The Lux Style Awards are all about style and they have played a monumental role in pushing Pakistan’s fashion industry forward in the fourteen years that they have existed. This is where the red carpet culture originated, where fashion was finally given a platform to be celebrated upon and where style was pushed as an intrinsic part of stardom in Pakistan. As the nominations for 2014 come in, we can only hope that the organizers do justice to the LSA tradition by putting together a grand show instead of the poor excuse of a ‘function’ that they have been offering for the past few years.
Model of the Year (Female)
Nominees: Amna Babar, Amna Ilyas, Cybil Chowdhry, Fayezah Ansari, Nadia Ali and Nooray Bhatti
It’s surprising to not see Fauzia Aman or Fia Khan on this list though both models were at the top of their game last year. If memory serves right (and it does because we combed through all 2014 archives) then Amna Babar and Fayezah Ansari really shone last year, Amna Ilyas was too busy with her films to make much of an impact at fashion weeks and Nadia Ali was great on the runway but repetitive in print(as always). Cybil Chowdhry picked up the award last year but it’s unlikely she’ll win this time. We would have cried wolf for Sabeeka Imam who looked great on the catwalk but then Sabeeka doesn’t have many (if any) memorable print campaigns to her credit.
Our Vote: Amna Babar, who made an impact and picked up the award for Best Emerging Talent in 2013, should win Model of the Year for 2014. She looked great at fashion weeks and was versatile and impressive in conceptual fashion campaigns. She may be a little on the short side but then that’s the issue with the average Pakistani model.
Model of the year (Male)
Nominees: Athar Amin, Jahan-e-Khalid, Sharjeel Baig, Shehzad Noor, Waleed Khalid
The biggest snub goes out to LSA winner for 2013, Abbas Jafri, which is shocking since Ahmed Bham is nominated for Best Menswear Designer for campaigns that featured Abbas Jafri. Anyway, looking at the list we feel Athar Amin and Waleed Khalid are strong contenders though their work may not be versatile enough to win. Shehzad Noor is good but a little forgettable and Sharjeel Baig, who we felt made an impression with his unruly and unconventional curly hair, had impact but not enough to land him the award this year.
Our Vote: We’d like to see Jahan-e-Khalid win. He’s got intense, intelligent looks and the height and persona for him to qualify. He’s been ruling the runways in 2014 and he has enough diversity in print.
Best Fashion Photographer
Nominees: Abdullah Haris, Ayaz Anis, Guddu Shani, NFK Photography, Rizwan-ul-Haq
This is a very balanced category that celebrates talent from Lahore and Karachi. Maram and Aabroo have been nudged out of the list of nominees this year but their replacement, Ayaz Anis, did impressive with his body of work last year. Abdullah Harris has emerged as a very strong name from Lahore, his most prominent shoots being with Ali Xeeshan, and Guddu Shani have steadily been proving their worth for years now. Multiple LSA award winner in this category, Rizwan-ul-Haq is still at the top of his game.
Our Vote: We’d like to see Nadir Feroz Khan win simply because he brings a level of contemporary freshness and edge to fashion photography. He isn’t afraid to experiment and his shoots are different while retaining a signature that one immediately identifies as his.
Best Hair & Make-up
Nominees: Maram Aabroo, Nabila, Natasha Khalid at Natasha’s salon, Raana Khan, Shammal Qureishi at Toni & Guy, Lahore
This category is as tough as it is simple. On one hand, no one has done as much quality work as Nabila and her creative team. Whether it’s styling at fashion weeks, conceptual shoots, fashion portraits, television or the red carpet she has the quantity as well as the quality. That said Natasha Khalid has emerged as a hot favourite for shoots in Karachi while Shammal Qureishi is second to none at his game in Lahore. Maram Aabroo and Raana Khan do add a necessary dimension to styling but they’re not in the same league as the others.
Our Vote: It would have to be Nabila because of her unique styling fashion weeks and her understanding of style, making models look trendy and hip as opposed to plain and good old pretty. ‘The Eye Must Travel’ is what Diane Vreeland infamously said and Nabila’s is a well-travelled eye that is tough to contest.
Best Emerging Talent
Nominees: Hasnain Lehri (Model), Mahgul Rashid (Designer), Muzi Sufi (Photographer), Sadaf Kanwal (Model), Saira Shakira (Designers)
This is an extremely tough category and one that is just as tough to pull a verdict on. Best Emerging Talent judges individuals from a cross section of categories and so pitches models, designers, photographers etc together, making the competition tough. We would judge this category on the impact an individual has made on the industry at large and while HasnainLehri and Muzi Sufi have impressed with their work there may not be enough of it. Saira Shakira have been in the news for all the right reasons but then their popularity is very Lahore-specific. The match is between Sadaf Kanwal and Mahgul Rashid, who both made a solid impression on the fashion industry in 2014.
