2017 has come to a close and looking back, this year has been an interesting one. Amid political and economic turmoil, the one bright spark we could always turn to was fashion. Award shows, fashion shows and admiring innovation in design are not only a happy distraction, but a necessary focus sometimes. Instep puts together a list of the most memorable moments in local fashion this year.
There was a time designers preferred to showcase their collections at major fashion shows, organized by the Pakistan Fashion Design Council in Lahore or Fashion Pakistan Council in Karachi. But as the industry has grown many designers have taken to solo shows and prefer having complete creative control over the whole affair. Whether they showcase at different venues under the fashion council or separate from fashion week – they manage to stand out. The most noteworthy solo shows this year were by Shamaeel and Sana Safinaz, which were held as an extension of FPW and PLBW respectively, and of course Elan, which was the significant stand alone of the year.
Shamaeel’s show this year included a lovely installation as well as a runway presentation where she invited patrons and media into her home, turning the space into a display with all her inspirations. The Blue Tulip collection played with various silhouettes and jewel-toned colour combinations amalgamating them with prints, as is her signature. Shamaeel is one of the few designers whose brand has such a strong identity that one can spot her designs from miles away.
Continuing their traditional of solo couture shows, Elan’s showcase this year was as grand as ever. For their Champs de Patchouli collection, they had converted a farmhouse into a luxuriously decorated space that stood for the opulence and grandeur the brand represents. There were heavily embellished statement pieces, lehngas and belted tunics over ghararas which made for a show to remember.
Sana Safinaz put together a befitting grand finale as part of the FPW Winter Festive show. They booked a separate hall where they created a set that gave a nod to the forest, with faux trees and boulders and shrubbery incorporated onto the runway. Their Roses and Rue collection featured a whopping 50 pieces replete with statement gowns and heavily worked lehngas that set standards for couture shows in the country.
This year, HSY, Shehla Chatoor, Ali Xeeshan and Deepak Perwani are rumored to also jump on the solo bandwagon.
Return to the ramp
While big brands branched out for solo shows, Wasim Khan (showing for Gold by Reama Malik) made a much needed comeback at this year’s PLBW. With a knack for doing minimal solids, his ensembles were well constructed and gave us major wedding wear inspiration for the season. Richly coloured fabric, without any sort of embellishment or embroidery effortlessly displaying how important silhouettes are in fashion – even and especially with wedding wear.
The rising talent slot at PFDC gives the chance to new designers to showcase their collections next to established names but it’s very seldom that a newbie grips our attention and their collections translate to retail. Hussain Rehar graduated from PIFD but never showed at the slot allotted to the graduating class of the institute. Instead, he made fashion enthusiasts sit up and take notice with his social media presence i.e. the shoots he launched his brand with. With a few collections under his belt, it’s certain that he’s a designer to watch for in 2018.
Social causes highlighted through fashion
In an extension of their #StepOutside and #GreaterThanFear campaigns that featured people from all walks of life, Generation touched upon a topic that’s vastly ignored in our society. Middle-aged women or single mothers are often ostracized for raising the idea of getting married again. Their campaign titled Shahnaz Ki Shaadi hoped to make people realize that it’s natural to seek companionship no matter what stage of life you may be in. The images have received admiration and approval from audiences. The brand is doing its part to consistently spread messages for female empowerment.
Ali Xeeshan has similarly used fashion as a platform to touch upon uncomfortable topics, some of which have been received well, while others came under fire for various reasons.
In partnership with UN Women, Xeeshan made a female child walk for his show at PLBW wearing a ‘bridal uniform’. A regular school uniform embellished with motifs that gave onlookers a semblance of the life that’s lost when a child is married off young and is deprived of her basic right to get education at that age.
Moving on Sapphire
Sapphire grew to be one of the most successful retail giants in the three years it was around, under Khadija Shah’s watch. In 2017, the two parted from a very fruitful partnership and we wondered how the brand would progress without the designer whose creative control pushed the brand into fashion’s fore. It turns out that Sapphire has reportedly gotten Mahgul Rashid on board as Creative Head who will now be looking over the aspects of the brand that Shah previously handled. We look forward to seeing where the shakeup will take the brand.