my Italian fashion professor rang true in my ears as I watched the show at FPW. With an overwhelming number of fashion weeks swarming our calendars, the offerings have become diluted and forgettable. For Fashion Pakistan Week Spring/Summer 2018, designers relied heavily on either social causes, or excessive styling to stand out. Much thought was put into presentation and relevance but little in the actual creative process of designing a cohesive and strong collection.
Fashion has come to stand for showmanship and marketing gimmicks versus a celebration of craft, creativity and ingenuity. As bloggers and clients alike tend to harbour attention spans of goldfish, designers are desperate to attach themselves to a celebrity or a cause that resonates with the public. While each collection had some redeeming pieces at FPW 2018, the show was more about the social ethos and promotional antics than fashion design.
Gulabo by Maheen Khan – FPW Opener
FPW Day 1 opened with Gulabo by Maheen Khan, a designer whom we have come to love for her vivaciously patriotic aesthetic. This time, she championed liberation and environmental responsibility. Slogans like ‘no water, no life,’ and ‘save the earth,’ were vibrantly displayed across her animated collection. Maheen set the tone for social accountability: a theme that reappeared across most collections this year.
Gogi by Hassan Riaz
Gogi by Hassan Riaz was unapologetically flamboyant and had nothing to do with child labour – a cause the designer championed in his opening remarks. The collection had some redeeming separates but overall it felt too much like a graduation show at fashion school. It was loud, unnecessarily outrageous, and fantastical. Gogi can work wonders as a costume designer, but he must refine his aesthetic if he hopes to make it as a leading name in Pakistani fashion.
FNKASIA by Huma Adnan
Huma Adnan’s FNKASIA stood out at FPW because of the gorgeous jewellery, handmade by refugee women seeking asylum in Pakistan. Her breezy summer silhouettes served as a mere canvas: perhaps deliberately kept simple to draw attention to the statement necklaces and bold earrings.
Amir Adnan’s generous use of velvet in summer was forgiven because of his use of 6 differently-abled models. The brilliant initiative symbolized the vast potential for ‘conscious and socially relevant’ fashion. We would have appreciated Adnan’s inclusive vision even more had he mixed the professional models with the specially-abled ones. However, the latter simply walking the ramp at the beginning of his show.
Gharara Pants by Yasmeen Jiwa
Yasmeen Jiwa’s debut showcase was a seductive mix of eastern techniques with western sensibilities. Some pieces, in particular, were brilliant. The sheer Gharara pants for contemporary evening wear, a shimmery bustier paired with a high-waisted cancan-like skirt, and a particularly sultry lungi-sari silhouette deserve special mention. The collection was first shown at Paris Fashion week, This explained its rather international feel.
Real Women by Cheena Chhapra
The concept of body-positivity is booming in the west. As one of Pakistan’s few body activists, I was delighted by Cheena Chhapra’s bold decision of featuring ‘real women’ on the ramp at FPW. Yet, every silhouette was over-sized, as if encouraging bodacious women to cover their bodies instead of celebrating them. I would have loved to see models of all ages. Body diversity and self-love is a message that must particularly be ingrained in millennials. The showcase itself lacked the oomph we have come to expect from runway collections.
Pink Tree by Mohsin Syed
Pink Tree by Mohsin Syed was charmingly simple and instantly wearable. The designer forgoed the need to champion a social cause to carry his collection. Instead, he channelled the festivity of “Chand Raat” with traditional silhouettes reminiscent of the golden era of Bollywood legends like Nargis and Madhubala.
Grand Finale by FTA – FPW Day 1
The grand finale for FPW Day 1 was presented by the brilliant mother-daughter duo of Farah Talib Aziz and Maliha Aziz. FTA’s Collection was fit for a local Blair Waldorf. It was complete with the pearly headbands, feminine pastels and pretty lace. Each model held a flower, as if to symbolize the delicate yet subtly alluring power of the FTA woman. The collection was beautifully edited and referenced signature design elements that are synonymous with FTA. We were treated to some flirty frills, rosy palettes, and delicate floral prints. We don’t doubt the commercial success and wearability of the offerings, but the collection felt clichéd. It was too safe – a tried and tested formula of prettiness that always works for FTA. We would love to see some creative variance in future collections.
In conclusion, each designer had remarkable potential. But if Pakistani fashion is ever to reach the international stage, more thought needs to be dedicated to designing and less to putting on a show.
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