For the first time, the just concluded Pakistan Fashion Week, organised by the Pakistan Fashion Design Council, featured major designers from Karachi, as well as Lahore, bringing 46 different brands to the catwalk and forging a new fashion unity. In line with international trends, the catwalk shows put new emphasis on more affordable high street lines, as well as the luxury range.
Pakistan Fashion Week opened in Lahore in a blaze of neon colour and a scenery of prints. Whether using traditional block or screen techniques, or the genius of the digital process, the story was mostly all about print.
Khatijah Shah in her Elan label, took inspiration from the Chinese and Japanese porcelain which her parents reportedly collected, displayed embellished floor-length, wrap-and kaftan-style dresses with brilliant images of cranes, herons, peacocks and carp, and calligraphy.
Sania Maskatiya mixed various prints, merged block and screen techniques and computer graphics in her modern pieces. Dragons and serpents were sighted along with Persian tile motifs and Islamic geometrics, in a series of simple tunics and sleeveless vests with slim, sarong-style skirts, worn open at the side, over a pair of trousers.
Akif Mahmood, a Pakistani designer who showcased at the British Fashion Council’s International Exhibition at London Fashion Week, in February, contrasted dramatic, black-and-white embroidered and striped, traditional, long gowns, with brightly-patterned trousers.
Designer Fahad Hussayn caught the gasp-factor from his audience with his collection of arty headdresses. Hussayn is one of Pakistan’s most avant-garde designers and is famed for elaborate, couture bridal wear.
In his luxury ready-to-wear, however, he lets his fantasies fly. The bird-woman theme was reverberated dramatically in eagle and feather photographic prints, on trouser-suits and long gowns, accessorized with gold.
It was also a night of new designers at the introduction of a New Talent show with focus on particularly digital print.
Lahore’s Ali Xeeshan staged an entire cast dressed in elaborately embroidered and laser-cut, white collection.
HSY used pastels, with full dresses worn over little bloomers tied at the knee. And the Karma Pink collection managed the difficult task of combining The Great Gatsby with elements of Pakistani national attire, the Shalwar Kameez.
Most entertainingly, this fashion week offered a look into a universal collection, all cut to drape flatteringly around the silhouette and disguise any figure faults.