Our Vote: It’s a tough call to make but we’d root for Sadaf Kanwal who made it big in 2014 despite having unconventional looks. People criticized her for her big eyebrows but that has become her signature now. Sadaf made it across fashion billboards and fashion week runways with just as much aplomb and she made it to the top.
Best Fashion Design (Pret)
Nominees: Daaman, Gulabo, Nida Azwer, Sana Safinaz, Sania Maskatiya
This is one of the most competitive categories in the list and one that has very deserving names. We are surprised, if not shocked, at the omission of Shameeel who successfully launched her Tughra pret line last year; we do think she deserved to be nominated if even at the expense of Daaman. Sana Safinaz and SaniaMaskatiya had tremendous presence and impact on the high street in 2014 and their pret changed the way women dressed. Their hype was followed by Gulabo by Maheen Khan and Nida Azwer who put out strong signatures in Lahore as well as Karachi and beyond.
Our Vote:It’s a toss between Sania Maskatiya and Sana Safinaz but we would give our vote to the latter as 2014 was Sana Safinaz’s year. The two collections they showcased at Fashion Pakistan Week had incredible impact and the trends filtered down to everyday wear at their stores with impressive ease.
Best Fashion Design (Luxury Pret)
Nominees: Khadijah Shah at Elan, Maheen Karim at Maheen Karim, Sana Safinaz at Sana Safinaz, Shamaeel Ansari at Shamaeel Ansari, Shehla Chatoor at Shehla Chatoor
This is another tough category and one we’re missing Iman Ahmed (Body Focus Museum) and especially Sania Maskatiya in, since the latter made fashion week impact in Pakistan as well as India last year. Every name from the selected list of nominees is impressive though. Maheen Karim and Shamaeel were luxury all the way through and Khadijah Shah had another strong year.
Our Vote: Luxury Pret is judged for the standard of style and distinctiveness of signature put out and we think that Shehla Chatoor was unmatched in 2014. Her collections at fashion weeks filtered onto the red carpets and social spectrum equally and they were unparalleled in quality and finesse.
Best Fashion Design (Lawn)
Nominees: Elan, Kayseria, Khaadi, Maria B, Sana Safinaz
2014 was a year that saw a saturation of branded, designer lawn. The category was also introduced at fashion weeks, making this category all the more prominent. We do feel that Khaadi and Maria B have been included by sheer chance; Kayseria made impressive showings at fashion weeks but failed from infiltrating the market as impressively. Sana Safinaz had all the expected hype but the collection wasn’t as strong as it usually is.
Our Vote: We think Elan by Khadijah Shah gave us the strongest and most stylish prints in 2014. The designer kept quality well in check and her range was an instant hit with critics and customers alike.
Best Fashion Design (Bridal)
Nominees: Fahad Hussayn, Misha Lakhani, Nomi Ansari, Sana Safinaz, Sania Maskatiya
It’s high time a category for bridal fashion was brought back, especially with the influx of bridal fashion weeks and events happening all across the country. It made sense to sacrifice the Best High Street category (which caused endless confusion when compared to Best Pret) in exchange for Best Fashion Design (Bridal). The first list of nominees is indeed strong. Fahad Hussayn brings in edge whereas there is no designer more popular at weddings than Nomi Ansari. Sana Safinaz remain an ‘haute’favourite.
Our Vote: It’s between Misha Lakhani and Sania Maskatiya, as far as we’re concerned. Misha has a signature that positions her as a contemporary couturier par excellence; her workmanship is unique and exquisite and it stops shot of being OTT and overwhelming. Sania has a far stronger outreach and therefore stronger influence and impact on trends. It’s anyone’s game.
Best Menswear Designer
Nominees: Ahmed Bham, Deepak Parwani, Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, Ismail Farid, Republic by Omar Farooq
This category has come a long way and one can proudly say that all five nominees have done some outstanding work in 2014. Ahmed Bham is the indisputable master of men’s suiting but while his print campaigns had impact, he did not show at fashion week in 2014; the same applies to Ismail Farid. When active, these two designers have no match. Republic by Omar Farooq was impressive on runway and print campaign both but his menswear receives mixed critique when it comes to clients and the actual garment.
Our Vote: It’s a toss between Deepak Perwani and Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, depending on whether you prefer your menswear as western or traditional
Photography by Faisal Farooqui and TapuJaveri